As a teen services librarian, it’s helpful to know what books are coming out so that you can order them for your library and recommend them to your teens. There are many ways to stay on top of new titles—reading reviews, talking to colleagues, browsing bookstores, etc. Another way is to read advance copies of the books themselves! Most publishers produce advance copies, also known as ARCs or galleys, in order to generate buzz for a book before publication. Publishers distribute ARCs at conferences or send directly to reviewers, booksellers, and librarians. So if you can’t attend conferences and aren’t on a publisher’s distribution list, how can you read ARCs? Enter electronic ARCs! Many publishers make electronic copies of ARCs available through two different sites: Netgalley and Edelweiss.
Anyone can create a free account on Netgalley. When you sign up, be sure to select Librarian as your role. Once signed in, you can add additional information about yourself like your specific job title, the name of your library, a brief bio, and links to your website and/or social media profiles if applicable. Publishers grant access to ARCs on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to add any relevant information to your profile. If you are a member of ALA, you can even include your membership number. As a librarian, I’ve been approved for most titles I request.
To find titles, browse by genre or publisher, or search for a specific title. Do check to be sure that the title is available in your region—there are several British and Australian-only titles. When you see a title that interests you, click on its cover, then click Request. You will get an email letting you know if your request is approved. It can take days to weeks for approvals, so don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile! You’ll find all of your approved titles on your dashboard. From there, you can download the book. Files will be in protected ePub or PDF format or can be sent to a Kindle reader or app. To view ePUB or PDF files, you will need an Adobe ID and a program or app to view the protected files. More information about viewing the files is available from Netgalley’s help page.
After reading a title, it’s courtesy to send feedback to the publisher. Netgalley has a nice form to submit feedback, including adding a link to an online review. If you are not getting approved for titles, make sure to leave feedback as some publishers do take it into account when approving titles.
Edelweiss isn’t just for ARCs. It is primarily a book ordering system, so they have information about many publishers’ upcoming catalogs. Only some titles will have review copies available. When you register, be sure to put as much information about your role as possible, as publishers will use the information in deciding approvals.
To find ARCs, click on the Review Copies tab when you are logged in. They are by default sorted by newest additions, but you can use the facets on the left side to narrow down what you are looking for. Word of warning, though, the metadata is not always helpful! For example, selecting Young Adult from the age category often returns adult books that list an age of 18+. When you see a title you’d like, click Request Digital RC. You will then be given the option to add additional information to your request if needed. If your request is approved, you will get an email. You can also see all of your requests under the Requests tab of the Review Copies section. Files will be in protected ePub or PDF format or can be sent to a Kindle reader or app. To view ePUB or PDF files, you will need an Adobe ID and a program or app to view the protected files. More information about viewing files is available from Edelweiss’ help page.
After reading a title, it’s courtesy to send feedback to the publisher. To submit a review, there’s a link under the Downloads tab of the Review Copies section.
General tips for both sites:
- Formatting of electronic titles is not always perfect. Titles available as PDF tend not to format to basic eReaders very well, and are better viewed on a tablet. ePub format tends to look best on most devices.
- Some publishers will add you to an auto-approval list so that you don’t have to wait for approvals. Some do this automatically for librarians or you can send a request to a publisher’s library rep to get added. For example, Macmillan has information about how to get whitelisted on Edelweiss.
- Though it’s only for adult titles, you can participate in LibraryReads through both systems.
Time to get requesting and reading those 2016 titles!