12 best advance reader copy sites for your book promotion

An advance reader copy (ARC) site is a platform where readers can sign up to receive ARCs of upcoming books in exchange for reviews. Independent authors or publishers may use ARCs to create hype and garner early reviews for the upcoming book release. Leveraging advance reader copy sites to gain reviews from readers, including book reviewers, bloggers, book buyers, journalists, celebrities or experts in the book’s subject matter registered with these platforms.

This article provides a comprehensive list of 12 best advance reader copy sites, including their pricing and marketing reach, to help you choose which site suits the needs of your book and budget. So, keep reading to learn which site suits the needs of your book and budget.

BookishFirstHidden Gems
BookSirensIndie View
BooksproutLibraryThing
BookSweepsNetGalley
EdelweissReading Deals
GoodreadsShelf Awareness

What is an advance reader copy?

An ARC (advance reader copy) is a copy of a book that independent authors and publishers give out to create hype and garner early reviews before the book’s official release. You might also hear this copy referred to as an advance reader’s edition, galley or review copy. Typically, publishers and authors send these copies to book reviewers, bloggers, book buyers, journalists, celebrities or experts in the book’s subject matter. ARCs are often part of a book’s pre-launch promotion. To attract readers and reviews and generate publicity, they are distributed to advance copy reader sites.
Additionally, ARCs might still have typos, incomplete illustrations and no dust jacket, and the formatting and binding might still need to be finalised. Furthermore, compared to finished books, ARCs are less expensive to produce as they are not the complete version of the book. For example, if the book is to be published as a hardcover, the ARC will be a paperback. ARCs are usually distributed between three to six months before the official release date.

How do advance reader copies help your book promotion?

Advance reader copies can be valuable for book promotion in several ways:

Generate early buzz: ARCs allow a select group of readers, including reviewers, bloggers and influencers, to read the book before its official release. Positive reviews and buzz generated during this pre-release period can create anticipation and excitement among potential readers.

Reviews and testimonials: Reviews from readers who received ARCs can serve as testimonials for the book. Positive reviews, especially from reputable sources, can influence potential readers and build credibility for the author and the work. They may also be placed on the book’s cover.

Word-of-mouth marketing: ARCs can stimulate word-of-mouth marketing as readers share their thoughts and recommendations with their networks. This organic sharing can reach a broader audience and create a snowball effect regarding book visibility.

Social media presence: Readers who receive ARCs often share their experiences on social media platforms, reaching a wider audience. This can include tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts and other user-generated content contributing to the book’s online presence.

Author engagement: Engaging with readers who have received ARCs can foster a sense of community and loyalty. Authors can interact with these readers through social media or mailing lists, thanking them for their reviews, addressing questions and building a relationship beyond the book release. In this capacity, ARCs often function as reader magnets

Boost sales: The positive attention generated by ARCs can contribute to increased sales when the book is officially released. Potential readers who come across reviews and recommendations may be more inclined to purchase the book. 

Feedback for improvement: ARCs also allow authors and publishers to receive constructive feedback before the official release. This feedback can be valuable for making final edits, addressing potential issues and ensuring the book is in its best possible form before reaching a wider audience.

What are the best advance reader copy sites?

This section features twelve advance reader copy sites — large and small, with free and paid promotion plans. Read on to learn which site suits the needs of your book and budget.

BookishFirst

BookishFirst is a platform where readers can win free advance copies of books in exchange for providing feedback and reviews. BookishFirst holds weekly book raffles where the prize is the ARC. To enter the raffle, the readers must first read an excerpt of the book and write a mini review. They are further encouraged to publish a review of the complete book via the points system.

Bookish First, one of the advance reader copy sites
PricingFree
Guaranteed reviewsYes
Reviewers?
Authors?

Pricing: Free.

Marketing reach: It may be challenging to assess BookishFirst’s actual marketing reach. They do not disclose the number of active reviewers or the number of books reviewed via the platform. The BookishFirst account has 52,000 followers on Facebook and posts the current raffles and other updates daily. Furthermore, one of the threads of their forum is for ARC swaps or giveaways, which can also help spread the word about your book.

BookSirens

BookSirens is a platform that connects authors and publishers with potential reviewers, allowing authors to set up and manage advance reader copy distributions. Furthermore, this advance reader copy site is a vetted platform of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

Pricing$100 per year / $10 per ARC + $2 per reader
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers30,000+
Authors5,000+
BookSiren

Pricing: BookSirens offer two pricing models: per author or per ARC. The per-author option costs $100 and allows the author to promote unlimited ARCs on this site. The second option, per ARC, costs $10 per ARC plus $2 per every reader who downloads the book. Moreover, they offer a free ninety-day trial.

