Quoting ARCs in Reviews {Discussion}

Discussion Post

This is something that I’ve been meaning to ask you guys about for a while now…

What the hell is up with the rules about quoting ARCs in book reviews? I’m so confused.

When I first started reviewing ARCs, I didn’t even realize that this rule was a thing. I quoted ARCs a few times and then randomly read in one of my ARCs that I wasn’t allowed to quote it without first checking with a finished copy to see if anything had changed. So after that, I just completely stopped doing it.

But I’ve noticed three very different scenarios that I’ve seen people do around the blogosphere and Goodreads regarding this.

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Don’t quote ARCs at all. This is what I do. Ever since I saw that it was a rule, I haven’t quoted an ARC. This is following the rules completely and I don’t have to worry about publishers getting mad at me for doing something I’m not supposed to be doing. From what I’ve seen, this is what about 75% of other bloggers do as well.

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Quote the ARC, but include a disclaimer. I’ve seen this one pretty often, too. Somebody will quote an ARC, and then at the bottom of their review, put something like “all quotes are taken from an advanced readers copy and aren’t final. Please refer to a finished copy.” But…the rule is: “Don’t quote from this ARC,” not: “Quote from this ARC, but warn people first.” So what’s up with that?

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Quote the ARC like you don’t give a fuck. There’s a few bloggers I’ve seen who just will quote ARCs willy-nilly with no disclaimer or anything! I notice this the most with very popular bloggers. Like…are they allowed to do this because they’re popular? Or do publishers just not care that they’re breaking the rules because they’re so popular?

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I’m totally not judging anybody for doing any of these options…I’m just honestly confused about what’s right and what’s wrong in this situation. I thought “no” meant “no,” but apparently it’s not as clear as it seems.

Can you guys weigh in and help me out?

Have you ever quoted from an ARC before? When you do so, do you give a disclaimer or no? Have you ever gotten in trouble for quoting an ARC? What’s the REAL rule about this?

 

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21 responses to “Quoting ARCs in Reviews {Discussion}

  1. Good question! I’ve been meaning to ask a few publishers what they really mean by that but just haven’t done it. Honestly, I include one quote from every book I review, and most of them are ARCs. I use a disclaimer and I’ve NEVER had a publisher tell me to stop quoting from ARCs. So I feel as if that rule is very loose and only stated to cover the publisher’s butt for some reason. Or I could be wrong and I’m going to blogger jail someday, ha ha! I hope someone gives us the answer!

    • Well that’s good to know…that you do it a lot and have never gotten in trouble. This makes me want to start using a disclaimer, too. There are so many times where I really want to quote one and I’m just like “I’m confused, what do I do?!?” and then just end up not doing it because I don’t want to do something wrong lol

  2. Probably a lot of people just don’t know about the rule. Like you, I wasn’t aware of it for awhile, and I’m not entirely sure if the sentence saying not to quote is even printed in all the ARCs I’ve seen.

    Although I guess popular bloggers should have heard of the rule by now.

    Honestly, though, I’m not sure what’s up with the request. Personally, a disclaimer seems fine to me. We’re already reviewing books that aren’t final and that may change. Why can’t we quote something that may change?

    Like Tammy, though, I’ve never gotten in trouble for quoting (when I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to), and I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble. I’ve never even heard someone in publishing mention this issue, at all, either while interning or while reading publisher blogs or something like that. My only conclusion is that it isn’t a big deal.

    • I think that the sentence about not quoting ARCs is in MOST ARCs. At least the ones that I’ve seen. I was curious about that and tried to pay attention, and I feel like it’s in around 90% of ARCs (at least when it came the ones I’ve gotten).

      “We’re already reviewing books that aren’t final and that may change. Why can’t we quote something that may change?” Good point! I didn’t really think of it like that before…I like the way you think haha 🙂

      I’m leaning towards thinking that it’s not really a big deal as well…just because SO many bloggers do it, and I’m sure publishers would crack down more if they were really that bothered by it. Personally I get why the rule exists, but at the same time I also feel like including quotes can sometimes really help make a review GOOD and therefore sell more books for them…so they should WANT people to quote ARCs. Maybe it’s like Tammy said and publishers only say that to cover their asses, but secretly they actually like it when we do it? I guess using the disclaimer is the right way to go, though, because then at least your readers know that those quotes might not be exactly what’s in the finished product.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. I’ve only quoted an ARC once or twice in a review before, but to be honest, I don’t really feel the need to quote unless there was a specific passages that I absolutely LOVED or hated and felt the need to share. Great discussion, though! 🙂

  4. To be honest, I fall in the last category to be honest.. If people see that I review an ARC, I just assume they know it means that things can change 🙂 But I might have to look into a disclaimer just in case. I’ve never heard a publisher about it though, so I don’t think they pay much attention to it?

    • Don’t worry I’m not judging you haha 🙂 And, yeah, I’m getting the feeling that they really don’t care too much…I’m sure they would’ve said something by now, right? It’s just confusing because the rule says “don’t do this,” but really it seems to mean “do this as much as you want, we don’t give a shit.”

