I still have a problem with calling my review books ARCs. Technically it stands for an Advance Reading Copy, but it is also used interchangeably with a review copy of a book, no matter how long ago the book was published.
Then there’s a whole bunch of other words that can be used to refer to a review copy, including:
- finished copy
- unfinished copy (also unbound copy)
- proof version
- review copy
- publicity version
Not to mention digital ARC or e-ARCs and then physical ARCs…I mean why is this all so confusing?
So I’ll try and explain it all below…
An ARC – also known as unfinished, unbound, proof copies (also e-ARCs)
An ARC is a version of a book that appears before the publication date. They are extremely limited and printed for publicity purposes, and usually contain publicity information on the back, be missing the author acknowledgements or extras like maps and Q&As. Also referred to as proofs, publicity versions, and unfinished/unbound copies, because they don’t resemble the final copy.
I know ARCs are expensive to produce from the publisher due to limited print runs. Sometimes ARCs are printed on whiter, heavier pages as well to make it easier to review. It’s more difficult receiving an ARC from a publisher than a book that has been printed, depending on the individual publisher. Many publishers choose to release ARCs as digital versions available on Netgalley or Edelweiss only.
Some people refer to all review copies as ARCs though, which make it even more confusing.
A review copy (physical or digital) – and finished copies
A review copy is a book that has been sent for review purposes. It’s pretty easy to tell if it’s a finished copy (or the first print of the book that is released into stores and or Amazon/online stores) – if it arrives after the book has been released, or it doesn’t have disclaimers from the publisher saying it is an advance reading copy of the book and it doesn’t represent the final version, then it’s usually a finished copy (which is what they sell in stores or on Amazon).
I tend to refer to all my received review books as a review copy, regardless of whether they are finished or unfinished copies. It makes it easier that way, but then again, there isn’t a specific term for a book that is received for review after the publication date.
Why is it so confusing and why are there so many terms to describe review copies? I think it’s because publishers work with so many people, not just us bloggers. They work with publicity teams, media, printers, editors etc. that they may all have different terminologies in their trade. But for now, I think I’ll just keep on calling them review copies…
Do you guys get confused over ARCs and review copies? What do you usually call them?
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