There’s a wide-ranging conversation currently going on about ARCs, those advance reader copies publishers make available before the books are published. Something I wanted to point out as I don’t see much about it is that ARCs are “uncorrected galleys” meaning they are not the finished books. In fact they are often quite different from the finished books; I have editor and author friends who hate, hate, hate it when people see the ARCs as the final books as they fuss over their creations up to the last moment and want the published book to be what is considered, not those versions that came before.
I can totally see why. A couple of years ago I did a New York Times review of Lynne Rae Perkins’ YA novel, As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (a fantastic summer read, by the way) and feel I dodged a bullet by being able to see the published book just before turning in my copy. I’d not planned on mentioning the illustrations because the ARC only had a few, but when I saw the final book which had far more, I did. Thank goodness I was able to base my review on the finished book not the ARC.
In my experience, changes big and small are often made between the ARC being sent out and the publication of the final book. Recently I received an updated manuscript for a work to be published this fall that had already gone out as an ARC weeks before. Evidently enough changes were made to make this worth doing. And I’ve often heard others mention the differences they noticed between the ARC and the published book. Certainly, in my experience, award committees base their decisions on published books not ARCs. For good reason.
So, again, just a reminder that the ARC is definitely NOT the book. Something to keep in mind when considering those hot-button topics of who gets them and what to do with them.