Publishers, Let Your Digital ARCs Live Longer!

Elizabeth Bluemle - February 11, 2015

At Winter Institute, I shared a cab and a great long conversation with a bookseller I’d never met before, James from Half Price Books. We covered a range of bookselling topics, from used books to multiple-store ordering processes to sharing recent titles we’d loved, During that last bit,  there was at least one title the other mentioned that caused us to exclaim, “I wanted to read that, but it expired!”
I suspect we are not the only bookseller who encounter the sorrow of an expired Edelweiss or NetGalley ARC in Adobe Digital Editions. I do understand that publishers don’t want ARCs to replace book sales, and so expiration dates for some categories of readers might make sense after a certain point in the book’s release life. But booksellers have tall, tall piles and we purchase multiple copies of the books we fall in love with. It’s especially incomprehensible to me when a digital ARC expires before the book’s release date. We really do want to sell your books; why would you want to make that harder?
What is the purpose of having such short (30-day, 45-day, 60-day) expiration dates for booksellers? Giving us several months to read your titles seems like a win-win; you wouldn’t be losing sales — we aren’t your typical potential retail customers. We wouldn’t NOT buy a book because we’ve read it already. We are MORE likely to buy it if we’ve read it already. And we purchase multiple copies.
Please let your books live longer in Edelweiss and NetGalley for booksellers. Sure, we learn about great reads from our sales reps long before the release date, but we can’t always read all of the ones that catch our attention, at least not right away. They take their place in our queue. Sometimes it just takes a little while for a bookseller to catch up.
Oh! And for those of us who double our page counts by also listening to audiobooks, is there any chance you’d consider digital audio ARCs?

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