In 2020 I started reading advanced reading copies (e-ARCs) via Edelweiss and I shared with you about my no-so-successful experience with the platform (link here). Based on the comments received from you I decided to try NetGalley as well … My conclusion after less than 2 months: NetGalley is THE place for bloggers to receive advanced reading copies!
The difference between NetGalley and Edelweiss
First of all, there is a very important difference between the two early reading platforms, NetGalley and Edelweiss:
- NetGalley is intended for a wider public: booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and bloggers (more publicity oriented)
- Edelweiss is intended for people within the book industry: booksellers and librarians (more sales oriented)
Just knowing this fundamental difference will save you a lot of frustration and effort spent in the wrong direction. Now it makes sense why I was not receiving access to books on Edelweiss – I was not in their target group. Of course, there are also other factors such as the blog stats. But with the same stats I had a completely different experience on NetGalley.
My experience on NetGalley
In December 2020 I joined NetGalley and I had a very different experience compared to Edelweiss. In two months I asked for 9 books and here are the results: 6 approved, 1 declined, and 2 pending. And one of the approved books was previously declined on Edelweiss 🙂
Pros and cons of Netgalley
NetGalley is great, but there are also some drawbacks. Here I summarize the main pros and cons of NetGalley, based on my experience so far.
(+) Very easy to request books
Just click the request button and select from a predefined list why you want the book (eg. author, cover). No need to write anything else.
(-) Too easy to request books 🙂
Requesting a book is just a click away, so it is very easy to fall into the trap of requesting too many books and potentially feeling overwhelmed afterwards.
Also, the request cannot be customized – the requester does not have any space to explain why (s)he wants that book. This might be a disadvantage if you have strong reasons for requesting a certain book.
(+) NetGalley keeps the reviewers accountable for the books they receive
This might be controversial, but see it as an advantage that NetGalley openly shares the feedback ratio for each reviewer. When I receive access to an advanced reading copy I see it as a privilege, and I want to “pay” something in return. The feedback ratio is also a good lever to discourage asking for books just for the sake of it. The suggested feedback ratio is 80% – this means that for each 10 books approved you should review at least 8.
(-) No transparent feedback on declined requests
This issue is common for NetGalley and Edelweiss – the declined request message contains a general text like this: “Unfortunately, the publisher declined to allow access to the title. You may want to update your profile to provide more information to the publisher …” – this is not helpful in terms of improving your approval chances the next times.
My way forward
I will definitely continue asking for access to advanced reading copies via NetGalley, as I am happy with the experience I’ve had so far. Ever since I started using NetGalley I stopped using Edelweiss, and at the moment I do not think I’ll go back again.
And I will certainly continue reading of mix of published books and advanced reading copies – despite my perceived inconvenient that ARCs are e-books, there is a special feeling when you read a book that hasn’t yet seen the light of the day 🙂
If you read advanced reading copies – what’s your main reason?
If you don’t read advanced reading copies – what stopped you from using early reading platforms, such as NetGalley and Edelweiss?
‘Till next time … happy reading!