In the past month or so, I've really gotten involved with two great sites for book lovers. Both give you the opportunity to get free copies of books to read and review before they're published.
The first is NetGalley. NetGalley gives reviewers (that's me!), booksellers, librarians, educators and media the opportunity to browse books by category or publisher and request digital copies for review. NetGalley supports all reading devices, and it's super easy to have books emailed to your Kindle account (my personal preference) or be delivered electronically in a number of other ways. The expectation is that you then review the book and share said reviews with friends, family, social networks, etc. They also allow you to vote on whether or not you like the covers of all the books they host (thumbs up or thumbs down). NetGalley is free to join and super easy to navigate. There's a convenient "Your Shelf" section where you can see books ready for you to download and start reading, and books you've already retrieved that are awaiting your feedback, books you've sent feedback on, and books you've requested that are either pending approval or denied.
The only thing I don't love about NetGalley is I get rejected for way more books than I request, so I tend to go on requesting binges and all of a sudden have six approvals come through all at once, and then I'm trying to power read through them all so they're not back logged. I've developed a system now where I organize my NetGalley and BookishFirst books pending reviews by publish date, so I can be sure to at the very least read and review before their publish date. You'll see some of those reviews here soon, and I'll take each review with where I received the ARC from.
Which leads me into my other new favorite book site, BookishFirst. BookishFirst is also free to join (bonus!) and is a new site that's only been active for a little over a month. Every Monday they post a handful of upcoming releases and give readers the opportunity to read the first few chapters and get a sneak peek by reading what they call a "First Look." Readers can then write a short blurb giving their first impression of the book, at which point they can opt to be entered into a raffle to win a free ARC copy of the book. There is a raffle every Tuesday to draw winners for the books posted the previously Monday, so you basically have eight days to check out the new books for the week and read any first looks and post any first impressions.
According to BookishFirst's website, some books are available in multiple formats (print or ebook), but I've only seen print books thus far. You also earn points for each First Impression you post, as well as for posting reviews, sharing reviews to various sites, and for sharing a review to Amazon on the day of release. These points add up to let you basically purchase a book posted for that week rather than entering the first impressions raffle and leaving it up to chance. I have to say that, at least so far, your odds are pretty good for getting a free ARC of the books you enter into; so far I've entered four raffles and won all four books I entered. I imagine that success ratio will go down as more people discover this great site and start getting in on these raffles.
So there you have it! I'll make posting ARC reviews a priority on this site, but will also post reviews for other books I'm buying and checking out from the library. Some of them will be new releases, but there will also be a healthy mix of books that have been around for a while in there.
Do you have a favorite book site? Let me know in the comments!
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