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Old 08-01-2011, 12:25 PM   #1
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Will ARC editions become the ebook version of a hardback?

Or have they already begun to be an alternative income stream for publishers?

I ask because I haven't seen a non-ARC title on Webscription.net for ages. I also remember noticing ARC titles on another ebook site but I don't remember what site as it was a late night insomnia fueled web session so memory is hazy.

I don't blame publishers if this is a way to generate the same level of income as HB editions used to bring in. Especially as HB editions seem to have always been very important to the money a title would generate.

Just curious if maybe Baen with Webscriptions may have stumbled on a formula to let ebooks offer higher priced editions under the guise of them providing the privilege of early access, even if it likely has errors and might be incomplete relative to the final production release.

Far as I know ARC editions have always been around in printed books but never had access to them. I guess if there were authors I liked enough I would try them but to me I never bought HB editions so I don't see myself ever buying an ARC editions let alone reading one.

Have other publishers been following this idea on their own sites? Or are most, especially the big houses, just sticking with the higher prices on initial release? I would sense ARC editions could become significant given how people like to feel special based on the things they acquire.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:38 PM   #2
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I don't know what you are looking at on webscription.net, but all books that come in an ARC are available when the ARC completes, as individual books. I never buy ARCs, because I hate reading parts of books, and because there are usually books in the ARC that I am not interested in.

Baen is the publisher of the ARC books, so they are in control.

I usually wait til the ARC is complete, and buy the individual book that I am interested in, usually priced at $6.00.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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All ARCs that end up in my library I tag with a quality code "_q3" which I define to mean "format quality ok to read with only minor annoyance" (on a scale of 0 to 5) or "_q2" which usually means "needs work before reading" and in either case "replace with higher rating when possible." Most of the Baen ARCs I've seen I'd otherwise rate format quality if it weren't ARC as 4 or 5. While investigating torrents awhile back I noticed a lot of them.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:58 PM   #4
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I think you're confusing ARCs with the monthly Webscription bundles, susan.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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Yes, somewhat, but ARCs have the same issue of being only part of a book at one time, and with somewhat iffy quality, and expensive. I'd rather wait for the $6.00 version.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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Er, what's the "ARC" stand for? The linked page doesn't bother defining it...
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:29 PM   #7
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An eARC is an electronic Advance Reader Copy.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Advanced Reader Copy
http://www.baen.com/ws_faq.htm#12 (scroll down)
They start off at $15, for the full-of-typos-an-errors version, for those readers who just can't wait. As the version gets more proofreading, the price goes down. Eventually you have the $6 non-ARC version, though you have to wait a few months.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:37 PM   #9
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I've never noticed them lowering the price, though.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sourcejedi View Post
Huh? Sure the ARCs are still available if you want to pay the old price, but as books are released, the prices drop.

See John Ringo's page. First two listed are ARC and released.

http://www.webscription.net/s-84-john-ringo.aspx
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:52 AM   #11
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Sorry, I should have said I've never seen them lowering the price of the ARC.

Every single ARC is listed as $15. But what nyrath pointed to says that's supposed to be the starting price, which falls over time, before the finished book is released.

It might be that I've just missed it - and that all the ARCs that are no longer on sale have had their list price reset to the maximum. But my guess is that the FAQ nyrath pointed to is out of date.

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Old 08-02-2011, 04:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
Yes, somewhat, but ARCs have the same issue of being only part of a book at one time, and with somewhat iffy quality, and expensive. I'd rather wait for the $6.00 version.
It's not "only part of a book", it's the complete book although, as stated, unedited.
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
Yes, somewhat, but ARCs have the same issue of being only part of a book at one time, and with somewhat iffy quality, and expensive. I'd rather wait for the $6.00 version.
The one ARC I've bought was complete, and had perfectly good formatting and spelling. A regular copy was released in the usual price range a few months later, but this was both an author I think worthy of the extra support and a story I didn't want to wait for (P C Hodgell's Bound in Blood)

I'm suprised to hear that some of the ARCs have problems - the absence of them in my copy must be down to the author if it's not universal in Baen's ARC.

To the OP - in my opinion yes, both in cost and in the criteria that would lead me to buy them, but unlike hardcover paperbooks they don't take up extra space.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:10 AM   #14
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I think the actual format quality of Baen ARCs (and other Baen ebooks) is awesomely good in comparison to ebooks from other publishers or imprints. I include ARCs in lower format codes for convenience to avoid needing to use other more specific tags. In my mind there is something wrong with it. It hasn't gone through the entire editing and proofing sequence. Generally I also wait for the final product.

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Old 08-02-2011, 08:26 AM   #15
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Regarding the comparison of paper hardcover/paperback vs ebook ARC/final, it works as relates to price and timing. But hardcovers are a final product. ARCs aren't. Also, I vaguely remember seeing some ARC and other pre-press (pre-proof?) copies of paper books years ago when I worked in a bookstore.

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