Requesting ARCs on NetGalley: the Good and the Bad

Hello bookish friends! It’s spring here in Chicago and the weather is slowing getting warmer! I’m starting to get back into my groove for reading and I’m 100% sure it’s because the warm weather puts me in such a better mood. As a (somewhat smaller) book blogger, NetGalley is the easiest option for me to get access to ARCs, but it’s not without faults. I wanted to discuss some of my favorite things about the website, and some of the things that make me want to pull my hair out!


THE GOOD

EASY TO NAVIGATE
NetGalley’s website is extremely user friendly and very easy to navigate. Whether it’s a specific title or publisher, or I just want to browse ARCs available for request in different genres, everything is so well organized and I can always find what I’m looking for.

SIMPLE REQUEST PROCESS
The fact that it’s so simple to request a title is both amazing and the bane of my TBR. NetGalley’s process for request an ARC could not be easier: it’s all a matter of simply clicking the ‘request’ button and waiting.

HIGH CHANCE OF BEING APPROVED
For book bloggers and other book reviewers, NetGalley is the best chance at getting approved for ARCs, especially for those newer to the bookish community. While you may not get approved for highly sought after titles right away, once you start writing reviews and increasing your feedback percentage, the chances of getting approved for more titles only increases. I’ve always had much better odds with NetGalley compared to other review request sites (such as Edelweiss), especially as someone who is a smaller(ish) book blogger.

FAVORITE PUBLISHERS
I absolutely love that it’s so easy to search available titles by publishers and that you can favorite publishers. There are a few imprints whose books I always tend to really enjoy, so it’s really convenient to be able to search through their ARCs and find something to pique my interest.

CONVENIENCE OF THE APP
NetGalley Shelf is new, but I really like it. For me personally, it’s great to be able to access my approved books from anywhere at anytime. The structure of the reading app is really user friendly as well and easy to utilize. My only complaint is that the app isn’t available for Kindle.


THE BAD

NO WAY TO “UNREQUEST” BOOKS
One of my biggest peeves about NetGalley is that once you request a title, there’s no way to delete that request later on. There have been a few times where after requesting a title, I later lost interested in reading that book but have no way have cancelling my request. I also absolutely hate that even months after a book is published, titles that I have requested that were neither approved or denied just hang out in limbo under my pending requests.

UNABLE TO DELETE OLD TITLES
Anyone who has ever used NetGalley has been: getting trigger happy with clicking “request” and then getting approved for way more titles than you have time to read. Sometimes, ARCs just don’t end up getting read. But I hate that they still sit under your approvals and count against your 80% rate. I have titles that have been sitting there for years. Like, clearly I am going to be reading this. There should definitely be a way to delete these, or at the very least the publishers should be taking down older titles so they no longer show.

80% FEEDBACK RATIO
This is the bane of all NetGalley users, especially new users. The best and easiest way to get approved for titles is to have a 80% feedback ratio, but the only way to get that ratio is to be approved for books and review them, but publishers are reluctant to approve reviewers without 80%, but you can’t build that ratio without getting approved in the first place…….and on and on and on. It’s vicious and completely unnecessary circle.

REQUESTS GRANTED SHORTLY BEFORE RELEASE DATE
There have been so many times when I’ve requested titles I was interested in reviewing months and months before their release date, but I don’t end up getting approved until a few days before it’s set to be published. I, like many other readers, have a long TBR and not nearly enough time on this earth to read everything. If I get approved for an ARC the week of or a few days before the book’s publication date I honestly just will not have time to read it. And then that title will sit in my approvals for forever, because like I said before there’s no way to get rid of older titles without reviewing them.


Do you use NetGalley? What do you like about the site? Is there anything you would change? Let me know below in the comments!

12 thoughts

  1. Great post! One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is approvals coming like right before a book releases, especially when I approved it weeks or months prior. As if I am going to drop everything for you? I still haven’t read the sequel to Traitor Baru because the publisher decided to approve my months-old request like a week AFTER the book was released.

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  2. I love NetGalley! So much so that I actually had to take a break from it because I was requesting too many books than I could actually read. It would be great if they allowed you to delete old titles; completely agree!

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  3. I used to love Netgalley and then they made most of their titles to “wish for it” for most of international users 😢 It was super disappointing, because as you said the website is easy to navigate and use. Nowadays I still use Netgalley but I don’t get approved much (which is expected due to the aforementioned change) so I’m mostly on Edelweiss.

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  4. Netgalley really has to go and make an unrequest button indeed! I agree with many things you’ve said in this post but personally I quite like the ratio because it stops people from over requesting books, which reduces a lot of pressure! Something I would love though is a site where you can request physical books. I feel like that’d be easier for publishers, too!

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  5. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I do love Netgalley but I wish that we could unrequest books! We all get a bit click happy sometimes and if you change your mind and then get approved it is so annoying that you can’t get rid of them!

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  6. I so agree with all of this! I’ve been using NetGalley for a couple of years now. And somehow it’s always the same: I request a few books and either I get approved for every single one or none at all, there is no inbetween. And I’d like to add to your point of the books just hanging there, neither apporved nor denied: hanging there until like 2 days before release, you’ve already forgotten you requested in and suddenly get approved.

    I haven’t opened NetGalley now for a while except to give feedback because while I love reading new releases, I also would like to read the books sitting on my own shelves as well and I hate the pressure reading some arcs is putting on me.

    So yeah, I kind of have a love-hate-relationship with NetGalley, but I’m glad it’s there because it is super accessible, for international readers as well!

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  7. NetGalley was such a great way to get started with ARCs for all the reasons you mention! 😊 Here are a few tips that might make it less frustrating for you, too.

    – you can mark a book as one you won’t give feedback for and it moves it off your approved list and into a separate section in the “not active” tab. You can still leave feedback for them later if you do end up reading it, but it’ll get it out of your main view! https://netgalley.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360003418494-Will-Not-Give-Feedback

    – if you’re not at that 20 approvals / 80% ratio yet, definitely look at the read now section! There are a ton of great books and you don’t have to wait to be approved. This is super helpful for building up at the beginning. Sometimes really popular books are marked read now for a short time as a promotion so keep an eye out for emails & tweets!

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  8. I’m fairly new to NetGalley and so far I don’t have many complains, I’m just slowly trying to build up my shelf to get more approvals. But I’ll make sure to keep all those negatives in mind and try to avoid them to the best of my ability!

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  9. I’ve only recently started blogging again (took a way too long break over the last year), so NetGalley had been on my radar, but I only just started my account on there. And I’ve definitely already been guilty of being slightly trigger happy with the ‘request’ button.

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