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Goodreads has a program called First Reads that lets authors and publishers give away pre-release books to get early reviews. You may not find First Reads if you go looking for it, because it’s not called that on the menu or in the help system. Actually the only mentions of giveaways in help is how to change your address and under the author program.

To find First Reads, go to giveaways in the explore menu, or click on more giveaways from the explore page. To enter a giveaway, click on the Enter to win button and enter your shipping address (or just select the address after the first time), read the terms & conditions on the right of the screen, check the box that you have read the terms & conditions and click on another Enter to win button. After you’ve entered a giveaway, the next screen shows you how long, in days and hours/minutes/seconds, until the giveaway ends. On the right of this screen, you’ll see who listed the giveaway. A link to the publisher may be included here. If you click on the lister’s name or picture, it takes you to a list of all of their giveaways, you have to click on the name or profile picture again on this page to go to their profile page.

The default sort is ending soon. If a giveaway is ending on the 10th, it means as soon as the 10th starts as goodreads calculates it, or really midnight on the 9th in California. Three other sorts (on separate tabs) are available: most requested, popular authors, and recently listed. Books on the last pages of most requested might give you better odds for winning. Recently listed is very useful, but don’t stop when you get to the date you last checked giveaways or you could miss some. Some authors and publishers make the mistake of starting their giveaway immediately and since goodreads needs time to approve the giveaways, the book may not show on this list until a few days after the giveaway has started, especially around holidays and weekends.

You can browse by tags. These tags are not the shelves or genres of the books. The lister of the giveaway enters these tags when listing the giveaway.

At the top right of the main giveaways screen are a few more links. You can see previous winners, list a giveaway or go to giveaways you’ve entered. Previous winners is a list of the giveaways that have closed. Giveaways you’ve entered has several sorts. Sorting by won is helpful when you’ve received a book you’ve won, so that you can mark it received, or not received if it hasn’t arrived in 4 weeks.  I like to sort by end date to see which ones are still open.

At the bottom of the main giveaways screen you can choose to show all the giveaways instead of being restricted to your country. I think this goes by the country set on your account. Many giveaways are only available in the US and some countries may have few listings or no listings at all. The lister of the giveaway chooses the countries to which they are willing to ship the book.

Good Luck!

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