[Michlib-l] ARC Responses

Sharon Crotser-Toy scrotsertoy at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 17:48:23 EDT 2017

Brace yourself for an especially lengthy collection of responses!

Thank you to everyone for your quick (and illuminating) responses to my
question about ARCs! Here they are, compiled, as requested by a couple of

Once I've read the ARC's I usually put them in the little free libraries
that we stock here in Grandville. I have also used them as giveaways during
school visits. From my understanding, you cannot make ARC's part of a
library collection. They are not finished copies and the ARC copies usually
say explicitly on them that they cannot be sold or used in library
collections. I love getting them in kids hands and try to do that as much
as possible.

I believe you are not supposed to put these items on your shelves, or that
what I was taught way back before I became a Director.  I always just bring
stuff back for the staff to divide among themselves, or maybe offer as
little door prizes at programs.

These ARCs are for personal use and cannot be sold or added to a Library's

We often hand them out as raffle prizes at the beginning of programs or
pass them around to staff members.

May not be sold, should not be cataloged.  They are NOT final proofread
We have just started doing facebook giveaways.  Be the first person to find
the right answer about our web page and you win.
I also take giant bags to a big family reunion (Sunday in Cadillac!) and
they all get taken.

We have the summer reading program and we use them as prizes. As for the
extra, we give them to staff who wants them, then we also have little
libraries for the community. Basically we can drop books off in here and
people can take them home for free (usually leave the slip in there that
asks them to go online and review since it is an arc).
We have a spot by our biggby that goes empty all the time because college
students and kids snatch them up in the area.

I don't think you are allowed to circulate them.  I don't think it's
"illegal" but it's unethical.  You weren't given them to get out of
supporting the author.  (that is how I have explained it to my teachers who
sometimes get ARC's). I give them away as freebies or prizes.  But I also
read a lot of them and then review them because the authors and publishers
are looking for early buzz.  Your library staff can help review as well and
then if the books are good, buy them for your library.

We just put them on a “Free” shelf for patrons to take.

I was always under the impression that circulating ARCs was a no-no, for a
few reasons: the manuscript could change significantly upon publication,
copyright issues, and the ambiguous release date. I'd be interested in
hearing if libraries do add them to the collection. I don't add them at

Sharon, arcs are never allowed to be put on library shelves or to be sold
by Friends Group. There was just a big discussion about this issue on
Twitter. Putting arcs on shelves is taking profit out of author's pockets
and they (authors) are rethinking the entire arc giveaways.
I've run a pre-pub book club for years. Was written up in Shelf Awareness.
1 of rules that I MUST legally abide by is to not sell, or put in
So, we give them away as prizes, put in Little Free Library's, shelters etc.

As far as my libraries, I am new here, but I believe that the previous
director used them for giveaways (sometimes with little notes attached
noting they were ARCs and to feel free to review the book for the publisher
and/or let the library know if it is a book they feel we need to purchase).

I don't think ARCs are permitted to circulate, but I admit I also don't

We did have a great idea from a former teen librarian (could also work for
all ages): she put them at a service desk (honor system) and asked patrons
to read and review them, then if the review was good and she bought the
book, she promoted it with that review.

Since most of these are stamped "not for resale," I have always assumed
that they were neither eligible to pass along to Friends groups or to put
in the collection.  They are provided to prep sellers/librarians, boost
sales, contain a variety of missed edits and don't truly represent the
author's final product.  I don't believe there is any bib data for these.
Since these were giveaways at ALA, you probably have more leeway, but if
you make this a practice, your library might get cut out of any formalized
programs through publishers or wholesalers if they find out.  Unlikely, but
a risk.  While it seems a waste of resources, I have always recycled these
or passed them to other libraries/staff members when finished.

We put ARCs on a freebie table.
For YA ARCs, I give them to our teen volunteers as prizes or thank yous.

We do not add them to our collection.
We do not catalog ARC's, nor from everything I've read is it legal to do
so. You may get a waiver from an author or publisher allowing you to
circulate it, but if so I would keep that waiver on file.

We offer ARC's around to staff first, for review purposes, then we offer
them to members of the Friends of the Library, and then we just put them
out for the public with a sign that clearly states they are advance review
copies and cannot be legally sold or resold with a recommendation that if
the person reading the book likes it they post a review somewhere and pass
it on to a friend.

We used to keep boxes of ARC's back for Christmas and distribute them
during a local parade; we also have put them out for free during our
holiday Open House (with the aforementioned sign), but we haven't done any
programming specifically around ARC's.

