An Open Letter to Netgalley and Goodreads

thebookcorps

Dear Netgalley and Goodreads, 

Today I discovered that your sites will no longer be providing services (or limiting services) to international readers and I am absolutely devastated.

Contrary to popular belief, America is not the only country in the world.

For those who are unaware of what is happening, Goodreads will, from January 2018, prevent authors from creating giveaways for international readers. Basically, authors will have to pay $119 for a giveaway base package, and $599 for the premium. Previously, all authors had to pay for was shipping. Read more here.

Netgalley, on the other hand, has severely limited the amount of…

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5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Netgalley and Goodreads

  1. Krysta says:

    It’s worth mentioning that publishers legally can’t send ARCs to certain countries due to territorial rights. I suspect that Netgalley changed their options because international readers were requesting books the publishers legally could not send them and it was a waste of time to wade through ineligible requests. The change probably just streamlined things for the publishers. It’s sad that territorial rights keep ARCs restricted to certain counties, but understandable that publishers want to follow the law.

    I’m also not following the original writer’s arguments that 1) NG and GR can’t restrict whom publishers send to and 2) that readers will pirate books if they don’t get free ARCs. First of all, NG and GR are services publishers don’t have to use. It’s like an ice cream company selling in a store. If the store decides not to carry that brand anymore, they’re not illegally limiting the brand’s reach. The company can still sell ice cream elsewhere.

    Secondly, if the argument is that not receiving free books from publishers will cause bloggers to pirate…what is the publisher losing? They weren’t getting money from the blogger in the first place anyway.

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    • Nadwa @ painfullyfictional says:

      No, actually I used to request ARCs from American publishers all the time and my requests almost always got accepted. Now I can’t even request the sequels to the ARCs I reviewed. So I don’t think that’s the issue. Otherwise they would’ve just automatically declined my requests.
      And I completely understand what you’re saying, NetGalley is basically the middleman. That said, I guess they have the right to present and/or withhold whatever titles they want and choose the publishers they want to work with. Now, I don’t know anything about publishing but I don’t think NetGalley has the right to exclude INTL users from requesting titles from certain publishers. That’s the publisher’s job.
      As for the piracy issue, yes, the publisher wasn’t getting any money from the blogger but they were getting reviews of books shared with the world. That’s a work of marketing itself.
      When a publisher sends a blogger an ARC the blogger will feel obliged to review it, since obviously, ARC’s are meant to be reviewed. On the other hand, getting books through piracy isn’t going to make the blogger feel obliged to review the book at all.
      Also, if ARCs of books are pirated – months before a book is supposed to be released – that would cause a massive loss to both the author and the publishing company. So, really, it’s not about ‘the publisher won’t get their money anyway’. It’s the fact that an ARC is available online months before it’s released, which is way worse than a published book being pirated.

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      • Krysta says:

        Distribution rights specify which countries an ARC can to to, so it is possible an international blogger from one country could receive an American ARCs and another international blogger could not. Perhaps NG still has to work out a system where all eligible countries can request, instead of limiting entries to one country at a time? Since this is a new feature I am sure they are listening to feedback from publishers.

        I think bloggers would post reviews of pirated books since they spent time reading them and it is difficult to read enough to keep up a book blog. So the publisher would get marketing either way.

        We can also consider that the ARC is still going to a blogger. International Blogger A didn’t get it, true, but U.S. Blogger B did. The number of ARCs going out has not changed so the number of reviews being published is the same as before.

        If we consider that the international blogger did not receive the ARC because the book is not being sold in their country, then this blogger can not argue that they need the ARC to market it specifically to their country. No one can buy it there anyway so again the publishers are not losing money in that market.

        I would like to see international bloggers receive ARCs when possible, but we need to come up with convincing arguments to demonstrate that the laws should change. Right now the monetary loss argument isn’t convincing to publishers because they aren’t actually losing a noticeable amount of money from international readers.

        I also find the conflation of GR and NG in the original post confusing and misleading. Amazon probably is trying to make money off giveaways here, but NG is not as far as I can tell.

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        • Nadwa @ painfullyfictional says:

          None of the ARCs I review are sold in my country. And I don’t review books assuming that my audience is Lebanese bloggers/followers. I have no Lebanese followers, as far as I know. Countries don’t really matter when it comes to online marketing, as bloggers from all over the world are following each other. Also, what’s the point of hosting giveaways and interviewing authors if what you’re saying is true? I’ve interviewed a US author and a UK one and I’ve been asked to host a giveaway. And they are aware that their books would never reach my country’s market but they also know that my followers are international.
          As for what you said about publishers not losing a noticeable amount of money from INTL readers, I’d like to point out that according to lots of polls, the number of international book bloggers/reviewers surpasses the number of US bloggers which is something that people, and especially publishers, aren’t aware of.

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          • Krysta says:

            Actually, I was trying to make the same point you are–that it doesn’t really matter to publishers whether an international blogger gets an ARC or not because they are not marketing solely to their country since, as you rightly point out, the Internet doesn’t work like that. Anyone can post a review and anyone in the world can theoretically read it. So if all U.S. reviewers get U.S. books to read, it’s irrelevant to marketers because these bloggers are doing the same work an international blogger would do with the same book.

            I’m not trying to defend this or say that international bloggers should not get books. Rather, I’m wondering what conversation we should be having that would be pertinent to publishers. Because right now I’m not convinced that we could make a good (financial) case for sending ARCs to certain bloggers. Even if there are large numbers of international bloggers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re going to stop spending money on U.S. books just because they’re not receiving ARCs from NG or GR. I think someone would have to do a study demonstrating to publishers that there would be a major financial impact on their revenue from this move. But maybe they’ll just use another service instead of NG as we go forward. It all remains to be seen.

            It might help if publishers were aware of these polls. Are they large-scale, who is running them, what demographics are they picking up and why, do the numbers even matter because does it follow that international bloggers are going to stop buying books because of the NG move–these are all questions we’ll need to be able to answer to make a case to NG and publishers.

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