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You are officially an asswipe.

Would it kill you to wait until the release day? You would still be making money out of something that cost you nothing, but at least you wouldn’t also be hurting the author.

May karma catch up with you.


Edited to add: Just in case some people out there wonder what the big deal is, allow me to tell you.

For authors, particularly midlist and debut or second book authors, the first couple of weeks after lay down/release date can make or break future deals–the sales numbers during that very short window determine, in a very real way, the future of many an author.


  • “Asswipe” is being quite kind.


  • Keishon
    March 11
    1:14 am

    You wouldn’t have sellers if there weren’t any buyers…is my first thought to your post. However, I agree since I am informed while others may not be of the consequences of these ARC sales on eBay. What book were you referring to that is selling on eBay or is this just a general response to this long-standing practice? Have they already been reported?


  • Yet, there are authors who sell ARCs to used bookstores. They get sent so many from publishers that they can’t possibly read them all, so they make some extra money.


  • Grrrly
    March 11
    1:45 am

    Forgive my ignorance, but do people who buy arcs off ebay not tend to buy the finished product when it’s released? And do ARCs tend to be more expensive because of the auction structure? I’m not looking for hard numbers, anecdotal evidence is fine. I’m just thinking that your average reader wouldn’t buy an unknown author’s ARC and potentially pay more for it on ebay, but if it was a known and/or favorite author and a book they were really looking forward to, they might be willing to pay for that sneak peek, and then support the author by buying the finished product later, because they enjoy the author’s work so much. And the unperfected ARC would just be, I don’t know, a collecter’s item or something. Sorry, I’m just not sure what the numbers are on people who would buy an ARC and then the finished product vs. people who would buy an ARC instead of a finished product.

    Also, I’m wondering how many readers are going to be publishing-savvy enough to know they should buy their books during certain periods, if they’re going to buy them at all. I know that if I’m waiting for a book to come out, I’m kind of fuzzy on the exact date, I just know “okay, it’s sometime this month”, and if I see it on the shelf and it’s a couple days early, I’m not necessarily worried about “Is this the right week?”, i’m just like “Yay, it’s finally out!”


  • It’s not uncommon. I’ve seen plenty of ARCs of not yet released books on eBay while searching for books.
    Maybe email the seller and give reasons as to why it’s not a good idea to sell ARCs?
    Who knows, maybe he or she can be persuaded.


  • While we all know ARCs are not for re-sale, the reality is that they show up in UBS even before they make it to e-bay and the reason for that is that they are being sent to UBS for review and word of mouth, if not for the purpose of re-sale.

    I agree with Grrrly that the folks who are so hot to pay as much as $200 for a new Bujold ARC are not people who then do not spend the $20 when the HC (or $8 for the pb) finally comes out. Just the opposite, the folks who do that are the ones who then also buy the e-book and the paperback and the audio book, as well as several copies to give away.

    While she’s not exactly mid-list, there were several dozen of the new Balogh series in ARC on ebay over the last couple of months and the first book debuted on the NYT bestseller list at #5 anyway. The highest ARC went for about 45 bucks (this book is originally a paperback for $6.99). That’s not done by somebody who is saving money by not buying the book new when it comes out.

    I don’t see that being any different for a newer mid-list or starting out author. Just the opposite, while I can understand that it be aggravating for an author to see that some e-bayer gets beaucoup bucks for their words of which they themselves won’t see a penny, the fact that there is demand and high prices being paid is actually in the author’s favor, because it makes others take note and start pay attention to the author’s name.

    And quite honestly, I don’t think it’s the consumers’ responsibility to know street dates and to not shop before when the publishers/booksellers cannot be bothered to stick to the street dates to start with.


  • SarahT
    March 11
    7:47 am

    The issue of ARCs being sold on eBay is not a new one. So why do publishers continue to produce them? They must feel that the publicity generated through reviews is worth a few lost sales. I’m not saying this justifies selling ARCs. I’m just wondering how the publishers/authors weigh up the pros and cons of distributing ARCs in the first place.

    Slightly OT: Does anyone know if preordering a book on Amazon adversely affects an author’s chances of making the bestseller lists? Or do these sales count as books sold on the official day of release?


  • Emmy
    March 11
    9:54 am

    ARCs don’t go out in significant enough numbers to make a huge dent in first week sales…even if every single person who got an ARC put it on eBay, which I highly doubt. If authors want someone to rail at, go hiss at book stores for putting your books on the shelves two weeks early, when sales don’t count.

    Although I do agree that people willing to pay upwards of 20 times the cover price to read a book a little early may have more money than sense.


