In the spirit of summer reading, this month’s thing is going to take a look at NetGalley, a source for electronic advance reader copies (eARCs) of forthcoming books.
What is NetGalley?
With the rise of eReaders, publishers are more and more offering advance reading copies of titles in electronic format. There are several services out there that do this but the one I’ve found the easiest to use is NetGalley. Registration is simple and there is a wide variety of content available for review. While you’re not going to find content from some of the largest publishers like Simon & Shuster and Random House here, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of content you’ll be interested in reading.
6/2/14 Update: I stand a bit corrected as to content avaialbe from the “Big 5″ publishers being available as this afternoon The City, Dean Koontz’s next book (of which I’m a big fan) was listed as being available via NetGalley.
From the NetGalley site:
Do you love to discover new books? Do you review and recommend books online, in print, for your bookstore, library patrons, blog readers, or classroom? Then you are what we call a “professional reader,” and NetGalley is for you. Registration is free, and allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advance reading copies, on your favorite device.
NetGalley is a service to promote titles to professional readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles. Your feedback and recommendations are essential to publishers and readers alike.
Your Profile is the Key.
Once you’ve signed up the first thing you should do is fill in your profile. Here you’re asked to supply the following information:
- Your name
- A photo of you
- Affiliation (Blog title or library name as appropriate)
- Links to your social media sites
- A biography
- Contact info
- Categories of interest
- Associations (such as ALA)
- Your Kindle’s e-mail address (if you have one)
Most of this information is optional but the more information you supply, the more publishers will be interested in giving you access to their titles. You can see my profile on the right. The only area I’ve left blank is Associations since you can only chose from a pre-selected list of groups and I don’t belong to any of the groups listed.
Once you’ve filled out your profile, head on over to the Find Titles link at the top of the page. Here you’ll be presented with all of the titles currently available for request. Books are listed in newest-first order and hovering over a cover image will present you with some basic information about the title. Feel free to limit your browsing via the categories/genres on left. If you’re looking for a book you can get immediate access to use the “Read Now” link in the left menu.
Please note that some titles are only available to reviewers in certain geographic areas. For example, if it says “(AU / NZ only)” and you don’t live in Australia or New Zeland, your request will be denied.
Once you’ve found a title you’re interested in, click on its cover to get the the book’s page. There you’ll see a “Request” button (unless it’s a “read now title.) Click the button to submit your request. Once the publisher has either approved or denied your request you’ll receive an e-mail notifying you of the decision.
Generally I’ve found approvals come through within 48 hours. However in some cases I have had it take up to a week so keep this in mind when doing the assignment.
Once you’ve received approval for a title you’ve requested, whether via e-mail or Read Now, that book will appear on your account’s Dashboard. Here you’ll see all of the titles for which you currently have access.
Here you can either click on the cover to get to the book’s page of select options from the drop-down list beneath the cover. Those options are:
- View Title (Same as clicking on the cover)
- Add to reading list (Moves it to the “reading list” section of your dashboard. Honestly, I’m not clear on the point of this.)
- Remove from shelf (Provides an easy way to remove books you’re done with.)
Most importantly is getting to the book’s page so you can download it.
Once on a book’s page, instead of a Request button, this time you’ll see two or three different buttons they are:
- Send to Kindle (Not available on all titles)
- Title Feedback
If you have a kindle device or app, and you wish to have the book sent there, providing you’ve added your Kindle’s e-mail address (available via your Amazon.com Manage your Kindle page) clicking that will send your book to your device/app. (Some books will not have this option and I am unaware of a way to determine this in advance.)
The Download button, when clicked, will send you a .acsm file which can be opened by most other eReaders and apps. If you don’t have an eReader or eReading app on your phone, you can always download the Adobe Digital Editions program to your Mac or PC. This will open and allow you to read this content on your desktop or laptop.
Once you’re done reading the book, head back to your NetGalley Dashboard, click on the relevant title and click on the Feedback button.
It is on this page that you’ll provide your review of the book. There are several items you need to be aware of here:
- 1-5 Star rating located beneath the cover image.
- Type/paste your review into the Review This Book field.
- If you’ve also published your review on another site such as your blog, Amazon.com, LibraryThing or Good Reads, click Add Link and provide a link to the other location.
- Answer the three “As a reviewer” questions.
- Thoughts for the publisher are more for comments on the experience itself, not the content of the book. For example, one eARC I read had a watermark on every page that made it difficult to read. I commented on that, here, not the review.
Click the Send Now button at the bottom of the page to submit your review.
My tips for getting the most out of NetGalley:
Having been a NetGalley member for more than a year now, here are some things I’ve learned that will help you get the best out of the service:
- Fill out your profile as completely as possible. The more information you can provide the publishers, the more likely they are to approve you.
- Review as many books as possible. NetGalley does keep track of the ratio between how may books you request and how many you review. The higher the percentage of reviewed titles, the more likely your requests will be approved.
- Post your reviews to other sites. In most cases, I don’t just post my review to the NetGalley site, but also to somewhere else like my blog, Amazon.com, or LibraryThing. When I submit my review to NetGalley, I use the URL field to point to where else I’ve posted the review. The publishers appreciate it.
- Be honest in your review. I’ve read books that I was disappointed in and I explained why in my review. As long as you’re honest, and explain yourself, I don’t believe this will work against you.
- Register with NetGalley.
- Fill in your account profile.
- Request at least two titles. (Feel free to request more.)
- Read at least one of your requested titles.
- Write and submit your review.
- Write a blog post about your experience and include links to any reviews that you published on publicly accessible sites (such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Amazon.com)
- Write about your experience with the service and how use of this service might benefit (or not) your library work.