The pros and cons of NetGalley

NetGalley is a website where reviewers can request advance copies of books. I have been a member for about two years. I’m no expert on NetGalley but I have enough experience to sum up the advantages and disadvantages of this resource.

Pros:

  • Access to new and upcoming titles for free, which allows you to read the latest work from some of your favourite authors, genres and publishers, as well as to discover new ones.
  • In my experience, most requests are likely to be approved by the publishers. After all, the more reviews they get, the better.
  • You can see what other reviewers thought of a book, which can help you decide whether to request it, and of course the reviews you write will help others decide in turn.
  • For every milestone, you get NetGalley ‘badges’ which you can display on your blog by copying and pasting the image code they give you.
  • There are lots of publishers on there. Many of them regularly update their titles, so if you check back every month or so, there will be something new and interesting.
  • Once a publisher has approved your request, it’s easy to download the title from your ‘shelf’ on your NetGalley profile. I find that it sometimes takes a few minutes to appear in my Kindle library.

Cons:

  • Many of the advance copies are uncorrected proofs. This means they can have a weird format, typos and missing text. It can make for an annoying reading experience.
  • If a publisher rejects your request, there is no reason given and it’s hard not to take it personally. I have only had three requests rejected so far.
  • There is nothing to stop you going on a request frenzy and ending up with too many books to review, all with publication dates close together.
  • You have to give a star rating when submitting a review. I don’t do star ratings on my blog as I find them problematic.
  • Some titles are there for you to browse but when you attempt to request them, you are told that they are not available in your country.
  • I seem to remember that it was a little confusing and time-consuming to join NetGalley and set up a profile. It was worthwhile, however.

 

Here are some of the best books I’ve read via NetGalley:

In Miniature by Simon Garfield

Critical by Matt Morgan

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

 

Some I had mixed feelings about:

Sweet Dreams by Dylan Jones

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman

 

And here are the only ones I thoroughly disliked:

The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

 

In summary, NetGalley is a very good source of new books for reviewers but self-restraint is required to avoid requesting more books than you can manage.

23 thoughts on “The pros and cons of NetGalley”

    1. I used to have a rule of ‘only 1 ARC at a time’ on my shelf so I wouldn’t feel pressured, but lately I’ve had as many as 5! But they all have publication dates at least 2 months in the future.

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience about NetGalley!
    On the pros list I would add that it is very easy to request a book – just click on a button, no need to explain why you want to read the book.
    Happy reading and happy holidays!

    1. You’re welcome πŸ™‚ Yes, it’s easy to request. If I had to explain why I wanted to read it, that would put me off! Thanks, best wishes.

  2. Great points! I definitely agree with the part about requesting too many books at once. I went through a period of getting declined so I requested several in hopes of getting one, then ended up with four approvals in one go. I also agree that publishers could at least select from a drop-down list of reasons they declined, in case it’s something you could adjust and help you get approved next time.

    1. Thanks! It’s easy to get carried away with requesting. Some publishers take ages to approve while others seem to straight away! I think it would help to know why publishers decline – it might be as simple as ‘we had too many requests already’ but it would still be useful.

  3. I have a complaint: the Adobe ascm or whatever it is for digitally protected PDFs is terrible. Adobe has slipped between messy cracks for years and gets away with it speedily, somehow. I’m reading a graphic novel from NetGalley now and the images are pixelated, can you believe it? How does that pass a quality control inspection from Zenescope? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s important! 🀠

    1. The best thing is to choose the ‘I won’t be giving feedback’ option and tell the publisher about the quality issues (which I did recently for a book which looked lovely but the format really didn’t work for that type of book). Sounds like no one even checked that your graphic novel was readable before they made the file available.

  4. Very balanced post! Thanks for also bringing attention to some of the cons as I feel like most people love Netgalley and only focus on the pros. Personally I have had a mixed experience with publishers as I feel like many of my requests have been rejected because I’m located outside of US / UK which is where most readers are based and some publishers even confirm on their page that they will only approve those requests which I think is unfair. The books I have read through Netgalley have been mainly good though.

    1. Thanks! I don’t love NetGalley, I could survive without it, but I like to have some new books on my blog. Since I rarely buy new books, I’m limited to the library and NetGalley. I’m sorry that you’re not able to access some of the books – it’s probably an issue with licensing, rather than the publishers causing a problem.

    1. I’m glad to hear you’re behaving yourself πŸ˜‰ Yes, it’s a buzz whenever a request is approved! I now have 3 on my NetGalley shelf to read, all of which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

  5. The more I get approvals from Edelweiss, the more I prefer it to NetGalley. I think what I like the best about Edelweiss is that I can put my review up early – as soon as I write it – and then can forget about it. I always feel obliged to wait with NetGalley so I can put links up to all the places I promote my review, after it is published on my blog. I know – a bit OCD but still…

    1. I’ve heard that Edelweiss is more difficult to use. I don’t feel that I’d need 2 sources of arcs though. I put my reviews on NetGalley as soon as I write them – while I schedule them on my blog for future dates. Thanks for reading.

      1. Well, I find it okay to use. But you see, because of where I live, most of the books I want aren’t available to me on NetGalley – they only let me “wish” for them, and the wishes never come true!

  6. Great post! I set up a Netgalley account this year but rarely use it. This is really helpful though in case I dip into it more in the future.

    1. Thanks! I only get a small number of books through NetGalley, so I don’t use it as much as I could. It’s good that you have an account anyway, it might be useful πŸ™‚

  7. I went through a phase where I definitely over requested, and I found that the stress to read and review everything took all the enjoyment out of it, so I now have a rule where I will only request two books at any one time, and I’ll wait for approval/rejection before requesting any others. It seems to be working.

    I agree with your points, this is a great list for those starting out on NetGalley, or those that don’t use it often. I particularly agree with you on the point regarding errors in the texts, I’ve spotted that quite a few times and as I’m a stickler for mistakes I find it so annoying!

    1. That sounds like a good rule! I agree that the more ARCS you get, the more stressful it seems because you feel obliged to read and review it all before the publication date. Yes the errors can really impact on enjoying the book, but I try to remember that it’s an uncorrected version and to see past the errors. Thanks for reading πŸ˜€

  8. My dear friend….I warned you about The Doll Factory! I knew how much you loved animals and I didn’t think you’d enjoy that one bit because of the animal cruelty πŸ™ Anw, I love this post! And I agree with all your points!

    1. Jee, I read The Doll Factory before you did and so unfortunately I was unable to benefit from your warning πŸ™ And there were no hints on NetGalley either when I requested it. Thanks, I think the points in this post are probably common to everyone who uses NetGalley.

Leave a Reply