Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog Tour- Guest Blog by Meagan Spooner (Skylark)

What to do with ARCs once you’ve read them!

In the wake of BEA, and as ALA comes upon us, my brain’s been lingering on the subject of ARCs, or Advance Reader Copies. They’re in such high demand—at the end of the YA Editors’ Buzz Panel at BEA this year, for example, there was a rush for the ARCs at the back that resulted in more than one (thankfully minor!) injury here and there. At the Lerner Booth where I spent much of my own time, we ran out of every single advance copy of SKYLARK that we brought. At other booths, folks would line up as much as an hour in advance before the ARC “drops,” when publishers would release a new stash of highly sought-after ARCs.

And now, bloggers everywhere are talking all about the books they brought home—I’ve seen counts totaling upwards of 200 ARCs! Which, to me, begs the question: what do you do with all those books after you’ve read them?

They’re not intended for resale, so you can’t trade them at used bookstores or on sites like PaperbackSwap.com. You can’t donate them to public libraries, either. But if you want to support the author by buying the finished copy when it comes out, you’ll end up with two copies—and that takes up valuable shelf space! So what to do with those stacks of ARCs once you’re done devouring them?
Here are some ideas!

1. Give them away. This is probably the best thing you can do in terms of building buzz for the book. If you enjoyed it, consider offering it in a giveaway on your own site or blog! It’ll pull in traffic for you, and generate buzz for the book. ARCs are meant to be reviewed, and they’re expensive for the publisher to produce, so the more people who review each ARC, the better.

Reading Teen has an awesome recurring feature called Second Hand Saturday, in which they put their entire back catalogue of ARCs they’ve acquired on offer. Commenting on the post gets you an entry, and the winner gets to pick one of their huge listing of ARCs they’re done with.

2. Donate them. I struggled for a while to find anywhere that would take my ARCs—I tried to trade them in at my local used bookstore, but they wouldn’t even take them for free because they couldn’t legally resell them. I tried the public library, but they’re not allowed to put ARCs on their shelves either. So, where do you go? Here’s a quick list of some places to donate!

a. Schools! This is my favorite. School libraries are allowed to have ARCs on their shelves, as well as individual teachers. And many amazing teachers keep a classroom library stocked with a wide variety of books to encourage kids to read, often purchased with their own money. Help them create a new generation of book lovers!

b. Juvenile detention facilities. This is, in particular, for YA fiction—prisons in general are a great place to donate ARCs of adult fiction.

c. Books for Soldiers. I found out about this one from YA Highway, which has a fantastic post on things you can do with ARCs, including many more places to donate. Books for Soldiers is pretty self-explanatory—registering for the site lets you browse through book requests from soldiers posted in places where their access to new reading materials is limited.

3. Recycle them. This one makes my heart ache just thinking about it—throw away a book? NEVER! But the truth is that ARCs weren’t made to last forever. They’re usually cheaply bound, and after a few reads they tend to start falling apart. Just make sure that if you throw them out, you recycle them so all that paper doesn’t go to waste.

4. Keep them forever and ever and ever and… Yeah, okay, I have a couple ARCs that you’ll have to pry out of my cold, dead hands. I keep them for sentimental value, despite having since purchased the finished versions of them. They’re books I want to have so I can say “I read this when…” because I loved them so much I know they’re going to be huge someday. And that’s totally okay. Just, you know, you probably don’t want to do that with every ARC you get, or you’re gonna need to buy a second house just to fill with your reader copies!

The important thing to note here is that you shouldn’t try to sell them, whether on eBay or Craigslist, or by passing it off as a finished copy to a used bookstore. We all love books here—that’s not really a question, in this community! So why not share the love, and get books into the hands of others who love books too?

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. 

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.
She is the author of SKYLARK, coming out August 1 from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013.

You can find her on the web at http://www.meaganspooner.com as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.


  1. You can also donate ARCs to hospitals. And while libraries may not be able to place them on the shelf, they use them and give them away as prizes to kids who participate in summer reading programs and such.

    I'll have to look into Books for Soldiers!

  2. This post is extremely helpful to me, as I've been debating about what I can do with my ARCs when I'm finished with them. I'll definitely keep these tips in mind!

  3. This is an amazing post Megan. I never thought of juvenile detention centers. Can't wait to read Skylark !