Tuesday, July 3, 2012

SO MUCH ARC Angst

Emo pony can't deal with your angst, he has his own.
So, I don't know how many of you have been keeping up with the #ARCgate that (sort of) started with a well-thought out, but passionate (and therefore very opinionated), post by a librarian who attended the ALA conference and was unable to get certain ARCs because the vendors were out by the time she was finished with her professional obligations. Understandably frustrating. Anger was then sparked by a 22-minute long video of an ALA book haul from a blogger and her sister, who appeared to have come away from the conference with upwards of 200 books--including books the librarian in question wanted, but couldn't get. By the time I caught up to this the video had been taken down, but I suspect that in their excitement, the girls probably made themselves look pretty bad. The original post, and then two subsequent posts are very much worth reading. If you read what some of her critics have to say, who she links to, the conversation quickly devolves. Apparently the conversation also got very heated on Twitter (which I rarely if ever participate in) and it once again became a question of blogger legitimacy and blogger access to ARCs in general. And this, really, is where my brain starts to warm up.

I know my voice is just one among many in all of this, and a small one at that. But, there are a few things coming out of this drama that strike me as very important to both librarians and book bloggers as well as our readers (since we are all part of an overarching COMMUNITY of book lovers). Amy said it best: " the really true and valuable work that a book blogger does is to sustain a culture of literacy." Is this culture of literacy not a common goal between bloggers and librarians? Her post is also worth reading in full. I'll repeat part of what I said there: "are the majority of book bloggers blogging BECAUSE they sell books for publishers they don't even work for? I doubt it. We're here because we love books, we love talking about books, and we love sharing opinions and ideas."


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I blog because I love to read and love to be a part of a community of people who love to read. I've always seen ARCs as a fun perk of blogging. ARCs are fun to get. I COMPLETELY understand why those girls seemingly got carried away (I say seemingly...she posted a very well-written explanation post of what was actually going on). First of all, free shit is awesome. I'm sorry, anyone who tries to deny that is a LIE-TELLER! We are all strapped for cash--blogger and librarian alike--I know it because I live it, I'm a blogger living with a librarian. Secondly, getting your hands on something before other people is exciting! Again, let's not deny these basic truths of humanity--they hold for both bloggers and librarians.


I accepted ARCs back when I first started--back before NetGalley--and I have accepted them now that I'm back. Hell, I sought them out. But I did and I do that because I was excited to read those books and to participate in ongoing discussions. Does that contribute to a profession (librarian or otherwise)? Does that contribute to a publisher's sales? Do I care? Truly, no. I'm not a marketing tool. I'm a person who likes to read and write and force my opinions on the unsuspecting masses. One of those opinions is that I'm not here to make myself legitimate in the eyes of the publishing industry. I'm here to talk about books. Dammit. (And if the only people that end up reading my blog are my friend Maggie Cats, my boyfriend, and my parents then so be it!)

And I think bloggers, such as the girl from the video, who obsess about ARCs will eventually realize that they can become a burden. When I was doing this blog before, I was accepting ARCs and quickly became overrun--I found myself unable to read books simply because I wanted to read them. Reading became horribly close to being a job and my dedication to this blog fell off very quickly in response (among other factors). And seriously the only thing worse than having a job is having a job that you're not getting paid to do! There is more to reading than ARCS, there is more to blogging than ARCs, and there is more to being a librarian than ARCs. It is so easy to get caught up in the books that are being published RIGHT NOW. I'm completely guilty of it. But looking backward can be so damn rewarding.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! In this blog entry did you use the information from any researches or these are fully your private thought? Can't wait to see your reply.

    ReplyDelete