Netgalley. Hello lover.


When I first began blogging, I was hitting up Netgalley like there was no tomorrow. Seriously leaning on that ‘request’ button. And then, like gorging at the breakfast buffet, you pause, feel sick and remember that old saying – “Quality is better than quantity”.

There are books that I requested from Netgalley in 2012 that I still haven’t read. Shameful. And dozens from 2013. More shame. But last year I showed some restraint and only requested two or three books each month. I still didn’t get through all of them but the list at the end of the year wasn’t as bad as The-Great-2012/2013-Netgalley-Fiasco. And there are some there that I still fully intend to read, including Sisterland, We Are Not Ourselves and Nora Webster.

This year I’ve applied another handbrake. Not only do I restrict how many books I request, I check out early reviews on Goodreads before hitting request. Sure, this  defeats the purpose (for the publishers) of the ARC but no one has told me to stop it…

And so I was browsing the virtual shelves at Netgalley this week and The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein caught my eye. The blurb begins –

“Frances had read of a man who painted with only the colour yellow. He lived in the north of Norway.”

And you know yellow is my absolute favourite and best colour, right? It seemed I was destined for this book. But I popped over to Goodreads anyway. Thank fuck I did. Bonnie had done a very thorough review. You can read it here or just ponder one of the quotes she used from the book –

‘To Yasha, the word business meant bread or sex.’

The quote was followed by an insightful comment from Bonnie – “Whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.”

I gave The Sunlit Night a wide berth.

What stage are you at in your relationship with Netgalley? The ‘Hello lover’ stage where neither of you can do no wrong and it’s a mutual love-fest? Or the married-ten-years-and-I’m-wise-to-your-faults-and-you-certainly-know-mine phase? Because I love it. Really. But we all have to recognise our limitations in a relationship (and in this case, mine is time).

24 responses

  1. I try to have only one unread Netgalley book on my list at a time. I don’t really enjoy reading books electronically, though, which may be why. At the beginning, I signed up for too many and they were archived before I could finish them. And yes, there is a lot of dreck on Netgalley.

    • Dare I tell you that you can download the books onto your Kindle and retain them even if they’re archived? (Hence all my old ones still sitting in the TBR pile). Even if it has been archived, I leave feedback once I’ve read it – figure my ‘Feedback Sent’ stat needs to remain healthy!

      • They expire after awhile and then I can’t open them. Sometimes they become available again later. I know I can give feedback, but I can’t usually read them after they expire.

      • Hmmm… I haven’t had this problem. If I download them to my Kindle as soon as I’m approved, they stay on my Kindle as documents forever. They get archived on Netgalley (and I can’t download again) but I still leave feedback.

      • I guess it’s because I’m not using a Kindle app on my iPad, just their other download, maybe. The documents stay on my iPad until I remove them, but I can’t open them up after the archive date.

  2. I am glad I am not the only one who has books on my shelf for two years. I am working my way through them but I also don’t want to let my newest ones get to that stage either, kinda of doing a lucky dip with books just now and getting through them slowly. I hope to be through them all in the next year or two then only request a few at a time. I do try to do that now but there are so many good looking books. Great post 🙂

    • Yes, I try to keep on top of the current ARCs I have on my list. Have managed that fairly well this year, although slipped a little during the last month as I’ve had lots of study – once exams are over I’ll get back up to date. Aiming to finish the year with less than ten unread ARCs.

      • That’s a good goal, I am aiming to get them all done too but I doubt I will be able to. I am going to try though. Reading only a few non- arc books just now, just so I don’t feel bogged down too much. 🙂

  3. I do enjoy NetGalley, but function similar to how you do now. I only request 2-3 per month, and, like you, do a little research before hitting that request button! I can see how easy it would be to get sucked in like FREE BOOOOOOKKSSSS!!!!

  4. Pingback: 20 books of Summer (except that it’s Winter) | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  5. I’ve limited myself too, being very careful what I choose. Maybe this year it will be no more than a dozen. The cover alone is enough to tell me if it’s worth my time. But I do still have unread titles from 2012.

    • I usually get sucked in by covers too but really not letting myself this year – based on the cover alone, I would have requested The Sunlit Night :-/

  6. I’ve massively cut back on my number of NetGalley requests mostly because I’ve gotten pickier and I ended up with ARCs that weren’t good fits for me. It would be so helpful if they’d have an excerpt of the first couple pages so I could avoid the second person present tense narrators, and the like.

  7. I’m trying to take a little break from NG at the moment. Despite good intentions, I always end up with a backlog, feel guilty, and then feel silly for feeling guilty. Just because I’ve been super busy lately, I haven’t gone through NG for a few weeks now… and I feel fine about it! I’ve gotten really tired of badly formatted ARCs anyway, so I’ve been hesitant to do any more requesting until I catch up a bit. Still, it’s a great resource, and I’m sure I won’t stay away for too long!

  8. I don’t get too many books from NetGalley, because I really do feel obligated to read and review each one (seems like maybe I’m feeling TOO obligated). But the bigger reason is that most of the books I want are limited to the UK/Australia/Canada. So I find NetGalley more frustrating than helpful sometimes. Still, I’ve gotten some great books so I can’t complain too much.

  9. I’ve also been guilty of the NetGalley binge. And, holy shit, some of those books are dire so I’m trying to be far more selective.

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