ARCs Vs. The Finished Book

Thursday, 14 April 2016
Recently it has come to my attention that I own the ARC and the finished copy for multiple books. However, I have yet to compare the two and this seems like an easy way to compare them and for you to ask any questions if you have any. :)

Before we begin, an ARC or an Advanced Reader's Copy is an early bound draft of a book sent to trade reviewers/bloggers/book stores in order to generate hype before the book comes out and mainly during the first two weeks after its release. They are a marketing tool first and foremost, and are NOT A COLLECTOR'S ITEM.

I'm going to break this down by sections so it's easier to compare the two versions.

The Cover:

So the cover doesn't always change. However, an ARC will indicate (usually on the cover) that it's an ARC and that it's NOT FOR SALE. (So please don't go buying them on eBay.) For example:

A couple things to note:
- The ARC says right across the top that it's an ARC.
- The finished copy's title is shiny and glossy, while the ARC's title is matte.
- The covers themselves are slightly different (this happens sometimes and the covers can be completely different depends on rather or not it's redesigned).

Here are is another more example:

Again, the letters on the finished copy are shiny, and the ARC says it's an ARC on the front.

The Spine:

On the spine, the month or release along with the year are usually indicated somewhere. It's 50/50 as to whether or not the spine changes. Generally it seems with later books in a series, the actual spine is used, but for the first book or a stand-alone, it differs.

A few things to note:
- Shiny title vs not shiny title.
- The publisher logo is different (which doesn't always happen).
- Date on ARC vs no date on the finished copy.
- The spines are different to match the slight cover change.

Here's an example of when the spines are the same:

Again, the date is there on the ARC, but otherwise, they're the same.

The Back:

Massively, massively different. Expect to see marketing info on the back of an ARC or book details and possibly an author bio. For example:

A couple things to note:
- I blurred out information as to how to contact the publisher back to send them your review but the finished copy doesn't have that.
- Author bio vs no author bio.
- Marketing plan vs no marketing plan.
- Synopsis vs excerpt.
- Barcode vs no barcode.
- And they just overall look completely different.

Here's another example:

Again with the barcode and the different design overall.

Inside the Book:

ARCs tend to have a page inside too that says they're an ARC again. Otherwise, they're basically formatted the same.

Something to note is that the finished copy will not have this page.

This one just happened to have contact information on the page too.

The Story Itself:

As I mentioned, this is an early draft, so things are bound to change like minor plot details, types are fixed, and all these tiny things that had to be changed before the final book was printed.

You can expect typos in the ARC that you won't see in the final copy. However, I think what more people want to know about is how drastically does the plot change?

Honestly, I've only ever read the ARC and the finished copy for Map of Fates (sooooooo gooooooodddddd highly recommend), but there was definitely a minor change towards the end that I *think* I picked up on (I haven't gone and checked the finished copy against the ARC yet). Other than that, the plot changes aren't noticeable enough to the point where most readers won't pick up on the differences. The storyline is the same for both versions.

I hope this answered any questions you may have had about the difference between ARCs and the finished copy. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them. :)

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