Sunday, November 28

Advanced Copies of Sally Rooney’s Unpublished Book Sold for Hundreds of Dollars | Books

When advanced reading (ARC) copies of Sally Rooney’s new novel Beautiful World, Where Are You were submitted in May, there were a slew of posts on social media. A lucky selection of editors, writers, and influencers flaunted their copies; others regretted that they had not been granted one. Soon, proof copy listings (which are clearly marked “not for resale”) began to appear on commercial sites like eBay and Depop. A copy, posted on eBay by a North Carolina seller, sold in June for $ 209.16. Even the duffel bag that Rooney’s advertisers had been shipping with the ARC copies was fetching prices in the region of $ 80. And this growing market for unpublished novels isn’t just a product of Rooney-mania: Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads., to be published in October, Sold earlier this month on eBay for $ 124.

Advanced copies of popular and classic novels have long been collectibles. A rare proof copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling, for example, or the classics of authors like Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck can sell for up to £ 30,000. But this high ARC demand for books that have yet to be published has only emerged recently, driven in part by the rise of bloggers and book influencers.

“Part of the purpose of testing is to make people feel like they’re in an exclusive club,” said Adam Howard, who works for Scribe Publications. “But it happened with the Sally Rooney on a scale we’ve never seen before.”

the dust jacket image from Beautiful World, Where Are You
Beautiful World, Where Are You is due out in September. Photograph: Farrar, Straus and Giroux / AP

Post with hashtags like #Galleybrag, Instagram influencers show the advanced copies of novels to which they were granted access. Among them, Rooney’s upcoming Beautiful World, Where Are You It is by far the most precious. Given the social currency that a selfie with an advanced copy of the novel can carry, Howard is not surprised that people are willing to pay large sums to get it.

“When a book appears on social media months before its official release, other bloggers and readers go crazy for it,” said Dan Bassett, a Bristol bookseller and blogger who is regularly sent galley copies of upcoming titles. “This has led to people selling them through the markets, and others asking people like me if I would sell them to them.”

However, the sale of ARC is a legal gray area. Advance copies are clearly marked not for sale and the publishers remain their legal owners. This means that, technically, a publisher could withdraw an ARC at any time, but this is largely unheard of. And since large release trials have recently become such a hot commodity, publishers have traditionally not had to keep an eye on ARC sales strictly and have generally been willing to turn a blind eye to a small amount. of tests sold in charity shops.

However, Amazon controls this practice. The online retailer only allows the sale of advance copies of books that are out of print, and booksellers have been known to lose their accounts on the site for not following this rule. E-commerce giant eBay, on the other hand, is much more lax. In fact, a US-based eBay seller sold multiple copies of Rooney’s novel, where the practice of selling proofs for profit appears to be more common than in the UK.

Increasing demand for advance copies of books has forced publishers to change their thinking about ARCs. “Our focus should be: How can we make our books as visible as possible in this new media landscape,” Howard said. “At Scribe, we no longer produce generic tests; Each one is specially designed to be eye-catching, eye-catching, and shareable, and we invest our limited budgets to ensure that people on social media have a good reason to share a book. with his followers. “

Both Sally Rooney editor Faber & Faber and Jonathan Franzen editor 4th Estate declined to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *