Galleycat at Media Bistro is hot on the e-ARC thing. Or in hashtags-speak #digitalarcs. 

And, considering that we are hearing from multiple sources these days that publishers are cutting back on ARCs, the timing couldn’t be better.

And now there’s the entry of NetGalley into the mix. 

Here’s how it works. Reviewers simply sign up for the site and request copies of digital ARCs in which they are interested. The content will then, presumably, be delivered to the reviewer upon approval by the publisher.  Hey, and since the company prez also tells Galleycat that the digital ARCs will work for Kindle, the Sony Reader, PCs, and other devices within a few months, this is looking good.

I set up an account today and it looks as if major publishers aren’t yet there and, quite honestly, I didn’t find anything to tempt me there.  But it’s an idea whose time has clearly come and I await further developments with growing interest.

Clearly, I understand why publishers are cutting back on ARCs.  They’re expensive to produce and the number of reviewers—not to mention booksellers and other professionals—receiving them seems to have swelled in recent years.

Still, promotion is always a good thing.  And surely even more so when times are tight and the competition for scarce reader dollars is tighter than ever.

But the fact remains:  Reduced availability of ARCs is a reality.  And I think it’s going to become even more so in the months ahead. The online reader community is just going to have to go with the flow.

And, for me, it’s not a tough flow with which to go.  (That Winston Churchill “up with which I will not put” quote is s-o-o-o-o running through my head right now.)  NetGalley seems to have found a way to make it work.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that major publishers will soon jump on board.

-Sandy AAR

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