Publishing Changes

Poisoned Pen Press, which publishes a lot of mysteries, has just announced something called NetGalley, which will include online galleys for its forthcoming books.

The idea is to reduce the number of paper advance reading copies (ARCs) that are sent to reviewers. With this system, a reviewer can read a little online and then ask for either a digital or print version.

Publisher Robert Rosenwald expects the new policy to be good for both his bottom line and the environment.

I admit I blanched a little when I read about this. I am among those who feel I spent too many hours in front of a computer screen as it is, and the idea that I’ve have to read review copies in a digital format was depressing.

"We will NOT be eliminating printed ARCs," Rosenwald said. "Mailed printed ARCs will still be sent to industry publications that require them. Mailed printed ARCs will also be sent to any legitimate reviewer or bookstore that requests one."

That’s a relief to me and my tired eyes.

I’m not opposed to technological or ecological advances; I just want the chance to opt out if it doesn’t work for me.

It reminds me of the situation when I was appointed to my local library commission. The city was pushing a paper-free policy, so the meeting agenda was e-mailed to everyone. That meant the commissioners had to print it out at home. It wasn’t "paper-free" by any means. It just meant the burden of supplying paper was shifted from the city to the individual.

Funnily enough, when I pointed this out to city officials, they just shrugged.

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