Marketing reach: BookSirens boasts of working with over 5,000 authors and over 30,000 book reviewers and influencers. BookSirens charges per reader (and not per review) and does not guarantee reviews. However, they claim that typically, about 75% of readers download a book on BookSirens post a review.

Booksprout

Booksprout is an advance reader copy site that connects authors with readers willing to review their books. This ARC review platform was started by a self-publishing author Chris Leippi in 2015.

Booksprout, one of the advance reader copy sites
Pricing$90 / $190 / $290 per year
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers65,000+
Authors25,000+

Pricing: Booksprout offers three plans, which differ in the number of active review campaigns and the number of reviews per campaign included (plus access to additional features). The Growing Author plan for $90 per year includes one active review campaign plus twenty-five reviewers per campaign. Next, the Pro Author plan for $190 per year offers three active review campaigns with fifty reviewers per campaign. Finally, the Bestselling Author plan comprises unlimited campaigns and reviewers.

Marketing reach: The stats in support of Booksprout’s reach are impressive. This advance reader copy site has over 65,000 active reviewers, with over 1.3 million reviews on Amazon, Bookbub and Goodreads. In addition, the site features numerous testimonials from authors, reviewers and publishers attesting to the success of the Booksprout ARC reviews. Booksrput does not guarantee reviews but claims that authors can expect about eight reviews for every ten readers.

BookSweeps

BookSweeps regularly organises genre-specific book promotions, for instance, cosy mysteries, historical fiction or contemporary romance, where authors can offer ARCs as part of a larger book bundle, reaching a broader audience.

BookSweeps
Pricing$45 per
promotion
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers?
Authors6,000+

Pricing: To participate in the BookSweeps book promotion, you need to offer two copies of your ARC and pay $45.

Marketing reach: ARC promotion is only one of the author marketing services BookSweeps offers. They specialise in lead generation and increasing author discoverability. The platform does not publicise the number of book reviewers or subscribers registered. However, they claim that joining their ARC promotions offers the authors the chance to increase their Amazon or Bookbub following from zero to 200 followers (or more) in less than two weeks.

Edelweiss

Edelweiss caters predominantly to publishers (but authors can also use it to promote their books). This ARC site allows authors and publishers to distribute advance reader copies so reviewers and industry professionals can access pre-publication copies of books for review and promotional purposes. Moreover, it is one of the best-known and largest ARC sites.

Edelweiss, one of the advance reader copy sites
Pricing$99 per year + $50 per title
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers130,000+
Publishing professionals70,000+

Pricing: Publishers and authors pay $99 annually to activate review copies and a $50 fee per title uploaded. Audiobook review copies are included with this subscription at no additional cost.

Marketing reach: Edelweiss has over 200,000+ book professionals using their platform, including over 130,000 reviewers and 33,000 librarians. Importantly, this ARC platform does not guarantee book reviews.

Goodreads Making Connections

Goodreads Making Connection, one of the advance reader copy sites

Goodreads does not have an ARC promotion program per se. However, Goodreads hosts a group called Making Connections, where authors, bloggers, publishers and reviewers can connect, find followers and ask for help. Making Connections helps authors from various genres request reviews, which they can do by offering ARCs.

PricingFree
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Subscribers (reviewers + authors)14,000+

Pricing: Free.

Marketing reach: Making Connections has over 14,000 members. However, it is not clear how many of them are book reviewers. The group also has a blog publishing interviews with authors, book giveaways and excerpts.

Hidden Gems ARC Program

Hidden Gems Books runs the Hidden Gems ARC Program, which connects authors with avid readers interested in receiving free or discounted books in exchange for Amazon reviews.

Pricingfrom $20 per 10 readers
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers ?
Authors ?
Hidden Gems, one of the advance reader copy sites

Pricing: Hidden Gems Books’ pricing model is based on the number of readers who will read your book (rather than the number of reviewers). The pricing starts from $20 for ten readers and increases with every five additional readers. For instance, the price for fifteen readers is $35, for twenty-five readers — $65, for 50 readers — $140 and so on. Sometimes, Hidden Gems Books may include a few extra readers who are generally new to the platform for free.

