Thursday, October 28, 2004

To Buy or Not to Buy

I've been coming across a lot of Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) in my search for books lately and I'm wondering if these are worth it.

Of course, the one ARC I've happily gotten before was Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Prior to that, I've found an old ARC of John Crowley's Love and Sleep in a second-hand book shop but unfortunately, I later found out that this was a sequel to an earlier work.

Of course, I do know the ethical dubiousness of buying ARCs, even second-hand ones. After all, you can't escape seeing the NOT FOR RESALE words emblazoned on their covers. (This is an especially controversial sticking point for eBay.)

And yes, I do know there are questions about buying second-hand but I won't get into that here.

(And just in case you're wondering, I got the Clarke book for free. What, me defensive? Uh-huh. No, seriously.)

In addition, there also seem to be different kinds of ARCs: one I've seen around is the ARC uncorrected proof version. Are these still worth getting? Are there usually changes big enough in the final copy that would make the ARC worthless? (As an example, look at what Gabriel Garcia Marquez did to foil some literary pirates.)

I ask this question because I've seen a cheap ARC copy (yes, the uncorrected proof version) of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America and as you well know, curious cats just wanna ask impertinent questions.

Any takers?

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