Home Books What is an ARC Book? Guide to Free Advance Copies

What is an ARC Book? Guide to Free Advance Copies


Ever wondered what is an ARC book? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Hey there book lovers! Ever stumbled upon the acronym ARC and wondered what secret bookish society you’ve just uncovered? Well, let’s demystify this for you! ARC stands for advanced reader copy or advance review copy.

Yep, you read that right—these are the VIP passes of the book world, giving you an all-access sneak peek into books before they hit the shelves. Think of it as being invited to a movie’s premiere before anyone else!

Now, I’ve been swimming in the bookish waters for quite a while, reviewing and devouring ARCs like they’re going out of style (spoiler: they’re not). 

Along the way, I’ve gathered some nifty expertise on why ARCs are the bee’s knees for authors, publishers, and readers alike. 

Trust me when I say there’s nothing quite like the thrill of cracking open a book that’s fresh off the press—it’s like being part of an exclusive club. 

So, grab your reading glasses and let’s dive into the world of ARCs—the backstage passes to the literary concert of the year!

What is an arc book?

Alrighty, let’s get down to business: an ARC book is basically that advance reader copy that authors and publishers send out to folks like me (and maybe you!) before the book officially drops. It’s this special edition aimed at getting an honest review and building some good ol’ buzz. 

So, the abbreviation ARC stands for Advance Reading Copy, but you might also hear it called pre-press copies or galley proof sometimes. On Amazon, if you decide to publish on their KDP platform (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing), they refer to them as proof copies

Publishers or authors send them out to people who they think will spread the word about the book—bloggers, reviewers, booksellers, you name it.

I’ve had the joy of getting my hands on a bunch of these, and trust me, it’s like celebrating your birthday when it’s not your birthday. 

One day, a package shows up at your door or in your email as an ebook and BAM! It’s an unreleased book with your name on it (okay, not literally, but you get the exclusive vibes, right?). 

There’s something about knowing you’re part of a group of arc readers who get the first taste of a story that no one else has gotten to bite into just yet—it’s like sharing a secret with the author.

What format do arcs come in?

ARCs typically come in three different ways. Most of the time, I get these gems as eARCs or digital arcs (e-book copies of the book), which is super handy since I can carry around a whole library in my pocket. Digital copies are like the Swiss Army knives for us readers—versatile, convenient, and instantly accessible.

But then, there’s the charm of physical ARCs (physical copy of the book)—nothing beats the smell of fresh ink on paper, am I right? It’s like that new car smell, but better because you can actually take it to bed with you. 

For those who’ve built up a bit of a rep in the review world, publishers sometimes send out PR packages, and let me tell you, it’s like Christmas. We’re talking beautifully crafted editions with swag like bookmarks, totes, and sometimes even a themed trinket or two.

There are also ALCs, which are Audiobook Listening Copies. They’re a bit rare since they require more time and money to produce an audiobook.

Being a book reviewer with a sizable audience sometimes means you get the deluxe treatment, where a book arrives on your doorstep all dressed up and ready to impress. 

Whether it’s a crisp e-book or a fancy PR package, it’s all about the story inside, waiting to transport you to another world.

What is the purpose of ARCs for authors?

For authors, ARCs are like sending out sneak peeks of their latest creations. Think of it as a movie trailer, but for books. 

By dishing out these early copies, it’s an effective way for authors to create a buzz, round up some honest feedback, and nab those early reviews on Goodreads that are like gold dust for when the book hits the shelves. 

It’s all about building momentum, so when the release date comes around, there are already whispers and shouts in the reading community, making readers eager to get their hands on the final copy. 

Plus, it’s a neat way for authors to connect with their audience pre-launch, kind of like a backstage meet-and-greet where they can chat about their book baby and see real-time reactions.

What is an arc book review?

Curious about what’s expected with an ARC? Typically, when you get a book, it’s a given that you’ll share your thoughts on Goodreads, Amazon, or even on your blog or bookstagram! An ARC book review is an honest, yet respectful review of the book before its release. 

But here’s the catch—since it’s not technically the final edition of the book, minor changes may still be made before publication including correcting grammar mistakes, adding in blurbs/author bio, illustrations, and even changing the cover art. 

That means you have to keep your review spoiler-free and focus on the overall content, writing style, and potential for improvement.

How to get free arc books?

Alright, let’s dive into the good stuff—how you can get your hands on free ARCs. First off, book bloggers, reviewers, and social media book influencers usually have the inside track. So if you’ve got a blog or an Instagram account where you’re already chatting about your latest reads, you’re on the right path.

Now, to reel in those ARCs, you gotta swim in the right ponds. 

Websites like NetGalley and Edelweiss+ are like exclusive clubs for ARC lovers. You sign up, build a profile that screams “I’m a bookworm!”, and request copies of upcoming titles. The key here? Keep your reviews coming and your profile updated. Publishers dig active, enthusiastic readers.

And hey, don’t forget about the power of reaching out directly to publishers. Send them a friendly email introducing yourself and your bookish platform. Give them a taste of your passion for books and how you’ve been sharing that love with the world. 

Sometimes, it’s just about making that personal connection and showing them you’re the right person to help their book fly off the shelves come launch day.

Continue reading as I delve a bit deeper into each way you can snag a free ARC copy.

ARC Review Sites

One of the best ways and proven methods to access free books is through NetGalley, Edelweiss+Reedsy Discovery, and Book Sirens – reputable review platforms. The majority of these books are available in ebook format, making it easier to get books into the hands of readers and benefiting authors as well! 

To boost your chances of receiving an ARC, make sure your profile is complete, follow the guidelines, and submit your reviews promptly to meet any deadlines.

