“How can that be?” I hear you ask. “If the book’s only just been published, how can someone have already read it?”
Up to six months before a book is published, publishers often send reviewers and bookstores what are known as Advance Reading Copies, or ARCs. These are essentially early versions of the final bound book; they may have a paper version of the proposed hardcover dust jacket but may also consist of uncorrected page proofs which may undergo further editing before the final printing.
ARCs give reviewers chance to read and review new books before they hit bookstores, thereby building a buzz at publication time. They also give bookstores the opportunity to evaluate forthcoming releases and order appropriately.
ARCs are not for sale, and any reviewer quoting excerpts is warned that all quotes must be checked against the bound book. However, among book collectors, ARCs or preferably signed ARCs, can command high prices (see Jessica Mulley’s article on collecting ARCs). As textual changes can be made by an author right up to the final printing date, there may be significant changes to a book between the ARC and the final bound book. ARCs can, therefore, contain an earlier version of an author’s work, a variation on the final version, and as such are eminently collectible.
I received an ARC in the mail last week and decided I wanted to write about it, but I knew I would also need to explain how I got a copy when the book doesn’t come out until December 18, 2007.
The book in question is the new novel from Watkinsville author Julie Cannon (pictured above). You may be familiar with Julie’s previous novels, Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes, ‘Mater Biscuit, and Those Pearly Gates. She’s been on Cover to Cover twice in the past, May 2002 (Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes) and July 2004 (‘Mater Biscuit).
Julie’s new book is The Romance Readers’ Book Club and will be published by Plume in December. The ARC jacket describes it as “a Southern tale of a teenage girl who opens a Pandora’s box of passion and guilt when she receives a cache of old paperback romances.”
"Bored with the sheltered life on the family farm in Rigby, Georgia, fifteen-year-old Tammi Lynn Elco senses things can change when she acquires a stack of forbidden romance novels. Eluding the watchful eye of her Granny Elco, Tammi forms a secret book club with two girlfriends and her eccentric Aunt Minna, reading about weak-in-the-knees passion and sharing their own stories of love and heartache.The Romance Readers’ Book Club is about growing up and feeling the first stirrings of romance, but it’s also about the power that books have to shape our lives.
When Rigby is seized in an economically damaging drought, local preachers are quick to proclaim sin as the reason for the devastation, forcing Tammi and her fellow book club members to come to terms with the emotions they’re feeling and the strict expectations of the community surrounding them."
At the heart of all of Julie Cannon’s books there are important issues; in Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes and ‘Mater Biscuit it was coming to terms with the loss of a beloved spouse and learning to love again. Now, in this latest book, the issue is how the written word can impact even the youngest lives.
I’m sure you’ll hear more about The Romance Readers’ Book Club and Julie Cannon in December and January. This entry is the blog equivalent of an ARC: something to whet your appetite and give you a sense of what’s coming up later this year from one of Georgia’s best contemporary romance writers.
To find out more about Julie, visit her website.
Best wishes, Julie!
[If you have comments or questions about the blog entry, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.]