Why I’ll Never DNF an (e-)ARC

Today I want to talk about a controversial topic: DNF’ing an (e-)ARC. If you don’t know, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. Basically, you start a book and you don’t finish it because you really don’t like it and you don’t see the point of reading on. An (e-)ARC is an (Electronic) Advanced Reading Copy, either in physical or digital form.

Why is it controversial? Because (e-)ARC’s are books you receive from the publisher for free, ahead of publication, and in exchange for your honest opinion. Publishers have a limited amount of ARC’s they give out to bloggers, influencers, people in the industry, etc. which means they can’t give them to just about anyone. It also costs them money because they’re not getting money in return.

This is exactly the reason why I’ll never DNF an ARC, no matter how bad I think it is. The publisher gave me a wonderful opportunity to read a book in advance (which, let’s face it, is every book worm’s dream) and I’d feel too guilty and bad for the publisher to tell them I DNF’d. [Note: this doesn’t mean I’m scared of giving the book a bad review. I have no problem with giving a low rating because that’s exactly why they gave you a copy.]

The second reason is that I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to reading books. There’s a part of me that believes EVERY book has something good. I might hate the plot and the main characters, but that one minor character is lovely. I might hate the author’s writing style, but I do like the themes she / he tried to explore. There’s always something. And if I DNF, I tell myself I might be missing out on that one good thing.

Now, this doesn’t mean I judge someone who DNF’s an ARC. Not at all, actually. This is all just my personal opinion. Also, I’m just starting out with (e-)ARCs so it’s hard to compare myself with bloggers who get a lot of them. I mean, I can understand that the decision to DNF is a lot easier to make when you’ve got dozens of books to read and have deadlines for all of them.

Having said that, there’s one thing I think is wrong and that’s asking for a bunch of ARCs you know you either can’t read in time or you know aren’t for you. I think you should always respect the publishers and authors involved, recognise the amazing opportunity you’re given, and only ask for ARCs you genuinely interest you and you’ll be able to finish in time.

What do you think? Would you / have you ever DNF’d an (e-) ARC? For what reason? Let me know in the comments!

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34 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never DNF an (e-)ARC

  1. I hadn’t DNF’d a book in ages but I did last week. Luckily it wasn’t an ARC because I would’ve felt guilty if it was. It was a book the author had gifted me on Amazon but I just didn’t like it. His writing style was completely not my thing – too blunt, straightforward, short and non-descriptive all the way – even though the story itself seemed interesting enough. I wanted to read it, finish it but I gave up after getting annoyed by it and falling asleep while reading like.. three times..
    [Thank God the author himself told me that he’d received similar responses so my guilt kind of decreased. A bit.]

    But like you said, if it’s about ARC’s, only request the books that you really want to read. If you don’t, you might take away someone else’s chance of reading that one book they desperately wanted to read but now couldn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to see the author was understanding. Sometimes authors can get really defensive (their book is like their baby after all) so it’s good that he / she took the criticism as well as they did.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am the queen of DNFing books! I realised a long time ago that if I’m dreading picking up a book because it’s not working for me, it just turns me off from reading and is a waste of my time. I usually give a book about 100 pages before making a judgement unless I’ve had forewarning that the plot takes awhile to pick up. This is just the system that works for me.

    That being said, I’ll always give ARC’s more of a chance for the exact reason that a publisher has given the copy for free. If I do DNF one — and I have done so several times — I’ll always write a review and try to outline exactly what put me off and why a reader with different tastes should try it. I want to be fair to everyone, including myself who has a towering stack of ARC’s to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you have a good system and I really like the fact that you say why it didn’t work for you but might work for someone else. I think it’s always important to remember that books can be very subjective. What you hate, someone else might love and it’s good to point that out if you decide to DNF.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! I get really frustrated when I see a review that says something like ‘there’s swearing in this book, 1 star’. It just doesn’t seem fair. I always try to remember that people have different tastes from me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, definitely! If I don’t like a book and I give it a low rating, I always try to point out what did and didn’t + why. I also try to think of people who would enjoy the book because, like you said, different people have different tastes.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally respect and admire your commitment. I have not DNFed many ARCs (I think 2 in all the years), but I am not sent unsolicited ARCs, I request mine through NG & EW. Therefore, they are usually more to my taste. I do take my reviewing more seriously, because I do feel it is a privilege to gain access to an ARC. I will always ascribe to the philosophy of too many books, too little time, and that means I cannot spend time reading a book I am not enjoying or which I find offensive (which was why I DNFed one of them).

