Simon & Schuster is the newest publisher to offer digital ARCs (advanced review copies) directly to reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, and booksellers. So far, the galleys are available by e-mail invitation only, but early-readers can register with Galley Grab for consideration. I expect more publishers will follow. Others, such as Clarkson Potter, a Random House imprint, have already been experimenting with e-galleys.
Net Galley, which started earlier this year, is a central website where publishers can invite contacts to view their print or digital galleys, and readers can request galleys they want to review. The service is free to the same group of early readers I just mentioned, plus educators. I haven’t heard much about this site, so I’m interested in feedback from people or publishers who have used it.
Nxtbook, another new company, is a web-based provider of digital content such as e-galleys and e-magazines as an alternative option for subscribers. I love it that we’re moving away from paper for disposable reading experiences.
It make take a while for the major reviewers—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, The New York Times—to start accepting e-galleys, but it seems inevitable that they will. The pressure will come from within, all those employers/reviewers who are hooked on their Kindles and other e-readers will start to resent lugging those paper galleys around.
Not every early reader in the industry has an e-reader, but many do. The savings on printing and postage will be huge. The cost and time savings will benefit small, overworked publishers the most. The convenience for early readers will translate to more books being read and reviewed before publication. I believe this is good for writers.
What do you think? How else will writers benefit from e-galleys?