A tip from someone who only reads clean books – you can actually customize what kind of content you want to see on these sites. So, be sure to pick the categories you’re into and check out the book blurb to see if it’s your cup of tea! 

Amazon Prime (Amazon First Reads)

You can also use Amazon First Reads for early access to advanced copy books across different genres every month, priced at just $1.99 (or free for Prime members). 

You can read these ebooks on any Kindle or on the Kindle app. Membership is free for Prime members or you snag these steals at $1.99 per ebook!

They make it super easy to select books by sending out a monthly email with fresh picks and you can opt out anytime. 

And as a bonus, Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read these books once released at no extra cost.

Book Tour Company

Ever heard of book tour companies? They’re like exclusive marketing platforms just for books! 

If you sign up as a book influencer on their websites, they’ll hook you up with all sorts of ARCs either in physical or ebook format in exchange for your review on a set date. 

These tours, known as blog or book tours, are super organized when it comes to scheduling your review posts. 

While they’re gaining popularity on Instagram, especially in the bookstagram community, they’re also keeping it real on blogs. 

There are tons of book tour companies out there supporting new authors and indie authors (aka self-published authors), but here are some of the cool ones:


Celebrate Lit Publicity Group (Christian books)

TLC Book Tours 

Partner in Crime Tours

JustRead Publicity Tours (focuses on clean books)

Rockstar Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

StoryGram Tours

Make sure to double-check all the rules and requirements before signing up for a book launch. The success of these events relies on influencers sharing on the designated publication date to create maximum buzz for the newest book releases!

Authors Newsletters

Looking for a sneaky way to snag some free ARC books? Head over to your fave authors’ websites or publishers and sign up for their newsletters. 

Authors often send exclusive content, updates, and even sneak peeks at upcoming books in their newsletters. But the cherry on top? 

Some authors offer ARCs as a thank you for being a loyal subscriber. 

It’s a win-win – you get early access to read and review the book, and the author gets valuable feedback! 

Social Media aka Bookstagram and Facebook Group’s

A rising trend for accessing ARCs is to engage in various Facebook groups within your favorite genre or be active on Bookstagram. 

If you follow authors and join different groups, you’ll come across posts about ARC opportunities often. Instead of mindlessly scrolling, think about joining these groups to find a new book’s release available for sign-up before they officially launch.

Check out Facebook groups related to your favorite genres, authors, or specific review groups. Just give it a search, and you’ll find what you’re looking for!

Search hashtags like #bookreviewer, #arcbook, #arc, and #advancereadercopies on Instagram to discover what people are sharing!

Ever thought about sliding into your favorite author’s DMs on Instagram? Not only have I snagged ARCs this way, but I’ve also made awesome new friends and connections. 

Directly from Publishers

Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to publishers with your review requests! 

You can directly contact them through their press email address to request any arc copies you have your eye on or fill out any form they provide on their website.

Tip: Make sure your email is professional, personal, and super concise. Introduce yourself and explain how it would benefit them to have you review their book. Don’t forget to include your address because they might just send you the book!

Most will require you to have a blog or social media account with book-related content, so make sure yours is up to scratch before applying. 

Some popular publishing houses that provide ARCs include Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster

Keep an eye out on their websites and social media for any openings or opportunities. 

And don’t be discouraged if you get rejected – keep trying and building your social media platforms! Your persistence will pay off in the end. 

Keep reading, reviewing, and supporting authors – they appreciate it more than you know!

FAQ’s for ARC Copies

Are ARC books free?

Totally, ARC books are free; I mean, the whole point is for you to read them before anyone else and spread the word – pretty sweet deal, right?

How do you get an ARC book?

ARC Review Sites

Amazon Prime (Amazon First Reads)

Book Tour Companies

Author Newsletters

Social Media

Directly from Publishers

Can anyone snag these ARC books?

Yep, pretty much! But hey, it helps a lot if you’re already chatting about books online or, you know, waving your book-lover flag high and proud on a blog or Insta. A good following can give you a head-start for sure.

Do you have to be like, super famous or something?

Nah, not at all. Sure, being a celeb might open doors, but what publishers really want are passionate readers who can create buzz for their books. So, even if your follower count isn’t sky-high, your enthusiasm can totally make up for it.

Do you need to review every ARC book you get?

Well, that’s the whole shebang, isn’t it? Publishers hand you a free book hoping you’ll share some honest love—or constructive criticism—about it. So yeah, the unspoken deal is you write a review. But don’t stress; just be your book-loving self!

How soon do you have to write the review?

So, you’ve just got this shiny new ARC, and you’re itching to dive in. Publishers usually love it if you can drop that review right around the release date. Creates more hype that way. But check in—sometime they’ll let you know if there’s a specific timeframe they’re aiming for.

What if the book is, um, not your cup of tea?

Okay, it happens—sometimes a book is just not for you. Publishers get this too! They value honesty, so give your genuine opinion. Just keep it classy—no need to be mean, okay? You can still write a positive review with constructive feedback, even if the book is below 3 stars for you. 

Can you keep the ARC after reviewing it?

Oh, you betcha! They’re like little reading trophies. But they’re not for selling—just for your treasure trove of “I read it first” goodies. Plus, they make cool bookshelf decor to fawn over later.

Did you discover what is an arc book?

And there you have it, bookworm buddies! You’re officially clued in on the hush-hush world of ARC books – pretty cool, right? 

This is your backstage pass to the freshest reads and your chance to be part of the hype train before it even leaves the station. So, what are you waiting for? 

Start signing up for ARCs and join the ranks of the exclusive first readers club. Just imagine the flex when you’re the one dishing out recommendations on the next big thing. 

Let’s get those pages turning and reviews rolling! 

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