My understanding is that ARCs are expressly not to be added to library
collections, but I don’t know if that’s a policy thing from places I’ve
worked or a permission-from-publishers thing that’s more universal.

Sharon - most of the publishers do not allow circulation of ARCS, but do
allow giveaway. We have a rep at BT who explained to us what we can and
cannot do. Because they are not published yet and may contain errors, and
are available before publication and street date, they should not be
circulated. They cannot be sold either, so they don't go to our friends

We give some away at teen events and some go to local little free library
organizations. We allow staff to take and read them and return them or pass
them to friends.

We use ARCs that we bring back from conferences as summer reading prizes.
Since most libraries have adult summer reading too, that solution works for
all of them.

At the East Lansing Public Library, we give them away as prizes for our
summer reading programs or at other programs. I am not sure you can
actually catalog and put them on your shelves.  I know you cannot sell them
in the Friends used books or any other way.

We were always told that we can't sell them and we can't add them.  That
was the deal with getting ARCs.  So we use them as grab-bag prizes for
summer reading prizes.  We run a reading=>tickets/entries into drawings for
specific prizes.  For the grab bags, we get as many of the cool bags and
ARCs that we can at the conference or from the local book store, and group
them into like genres (romance, mystery, general fiction, true crime (if we
get enough), teen, etc.).  Participants only see the bag, the genre, and
how many books are in the bag.  It's pretty popular here as a prize.

I would closely read any copyright or disclaimers that appear on the books
themselves – different publishers may have different requirements on how
ARCs can be used.

I also located a couple of other sources that discuss ARCs.

Here is an interesting Blog entry on the topic:

Here is how one library deals with them (that appears to be completely
within the scope of  an ARC’s purpose):

Sorry if someone has already said this, but ARC are NOT supposed to go on
library shelves. They have not yet been fully edited and CANNOT and MAY NOT
be sited. Please do not place these on your shelves. The errors I have found
in some that I have read are horrendous!

All those lovely ARCs!   This is the first program I’ve done to try to put
them to good use, and I was very pleased with how it turned out:
-          Distributed ARC’s to readers via programs or word of mouth
-          Stipulated that readers must read the book, write a review, and
have their photo taken with the book for publication via Facebook/the
-          Those who participated were given a coupon for a free drink at
the local coffee shop

We distributed the reviews and photos via Facebook, mostly.  When I ordered
in the “real” books, I re-shared the Facebook posts as further publicity
for that book.

You can look up the photos and reviews on our Facebook page, here:

p.s. If patrons ask, I tell them they may pass the ARC on to someone else
who would enjoy it.  Otherwise, they go on the Friends of the Library book

They make good Summer Reading give-aways.
We do not put them on our shelves OR sell them in our used bookstore.
We give them away as freebies to the library staff and volunteers. I think
we gave them away also once for our Senior bingo game. So in recent years I
have searched out the “real” books when I go to conferences  unless I know
someone on staff will want to read the ARC.
We put them in the staff break room as freebies/job perks and encourage
people to read and, if appropriate, review them. We tell them that even if
it's not for them, but for a friend, neighbor, or family member, to please
find someone by whom it will be appreciated. We've never put them into
circulation but I have seen many libraries that have a special shelving
unit for ARCs that patrons can take.

SPEAKING OF ARCs -- I tried desperately to extend my trip through Monday in
order to see Andy Weir and get a copy of Artemis for our librarian who buys
science fiction. Did any of you, by chance, end up with an extra copy you
would gift to someone who would be, oh, so grateful? [Rudy C. Wright, Adult
Services, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, Portage, MI 49002
269-329-4544 ext. 8713]

Any ARC's that I get I use as prizes. I do not think they belong on the
shelf because they aren't the final finished product in most cases. I have
encouraged kids to pass them on to a friend and many times place a library
sticker inside that says courtesy of so they don't forget they got it from

I strongly second what Carol said.  ARCs are for promotional and review
purposes ONLY, and are not to be used in the place of fully edited and
published copies!

We do a display on our shelves (ours is by the holds in our new section).
We put a spine label on them but no barcode.  It's an honor system and
patrons typically tell us they are taking them as they think it's a check
out item and we keep a tally and consider it a program. I am going to take
a few of the ones from ALA - The Last Mrs. Parrish and Need to Know(which
is going to be a movie) and offer to our book club.

The patrons do like them and it's good PR in a small town because they knew
we went.  Whatever you decide, keep it simple!

Sharon Crotser-Toy
*Watervliet District Library*
333 N. Main Street
Watervliet, MI 49098

Connects People, Inspires Ideas, Transforms Lives
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