Marketing reach: This ARC platform does not guarantee any reviews. Although the Hidden Gems ARC Program claims to have thousands of readers/reviewers interested in all book genres, the platform does not disclose their specific number. Furthermore, Hidden Gems claims an average review rate of 80% — supposedly an extremely high ARC review success rate.

Indie View — Indie Reviewers List

The Indie View offers a service called Indie Reviewers List, which connects indie authors with potential reviewers.

PricingFree
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers187
Authors97

Pricing: Free.

Marketing reach: The Indie Reviewers List includes 197 active book reviewers who do not charge for their reviews and are not affiliated with a publisher. Authors can reach out directly to the reviewers requesting ARC reviews. Moreover, an Indie Author List features authors who have achieved at least one four-star review from one of the reviewers listed on the Indie Reviewers List.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

LibraryThing offers a free Early Reviewers program where authors and publishers can provide advance reader copies in exchange for reviews.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers, one of the advance reader copy sites
PricingFree
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Subscribers (reviewers + authors) 100,000

Pricing: Free.

Marketing reach: LibraryThing Early Reviewers has nearly 100,000 members and over one million recipients of LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter. However, LibraryThing does not specify how many among 100,000 members are active book reviewers (and how many are authors and publishers). Their other potentially promising statistics for book promotion include over 2.9 million platform members and over five million reviews written.

NetGalley

NetGalley is a platform that provides digital galleys (advance reader copies) of books to reviewers, librarians and professionals in the publishing industry for pre-publication reviews. The platform works with over three hundred publishers in North America, the UK, Australia, Germany, France and Japan to promote and market new books.

Net Galley
Pricing$499 per ARC for 6 months
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Reviewers?
Publishing professionals?

Pricing: Explicit information pricing for authors is not easy to find on NetGalley, but you can locate it in the Member Knowledge Base section. Uploading an ARC ebook for review on NetGalley costs $499 (for six months); an ARC audiobook costs $499 (for two months), and an ebook and audiobook bundle costs $750 (for six months). In addition, this advance reader copy site offers a marketing program in partnership with the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). IBPA members can promote their ebook ARC for $499 (for six months). Compared to the NetGalley audiobook promotion pricing, an equivalent promotion costs $208 (over 50% cheaper) via the IBPA program.

Marketing reach: Apparently, thousands of authors and publishers and hundreds of thousands of reviewers use NetGalley. Unfortunately, NetGalley does not provide specific statistics like so many advance reader copy sites.

Reading Deals

Reading Deals is a promotional platform that offers discounted and free (mostly fiction) book promotions. Authors can submit their books for consideration, including ARCs.

Pricing$79 or $129 per ARC
Guaranteed reviewsYes
Reviewers29,000
Authors?

Pricing: Reading Deals has two pricing options. For $79, they offer ten to fifteen Amazon reviews and Twitter promotions, and for $129, you get the same plus other perks, including Facebook promotions.

Marketing reach: Reading Deals claims over 29,000 readers registered with the platform and over 135,000 Twitter followers. However, as of January 2024, their X (Twitter) account is suspended. On Facebook, they have 22,000 followers.

Shelf Awareness

Shelf Awareness is a publishing industry newsletter that sometimes offers ARCs and galley copies to its readers and subscribers. They send galleys out for review consideration but do not guarantee reviews.

Shelf Awareness, one of the advance reader copy sites
PricingFree
Guaranteed reviewsNo
Subscribers 645,000
Publishing professionals37,000

Pricing: Free.

Marketing reach: Shelf Awareness trade professional readers comprise 37,000 booksellers (indie, Barnes & Noble, Amazon), librarians and publishing professionals. Moreover, 645,000 readers and reviewers are registered with the platform. Shelf Awareness claims that a majority of the subscriber base are people who signed up for their local independent bookstore’s mailing list, so they’re very engaged book lovers. Still, we do not know the number of active reviewers. Moreover, Shelf Awareness sends ARCS out for review consideration but does not guarantee reviews.

Which advance reader copy site has the best marketing reach?

It is challenging to definitively determine which advance reader copy site has the absolute best marketing reach, as each platform has its own strengths and focuses on different aspects of book promotion. For instance, NetGalley appears to be a prominent platform with a wide international reach, collaborating with over three hundred publishers across several countries. It is used by thousands of authors and publishers, and while specific statistics are not provided, it mentions hundreds of thousands of reviewers and publishing professionals as part of its user base. NetGalley’s collaboration with publishers from different regions also suggests a broad market presence.