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I share similar views. Since I’ve just started with ARCS, I’m not getting approved for that many. The ones I DO get approved for are the ones I really really want to read. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always a good read. Sometimes books disappoint, but I try to finish them anyway. It’s interesting that you say one of your DNF ARC’s was offensive. I hadn’t thought about that yet but I think that’s one of the exceptions where I’d DNF.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I try so hard not to DNF arc’s but there’s one in particular at the moment that I just can’t get on with. I actually stopped reading altogether for three weeks because I’d rather not read anything than read that arc – which is terrible! It’s a book I think I’d usually love but it’s not grabbing me and there are some horrible formatting issues that make it so difficult to read! I’m trying to give myself a break at the moment and read other things and come back to it when I feel more in the mood. Hoping to finish it eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like how you’re trying to push through even though it’s not a book you’re particularly enjoying. Many people would say that’s a waste of time, but I don’t necessarily agree. I think if you get to reviewing it, you could point out the issues you had with it and maybe that way, the author / publisher can learn from their mistakes.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m in two minds about this, because on one hand I agree with you – publishers have a very limited amount of arcs to give out and the whole basis on arc reviewing is just that: getting a review – but at the same time, I think you should be honest and tell the publisher if you couldn’t finish the book and why. At the end of the day, it’s valuable feedback. However, I do tend to give arcs a longer chance of drawing me in before dnf-ing – I always try to reach at least 50% of an arc before I would dnf. However, I do agree with you that its wrong of reviewers to ask for a whole bunch of arcs when they know they won’t have time/aren’t interested. These days, with Goodreads, books become so hyped months before they’re published and I feel like a lot of reviewers request arcs because they want to get into the hype, not necessarily because they are actually interested in the novel. It’s a shame because then that takes a spot from someone who actually wanted to read the book.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree 100%. I also feel like ARCs have become a hype. Everyone wants one and sometimes that means a lot of people are requesting books they’re not actually interested in. That’s definitely a shame.

      I also like how you say you read at least 50%. I’ve heard of people who DNF after twenty pages or so. I feel like you should give ARCs more of a chance. If you still decide to DNF at 50% at least you can give some valuable feedback why it didn’t work for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t gotten to the point of ARCs yet (but I’m hoping to soon!) but I don’t think I’d DNF it for the same reasons as you! Also, sometimes endings can REALLY surprise you and if the ending might turn my opinion of this book around, I want to read it. And then there’s always the question of DNF reviews haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! Sometimes an ending can turn a mediocre book into a great one and if you’d DNF’d it, you would’ve never known.

      And, yes! I’m already struggling with regular reviews, let alone DNF reviews πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such an interesting discussion, Lauren! I have never DNF’ed an ARC, for the exact same reasons as you. I was given an opportunity and I don’t want to blow it by giving up too soon and maybe missing out on something that could turn out great. Also, I’d feel guilty if I did that ahah and…well, even if it’s not ARCs, I rarely ever DNF books anyway πŸ™‚
    Lovely post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with you 100%. The publisher is spending the money to ship me a physical copy of a book and then the cost of the book itself. I do feel guilty when I don’t like it though, but I have to stay true to me and voice my opinion. I’m so glad I’m not alone!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Lauren! I love this discussion! I totally agree about NOT dnfing e-arcs especially… and then I went ahead and did exactly that a couple weeks ago. I still wrote a review and posted it to my blog. In fact I gave it a 4 star rating, lol. (It was a really special case of its me not the book…) It wasn’t my thing and normally I am so careful about not requesting books I can sense I won’t like… why waste an ARC on me when I’m not going to do the book justice… but the subject was DRAGONS and it went to my head and before I could stop myself I had requested it. Goes to show sometimes you break your own rules ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, a book that just “isnt your thing” but is still a good book is a perfect example. There’s no shame in DNF’ing these if you kindly explain the situation in your review and recommend it to people you know will like it. That way you’ve still helped the publisher & author πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have DNF’d e-arcs many times. Honestly, I feel like I don’t DNF things when I read a physical copy as much as when I read an e-copy, because e-copies sometimes are just hard for me to read.

    I have usually DNf’d an e-arc when it’s too boring or too complicated or just downright hard to read.

    But congrats to you for not DNFing books! Me, I’m too lazy and picky about my books XD

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It took me a long time to be comfortable with the idea of DNFing any book. I’ve worked really hard on getting used to the idea and that includes ARCs.

    I’ve DNF’d ARCs. It’s not a choice I take lightly because I recognize everything that you mentioned above. But if I’m not enjoying a book (it’s boring, I have a hard time following what is happening, etc), I will DNF it. I don’t want to force myself to finish something I won’t enjoy because that is what reading is all about for me.

    I still write a constructive review though–I mean they gave me the book for that purpose. And I try to be fair, say what I liked and didn’t and who I think would enjoy this book. And through this experience, I’ve learned to be very selective with the books I review. Reading excerpt beforehand if possible and reading ARCs ASAP to give the publishers time to maybe find a more positive review elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have DNFed both e-ARCs & physical ARCs. When I DNF e-ARCs, I always send a note back to the publisher saying why though.

    I prefer not to waste my time reading something that I’m struggling through. It ends up putting me in a reading slump and then prolongs me getting to review other ARCs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand and I like how you explain why to the publisher. I hate when reviewers simply skip reviewing the book they DNF’ed because that doesn’t help the author / publisher in any way.

      Like

  13. I totally understand DNF-ing, but I’ve never DNF’d a book because I’m stubborn as hell πŸ˜‚. I don’t think I could ever DNF an ARC though unless it was something that was extremely problematic or making me very uncomfortable, but I doubt that I’d pick an ARC that would do that anyway, haha? I even hate giving negative reviews to ARCs, but I always make sure to try and say something positive or at least stress that it’s my opinion and things are subjective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate giving a negative review too! I know it’s stupid because it’s our “job” to give our honest opinion, but it’s still hard. And I always try to say something positive as well πŸ™‚

      Like

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