  • I hate seeing my ARCs on eBay, but I hate seeing ebooks more. Yes, people are selling EBOOKS on eBay. They buy an ebook and then just put up a gazillion auctions and email copies to winners. Hundreds of copies from one ebook they bought. And eBay is extremely slow to respond. I’ve been tempted to go in, bid and win every auction, and then not pay. What are they going to do? Report me for not paying for something illegal they’re doing on eBay?

    Argh! Seriously. Type in ebook or ebooks on the eBay search engine. Makes me sick.


  • Okay, haven’t been to eBay since the last time I went on a reporting spree, and it looks like eBay finally acted. However, the sellers are just getting around the ebook thing by SAYING the books are on CD. Some might be, but others? NO. This Patricia Briggs book ad SAYS it’s on CD, but when you read, it’s actually in PDF and the seller says he’s the copyright holder. Really? I thought that was Patricia Briggs.

    eBay auction
    (fixed the link for you, Larissa)


  • Karen Scott
    March 11
    1:01 pm

    Do authors feel the same way about ARCs that are given away or raffled off in a competition, if no money exchanges hands? Anybody?


  • Larissa, would you explain to me why you hate seeing ARCs on e-bay? I really don’t understand this attitude at all.

    ARCs are promotional materials that are meant to create buzz for a book before its release. If it’s sold on e-bay that means there’s buzz and demand by readers for the book. I’d think authors would consider that good news.

    Is it just that somebody makes money who isn’t supposed to? Why worry about that, if the ARC sells books because not everybody who bids on one also wins one…

    And Emmy is correct, the few ARCs that are sold cannot make a difference to the bestseller lists at all. For the new Bujold there were maybe 15 on e-bay, for the new Brockmann I saw about 5, for the first Balogh maybe 30, if that many (no, I don’t buy or sell them, I just find it totally fascinating to see what people are willing spend high amounts of money for, so I look when popular authors have new titles scheduled). To make it on the bestseller lists an author’s book has to sell thousands of copies, the e-bay ARCs are a drop in the ocean, even if we assumed that all the folks who buy one then do not buy the book, which I know to be a wrong assumption.

    So, I’m left scratching my head why authors think this is such an issue to get upset about.


  • Karen, I actually like seeing ARCs given away as prizes. I think it’s great promo, and a great way to get readers some fun collectibles.

    Growly, it’s not so much a problem with hitting lists and stuff that annoys me. What annoys me is that they clearly state on them that they are not for resale, but some booksellers sell them anyway. I know I sound like a Pollyanna, but I guess it’s the principle of the matter. They are making money off the author after taking ARCs from the publisher for the purpose of ordering books. Then again, if they just threw them away, it would be a waste too.

    So really…I have no real point here. *g* I think it’s just as Karen said, the money changing hands. ARCs are meant to be promotional and free. I want readers and reviewers to have them, and I don’t want anyone to have to pay for them. Does that make sense?

    I probably haven’t had enough coffee to be answering any questions! LOL


  • I’m probably a bit black and white about these things. As a rule, ARCs have NOT FOR SALE printed somewhere on them–often in big bold letters right on the cover, and frequently also on the back.

    So the fact that people sell them before the release date? Yeah, it bugs me.

    And I am not altogether sure but I wonder if some of the people giving out spoilers–weeks in advance, if I understand correctly–about Dark of Night or other controversial books didn’t garner their advance information from someone’s sold ARC.

    Did that affect SB’s sales on the first week or two? I have no way of knowing, but I do remember reading, repeatedly, how “since so and so didn’t end together” readers would not read the book, let alone buy it. Empirical evidence, yes, but still.

    Also, right now, I’m looking at auctions with ARCs for Ann Aguirre (yeah, vested interest if you will), often in a two-for-one thing with someone else’s ARC. One is at $6 the other at $10.

    Tell me, if you can get a new release, before most people out there, for about half the cover prize, would you then go get the actual book new somewhere?

    Color me cynical when I say most people would say, “no” unless they are devoted fans–and for a relatively new author, each sale can make a difference.

    IMO, YMMV, etc.


  • Thanks for fixing the link!!! OMG, I just saw the link box thing…I could have actually entered it, oh, RIGHT. Sigh. See what blogging before coffee does to me? <–the excuse I use for everything


  • Larissa,

    I agree that it’s wrong to profit from free ARCs since they aren’t meant to be sold, but I also hate the idea that they might get thrown away. I know UBS owners who say they get so many ARCs that they do just wholesale throw them in the trash unread and that annoys me much more than when they sell them. I just hate the idea that people throw away books! It’s obscene!


    while I think the leak may have cost Brockmann some sales, I think she would have lost those anyway, either when people returned the book or when they decided not to buy future books and that leak may very well have come from an ARC reader who received it directly from the publisher; especially in light of the fact of how few ARCS of DoN were out there and how fast the leak came about (I didn’t see any ARCs on e-bay until *after* the leak).