Advance reader copy sites with the highest number of book reviewers.

Among advance reader copy sites that provide statistics influencing their marketing reach, and specifically a number of active reviewers, Edelweiss is the winner with 130,000+ reviewers. Behind Edelweiss, in the top three ranks, Booksprout has 65,000+ reviewers, and BookSirens has 30,000+ reviewers.

However, it is essential to consider your specific needs when choosing an ARC site, as different platforms offer various pricing models, features and levels of reviewer engagement.

Which advance reader copy site is the cheapest?

For an indie author, several factors should be considered when choosing an advance reader copy site. These factors include pricing, marketing reach, reviewer engagement and the platform’s ability to cater to the needs and budget of an independent author.

Free advance reader copy sites make it accessible for indie authors with limited budgets to promote their books. Authors can choose from the ARC programs of LibraryThing Early Reviewers, BookishFirst, Goodreads Making Connections, the Indie Reviewers List and Shelf Awareness.

As for the paid options, Booksprout offers tiered plans, allowing indie authors to choose based on their needs and budget. The substantial number of active reviewers (65,000+ ) indicates potential reach. Hidden Gems ARC Program’s pricing is based on the number of readers, offering flexibility for indie authors. In addition, the platform emphasises a high review success rate.

Ultimately, the best ARC site for an indie author depends on their specific goals, budget constraints, and the level of reach and engagement they seek. It is advisable to carefully review the features, pricing, and user feedback of each platform to make an informed decision that aligns with the author’s promotion strategy.

How do you optimise your ARC for book promotion?

Before uploading your book to one of the advance reader copy sites, it is crucial to ensure that it stands out for all the right reasons. While ARC readers play a valuable role in spotting final typos and mistakes, an editor can be your partner in the heavy lifting, addressing significant, big-picture issues that can elevate your manuscript. Here is how different editing services, such as developmental editing, line editing and indexing, can transform your ARC and set the stage for a successful book promotion.

Developmental editing

Developmental editing is the backbone of a well-structured and engaging narrative. This level of editing delves into the fundamental elements of your manuscript, addressing plot coherence, character development and overall story arc. For your ARC, this means presenting a compelling storyline that captures your readers’ attention from the first page to the last.

Benefits

  • Enhanced story flow: A developmental editor ensures that your ARC flows seamlessly, offering readers a captivating experience.
  • Character depth: Craft well-rounded characters that resonate with your audience, fostering a deeper connection.

Line editing

Line editing focuses on refining the language and style of your manuscript. This step ensures clarity, coherence and authenticity in your writing. For your ARC, it means presenting a polished version of your story that not only communicates effectively but also leaves a lasting impression.

Benefits

  • Elevated prose: Craft sentences that resonate, creating an immersive reading experience for your ARC recipients.
  • Consistent tone: Maintain a consistent tone throughout your manuscript, enhancing the overall reading experience.

Indexing

While often overlooked, indexing plays a crucial role in non-fiction works. For ARCs that involve complex information, a professional indexer ensures that your readers can navigate your content with ease.

Benefits

  • Reader-friendly navigation: Enable readers to find specific information effortlessly, enhancing the usability of your non-fiction ARC.
  • Professional presentation: Demonstrate attention to detail by including a well-organised index, showcasing the professionalism of your work.

In conclusion, professional editing services empower your ARC to shine in the crowded world of advance reader copies. By investing in developmental editing, line editing and, when applicable, indexing, you not only refine your manuscript but also increase the likelihood of garnering positive reviews and creating a buzz that propels your book to success. Remember, the first impression of your ARC can leave an indelible mark — make it a masterpiece with professional editing.

Final thoughts

In sum, advance reader copies can play a significant role in promoting your upcoming book release. They can generate early buzz, foster word-of-mouth marketing, boost sales and provide constructive feedback for improvement. However, to make the most of your ARCs, it is essential to ensure they are high-quality and free of substantial errors. That is where editing services come in. Professional editors can help you polish your manuscript and ensure your ARCs are ready for promotional activities. So, if you are an independent author or publisher, consider investing in editing services to prepare your ARCs and give your book the best chance of success.

I am an experienced editor, working with non-fiction, academic and business books. If you need a second pair of eyes preparing your manuscript for book launch, contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount).

Good luck with your book promotion!

Photo of author

Magda

I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).