That’s it. I’ve reached my limit. No more!

I hereby declare my freedom to read like a leaf on the wind… (excuse my mélange de metaphors). Watch how I soar!


Way back when — on January 1st, to be precise — I made all sorts of promises and resolutions. And, well… I suck at resolutions.

I swore that I’d cut back on ARCs and concentrate more on reading the books I already own, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t do an awful job. I did cut back. I paid attention to release dates. I made myself a handy-dandy Excel worksheet so I could track my ARCs. I tried to make sure I didn’t have more than 2 or 3 per month for the first half of 2016, and I did my best to read them all as their publication dates rolled around. And for the most part, I actually did pretty great! Yay me!



buffy but

I’m still frustrated. I’m down to my last 10 ARCs (ignoring the unread ARCs from previous years), and I feel duty-bound to read them — but damn it all, I have so much else I want to be reading.

My books are piling up, and I’m feeling weighted down. And my overall feeling is:


I don’t want to read according to a schedule. I don’t want to read what’s next on my calendar. I don’t want to read because I said I would.

I want to read what I want, when I want.

This isn’t anything earth-shattering, and I know I’m not alone. We all get frustrated. It’s the same old, same old story:

so many

I’ll repeat myself:

I’ve had it. I’m done. I need my space.

So yes, I’m going to finish the 10 ARCs still sitting here waiting to be read. After all, they’re all books that I wanted to read — I made sure to only request ARCs for books I’d read anyway, whether in ARC format, fresh from the library, or even requiring actual money to change hands.

But once I’m done, I’m done. I’m not requesting any more ARCs this year. Which feels like a huge step to take, but I mean it. If I want to read a new release that badly, I can get it from the library or bookstore. And once it’s in my hands, I’ll know if I really want to read it at that very minute.

I’m just sick of delaying the books that strike my fancy because there’s an obligation book staring me in the face. So no more!

I’m getting off the ARC train.


Starting now.

10 thoughts on “DisembARCing

  1. Ohhhh man. I so need to do this. I also promised myself to cut back and I did a good job at first but that’s fallen by the wayside for sure. I have a total of 20, which isn’t TERRIBLE, because it does include prior years… but just like you, there are so many I’d rather be reading instead. But good for you. I hope your non-arc-ness could rub off on me. 😉

    • Ha, good luck! I just reached my boiling point this week, especially as there are some preorder books arriving and I can’t even get to them because of my ARC schedule!

  2. Good for you! ARCs can be both a blessing and a curse for book bloggers I think. I remember being amazed that publishers send “free books” to bloggers, even small time bloggers like myself. But it quickly turned from fun to overwhelming for me. And no matter how many more seasoned bloggers write about how ARCs are not obligations, I just couldn’t help feeling guilty when I got around to reviewing so few of what I received. It took unsubscribing from Shelf Awareness so that I cut myself off from their contests/request forms to really be serious about it. Even cutting back, it was way too easy to see something interesting in that newsletter and be like, “well, I REALLY WILL READ THAT ONE IN TIME if I get it,” but alas, I do not do well on a reading schedule. no matter how good my intentions are. And eventually I even quit my habit of checking GoodReads too — even though I felt less obligated about those, I couldn’t help feeling like the books could be put to better use if someone else got them. And when it takes me til after the pub date to read them anyway, I might as well just buy the finished copy or borrow it from the library!

    • Exactly! It was exciting at first, but you’re absolutely right — if I’m not reading them early anyway, then why not wait until publication and read them when I feel like it, if I feel like it?

  3. I know exactly what you’re saying. I much prefer to read what I choose, not something I’ve committed to reading. I will say, however, that I have often been blown away by the ARCs. I think it’s a balance we all have to figure out. Great post.

    • Thank you! It is really difficult to find the balance, and no matter how great the ARCs end up being, when I start feeling this annoyed by keeping to a schedule, I know it’s time for a change.

  4. I started feeling overwhelmed almost as quickly as I signed up. I’ve only been approved for 10… downloaded one ‘read now’… and have either 3 or 4 pending. No denied requests yet. I’ve been very conservative with my requests, but I still started feeling like it was too much because I was ONLY reading ARCs, and none of my own books that I looked forward to reading, and I felt my reviews suffered because I struggled with what to say when I was constantly thinking about my next scheduled read, and the books I wanted to be reading instead.

    I decided to stop looking, and stop requesting. I did make an exception for the ‘read now’ title I downloaded, but it was fine because I really wanted to read it and got through it very quickly. I’m not allowing myself to request or download anything else until I get my 80% badge, and even then, I’m going to try to be mindful of allowing myself time to read books I’ve already got. Reading on a schedule all the time kind of sucks the joy out of reading.

    • Right, and that nagging sense makes me not enjoy them even if they’re otherwise good books! I’m really trying to get out of the obligation loop completely.

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