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ARC stands for Advanced Reading Copy or Advanced Review Copy. It’s a shorthand name for a copy of a pre-published book given away for promotional purposes. These books are sent out to reviewers before the release date. Many people just call all pre-released book copies ARCs even though some are actually Advance Reader’s Editions or Galleys. Galleys are generally Uncorrected Proofs and are created for final proofreading, but some publishers are now sending out galleys instead of AREs or ARCs. A galley will often include a warning that it’s not the final version and it shouldn’t be quoted in a review without consulting the published book.

Net Galley is a free site that lets you register and request digital galleys from publishers. Many book bloggers use Net Galley as a source for review copies. Booksellers, librarians, educators, reviewers and journalists can also request copies through Net Galley.

The Goodreads First-Reads program is designed to give away books before the release date to promote the books and get reviews. While many of the First-Reads books are the final versions of the books, others are ARCs or galleys. Some of the giveaways are held after the release date.

ARCs are for promotional purposes only and cannot be sold.