Another post-ALA note. My friend Laura was surprised I didn't mention our whirl around the exhibits Friday night. Cathy Nelson writes about learning about the seats at the back of the Newbery Caldecott banquet... Laura taught me that Friday night is the definitive time to visit the exhibits, in terms of ARC aquisition.
I probably didn't mention it because I feel quite ambivalently about ARCs, the advance reader copies that publishers use to promote upcoming titles and distribute to review outlets. Thanks to the work of Liz Burns, I know they are more expensive to produce than trade editions. I first started running across them as a book review writer for the newspaper, in another era. But I do think they are an important tool for librarians as well as reviewers. I do think we need to know about the new books to help generate buzz. But I am NOT about getting ARCS of every title, especially when I can tell at a glance I would never read them. It's hard to plan what you get at the exhibits, and while I scored The Duff by Kody Keplinger, I left without Matched, the Ally Condie dystopian, and Forget-Her-Nots, on the language of flowers by the delightful Amy Brencount White. I have found ARCs seem most abundant for sophmore efforts.
But it seems like there are some better options to carrying these weird, unsellable, uncollectable volumes across the country evolving. I think NetGalley is the most brilliant concept ever. Even though I have to read them as .pdfs on my Kindle, it's still well work the dollar or two to convert a book for your own hardware. It was through NetGalley I found Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan, my favorite YA read of the year. But with eGalleys, I won't have a parent chase me down a year later to tell me how terrific her daughter thought it was that I brought her the Pendragon prequel, "a book that wasn't even published yet." And that will be a parent who will always support the libraries.