  • Growly, I agree wholeheartedly that throwing books into the trash is obscene. Thing is, there are alternatives that do not have to cost money to the person who received the ARCs for free, and which would certainly benefit others.

    For example…

    I wonder how difficult it would be to donate those books to a library’s UBS if the actual UBS doesn’t want them. Or to an assisted living facility. Or to a long term care facility. Or to places where parents and relatives of people in long term care facilities or recovering from an accident or treatment have to stay, when away from home. Or heck, to a veterans hospital or hall or…

    As for SB, I sincerely don’t know (then again, I don’t return books once I’ve read them–I only return books if they are misprinted or damaged in someway :shrug: )


  • Azteclady, I love the idea of them being donated!!!! The places you mentioned are wonderful, as well as programs that send books overseas for troops. Maybe the people who sell ARCs on eBay donate the money! (Let me wear my rose-colored glasses…)


  • I have no problem with ARCs being auctioned off if I am the one making that choice. It is my book (ie, I am the copyright holder) and before it’s official release, I should have t he choice to donate a copy to whomever I see fit.

    As for the books not being thrown away…I agree that they shouldn’t be. But they also should not be for sale. The reviewer or reader who received them knows they are not for sale…it says so. They received them with the understanding that they would review the book, not make a profit off of its sale. So therefore, donate it to a worthy cause if you must, but do not sell it.

    Karen, I appreciate the post. You are right that lay down sales are very important right now…especially in this tight economy.

    BTW, I frequent a wonderful used bookstore in my neighborhood and the owner would NEVER sell an ARC. She has ethics like that.


  • Karen, I appreciate the post.



  • I don’t know – call me Polyanna – but I keep any ARC’s I get. I don’t get that many so when I do, I figure someone went through the effort of sending them to me. In the rare case it’s a book I know I won’t want – I would send it to a friend who I think would like it. To sell them on EBay is just wrong IMO


  • Dee
    March 11
    11:03 pm

    I have a friend that is seriously fanatical about one particular author. And I mean fanatical. If a book has been re-released with a new cover, my friend buys it. She has a copy of every release of every book. I just shook my head over it.

    Anyway, I know she buys ARCs when she can get her hands on them. She actually squeals with delight when she finds them.


  • Oh Kristie, I do exactly the same, I keep my ARCs, just as I keep signed copies.


  • Lili
    March 12
    1:26 pm

    I HATE seeing my ARCs on ebay. It’s nothing to do with the money. I don’t want them auctioned, given away as prizes, donated, anything.

    There’s a reason it says ‘uncorrected’ on the front: because that version of the book isn’t as good as it could be. It has glitches. Most are mistakes I made that got fixed by the final version, but now – surprise! – they’re back, being sold on ebay. Sometimes there are problems that the copy editor introduced – again, these got fixed by the final version, but now they’re out there in all their glory (and now it looks like they’re my glitches).

    I put an awful lot of time and hard work into making my books as good as they can possibly be. And then some tosspot comes along and undermines all that because he wants to make a quick buck and he feels he’s just so special that ‘NOT FOR SALE’ doesn’t apply to him.


  • Coming out of lurk to thank azteclady for this. The biggest issue I have is with the sale of ARCs on ebay before the book is even released. Don’t sell them since the ARCs say right on there NOT FOR RESALE, but at the very least wait until a few weeks after release to give the author a fighting chance.


  • Oh, shit. Sorry, Azteclady! Thank YOU for the post!


  • 😀

    No worries, Ms Leto


  • Cawm
    March 16
    8:53 pm

    As I librarian, I could easily pick up hundreds of ARCs at conferences and publishers display days, but I rarely do. I just never know what to with them. Unless it’s an author I really love, I’m happy to wait for the actual book. I would guess that the majority of ARCs are thrown out. Very few of them would have any value on Ebay, they can’t be added to library collections, most UBSs wouldn’t take them, and I don’t really think uncorrected proofs should be given to institutions.


  • Librarian action figure
    March 18
    1:32 am

    At the public library where I work, we receive ARCs fairly often as donations. We have a rule that we do not put them in the book sale because they are marked NOT FOR RESALE in huge letters on the cover, and we don’t want to deal with questions from book sale buyers on why we have these for sale (it saves a lot of explaining and headaches). We usually put them out for staff and volunteers to take away, and they almost always get passed around to interested readers pretty quickly; so they do serve their purpose.


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