Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits

Jul 9, 2013

ALA Part Two: Presentation Day - All About ARCs

Saturday. Saturday was filled with people and places and not enough food - but it was also filled with my presentations!

My first presentation was "All About ARCs: The Ins and Outs of Using and Abusing Advance Reader Copies." I have always held a fondness for them, and when ARCgate hit last year (I am not even getting into it now, it's over and done and was covered by some much better than I), I believed that this could be a good topic for ALA. So did my co-presenters, Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns, along with Jennifer Childs from Random House and Victoria Stapleton from Little, Brown. These women all have their own uses for and perspectives on ARCs and galleys, and it was great to listen to them speak on this subject. I just wish that we had not been competing against some other great programs, because I think the conversations that came out of this program, not just from the presenters but from those that attended, were important to hear.

Kelly complied all of the statistics into an amazing set of graphs based on two surveys that we conducted earlier this year, and placed them into Prezi. Unfortunately these were not shared during our program as we drew the ire of the technology gods who decided we didn't need an internet connection -- at least not on the presentation computer. All the other devices worked just fine. However, Kelly put up a great review of what we learned during our surveys on Stacked.

My section was about digital galleys and ARCs and their growing use and importance. I joined both NetGalley and Edelweiss as they grew in popularity. As the adult fiction selector for my library and a reviewer for Library Journal e-original romances, I am a big user of digital galleys. Both of our publisher reps confirmed that print galleys, while still a major part of the publishing process, are being produced less and digital galleys are bring increased. With the lower cost point for distribution, and the DRM (digital rights management) included in most, giving an average 60 day window for reading, there is certainly a lot less paper out in the world. I have to admit, sometimes 60 days isn't enough time. You forget, you get caught up with all the other things you have to do in your life, and then all of a sudden, the title you wanted to read is gone. However, in most cases (in my own experience, mileage may vary) I find this window more than enough.

I spoke of NetGalley and Edelweiss, which are the two most well-known places to get digital galleys. If you read on a tablet or ereader and do not have accounts with these two places, get thee to the nearest computer and sign up! NetGalley was designed for "professional readers" -- librarians, bloggers, booksellers, teachers, etc. Edelweiss was developed as a digital catalog repository for publishers and booksellers, but having access to these catalogs can definitely enhance collection development for librarians. You can request digital galleys from the publishers, and it is very important that you include a complete profile! Publishers (as emphasized by Jen and Victoria) definitely take a look at those, and even if you do not have the time to write up reviews (which both NetGalley and Edelweiss allow you to do, which in turn are sent through to the publishers) if you explain how and why you use ARCs (collection development, reader's advisory) then you have a better chance of having your requests approved.

I also touched on two new projects: Penguin's First to Read, which is their early e-ARC access to new titles. This one is being promoted to all readers, not just librarians and bloggers. With its emphasis on using Facebook for logging in (you can also create an account with an email address) and ways to acquire points for more benefits, it gives more of a gaming aura to acquiring digital galleys. I will be interested to see the success of this project.

The other one is LibraryReads, which was announced at ALA Annual. LibraryReads is a new recommendation program that will highlight public librarians’ favorite new books and will launch in Fall 2013. This program is open to all public library staff, will serve as a kind of national “library staff picks,” and will list the ten adult titles each month that staff have read, loved, and cannot wait to share with their patrons.

You can find a lot more information at the LibraryReads website, follow us (I am part of the social media group) on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest!

This was just my morning presentation, wait until you hear about the afternoon!