What do you do with old ARCs?

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on


Every blogger I’ve ever spoken to understands how lucky and privileged we are to received Advance Review Copies from authors and publishers. Every author I’ve spoken to really appreciates the work that goes into reading and reviewing them.

But, what do you do with them when you’re finished?

ARCs are not allowed to be sold (although, obviously, there are always a horrible handful that flout the rules and make us all look bad…). eARC’s pose little bother, but a pile of books you can’t get rid of can be a problem.

* Some people like to keep and collect their ARCS and that’s absolutely okay. This is just for fun and for those of us who might lack the space or desire to hold onto theirs. *

Here’s a few suggestions for what to do with used physical ARCs.


What do you do with yours?

Let me know your ideas!



Swap ARCs with other reviewers.

You’re not actually selling the ARC for money, but you get to read a whole new book out of it.

Even better, if you’re swapping while the book is being publicized, the publisher gets two reviews for the price of one!

There are tags you can follow on twitter (#ARCSforTrade and similar for individual countries) to show off what you’ve got and what you’re looking for. Something to keep in mind though is that everyone values different titles differently, so don’t let your feelings get hurt if someone knocks back an offer. You can only ask, right?



Ask at your local library.

This can be a hit-or-miss. I know my own local library can not accept any ARCs for their shelves, but I’ve heard of others who have in the past. This can vary by your country or even just individual library policy. But it’s worth asking right? 



Hospitals, schools, shelters.

To be honest, these are the type of libraries most likely to accept ARC donations.

They’re often underfunded and lacking (especially in diverse) reading material. Just think how you could be taking a kids mind off their hospital visit, distracting them from a tough living situation, or just providing something to read for someone that has fewer options.

It can be a nice way to pay back the privilege of having got the free copy yourself, and the libraries are usually really grateful for donations.



Build a book fort.

Because, why not? Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

The age old alternative to pillow forts.



Recycle them.

Some might think it sacrilege, but it’s often the official stance. If you have a paper recycling bin that gets collected from home it can go straight in there, or take a bunch to your local recycling facility. If nothing else, you’re clearing space for new ARCs and new purchases.



Book Art.

Feeling creative? Been browsing Etsy lately? There are dozens of exciting ways in which people turn old books into works of art, from jewelry to homeware. Using ARCs is a great way to save on buying books for parts, and lets you keep the ARC but in a different form.



Pass them along.

Got a friend you know loves historical romance? A nephew that’s a huge fan on MG fantasy? Promote the heck out of your new favourite author.




10 thoughts on “What do you do with old ARCs?”

  1. I like to keep the physical ARCs, especially if I really enjoyed them 🙂 I may change my mind once my bookshelf is full haha! But until then, I like to keep them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hallo, Hallo Louise,

    I’m starting to resurface again – my feeds today tell the story well about what was happening in March with my family. I just needed some *breathing space*. I couldn’t even focus on reading or listening to audiobooks – I honestly reached the point where I just had to take a firm step back and just wait for April. I was browsing my feeds via WP and noticed this topic – it comes up every now and then, giving me a new appreciation for ingenuity and creative expression as everyone seems to have some creative alternatives for recycling and/or upcycling their ARCs!

    I personally hold onto mine – except for the few times where I felt it was deemed necessary to pass them forward (of all the review books, I only still have a handful I want to pass forward to readers) if I had a staunchly fierce aversion to reading them. Otherwise, I keep all the books – mostly as as its a path I walked as a book blogger and I enjoy the nostalgia of it. Eventually I’ll have the chance to do up different displays of the books themselves – by year, by genre, by something I haven’t yet decided – some of course, will be strictly for cover art happiness if I didn’t like the book at all but others.. gosh. I have such wonderfully wicked memories – I couldn’t part with those copies at all! I feel so attached into those covers!!

    I know their ARCs but still.. that was the way in which I ‘met’ the story and for me, it remains my favourite version.

    What have been your ways of dealing with the ARCs?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I very rarely get physical ARCs (which is for the best – it takes me long enough as it is to read my NetGalley ARCs) and whenever I’ve read one that I haven’t loved, I tend to either pass it along to a friend I think will like it or I’ll donate it to a charity shop. I know ARCs shouldn’t be sold, but if the money’s going to a charity and someone who really wants to read that story gets to read it then I don’t really see a problem with it. I think donating them to libraries, schools etc. is another really good idea, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s see… I hardly get physical ARCs, but… I’ve donated one, thrown one out in the recycling, and the others I won’t let go of unless I lend them to a person who will be sure to give it back to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I struggle so often with what to do with ARCs! I’ve had some luck swapping on Twitter, so that’s been nice, but often I just end up donating them to the library and let them sort it out. And I also have samplers I’ve gotten from cons that I don’t end up wanting, but putting them in recycling just feels wasteful! Ah well……

    Liked by 1 person

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