  5. I tend to forget this rule, and although I don’t usually include quotes, I’ll sometimes quote from an ARC. However, I think the correct thing to do, if you want to include a quote, is to email the publisher and ask them to verify your quote; they’ll be able to find out if it has been changed or is good to use. I know bloggers who do this. They say publishers are usually happy to check for you; it doesn’t take long, and it shows you care.

    • Oh that’s good to know! I had no idea that if you emailed them, they would be able to verify that for you. That’s really helpful, thank you, Leah! 🙂

  6. I don’t make it a habit of quoting anything in my reviews, unless there’s one like that stood out so much I just HAD to share it. But I tend to fall in the first category anyway, and don’t even bother since I don’t want to get busted by a publisher. I know it probably wouldn’t happen, but I just would rather avoid the whole thing.

  7. Unsurprisingly, I am that goat. I quote with reckless abandon. Well, okay, I quote occasionally, but I don’t really ever go back and compare them to the finished copy like they say you’re supposed to. Oops. 😦 But I figure it doesn’t matter, because I’m quoting GOOD things. If it were a quote I was posting to display something BAD, then it would be horrible of me to not check it against the finished copy, because that’s just rude. I might be a goat, but I’m not a RUDE goat.

    • Hahahahaha oh my god I love this comment.

      Of course you’re the goat 😛

      I think that’s an interesting point, too…what’s the intent of the quote? I feel like the bad quotes thing can be a fine line, though. Like what if you just want to show an example of the author’s writing style that you didn’t like? That’s not really something that’s going to be fixed before a finished copy, so is it really something terrible to show? I don’t know. What are your feelings on including quotes to exemplify negative things but also including a disclaimer?

      • Yeah, I think as long as you’re putting a disclaimer it’s fine. I mean, maybe I’m just a rebel (even though I’m very strict about following the rules in other cases), but at least you’re not being deceptive about it at this point. And if it’s something I disliked in the ARC and was quoting… Well, maybe I’d compare it to the finished copy, but usually not (because why would I buy a finished copy if I didn’t like the book?). Shrug.

  8. I think I maybe quoted from an ARC once, but it was pretty much the final version and there wasn’t that little sentence about not quoting so I was like: MEH I WANNA USE IT HAHAHA SUCK IT.

    But I never quote in reviews, so this doesn’t really matter to me.

    I find the whole thing to be a little weird, though. REALLY – how much is going to change from the ARC text to the final version? I’m guessing not much, so I don’t actually see the problem with it.

    However, if the publisher said ‘DON’T QUOTE FROM THIS’, and I DID quote in my reviews, I wouldn’t quote it. Like you said, it doesn’t say ‘don’t quote unless you put a disclaimer’. They don’t want you quoting at all, so I guess it’s a courtesy to follow their wishes.

    • I’m getting a lot of mixed responses on this question! The only thing that’s clear to me after posting this question is that nobody knows what the heck is going on haha. So I think that I’m going to stick with you for now and keep doing what I’m doing 🙂

      That’s a good question, though…how much DO they change? I think it’s just little corrections here and there, but who knows? I think they just don’t want the book to be falsely represented, and even a small change could definitely affect how somebody views the quote or thinks of what the book would be like. I don’t think it’s a MAJOR concern, but I can understand why publishers wouldn’t want people to be showcasing parts of their product before it’s definitively final.

  9. Pingback: Weekly Recap| Jun 29 – Jul 5, 2014 | Oh, the Books!·

  10. Funny you should ask this, because I just finished Alias Hook the other day and there was a quote I REALLY wanted to put in there. But then I checked the bit at the beginning, and it had the ‘unfinished copy check quotes first’ blah blah paragraph. So I’ve left it out, but I’m tempted to email a publicist to check, although that means the quote will go into my review a little while after its published.

    I think we should listen to what the ARC says. I mean it explicitly tells you not to post quotes without checking first, so you should really listen to that I guess!

  11. I asked a few publishers this once.. The responses weren’t very consistent: http://www.nosegraze.com/bbb-question-can-you-quote-from-arcs/

    I think I always assumed that this rule was really intended for publications. You know, like The New York Times and stuff. It could be weird if they quoted from an ARC, then that line was changed or removed. But if it happens on a blog, is that really a big deal?

    I stopped quoting from Atria since they explicitly asked me not to. But I quote from HarperCollins if the situation calls for it. I don’t quote from books often but sometimes it’s REALLY helpful to reinforce a point about why the book rocked or sucked.

  12. I don’t do a disclaimer – I should think about that actually. When I review an ARC the only indication of that in the post is where I say “Source – Publisher” and I should probably look at differentiating more… I have quoted from ARCs, I know that with finished books I read somewhere that you can quote up to 500 words, and I’ve quoted ARCs and the publisher has retweeted the review… Interesting post! I think in future I’ll make it more obvious the quotes are from ARCs, but I don’t like reviewing without quoting even a little to give the reader an indication of writing style. I’ve had readers tell me they find it useful.

    • Really good point, Rachel. I always try to tag publishers on Twitter on book reviews when I love the book, and they often retweet my reviews. AND I always include a quote. I’m with you, it gives the reader a taste of the writing style. And like I said before (up there!) I’ve never had a publisher say a word to me about my quotes.

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