I recently mentioned on my book instagram account that I am back on NetGalley. I have had a few people personally contact me asking me what NetGalley is and/or how it works and if I could explain to them. I finally decided I was just going to make a discussion post about it. So here we are.
If you’re a book blogger, a bookstagrammer or a booktuber, then chances are you have heard of NetGalley or are/were a member of NetGalley yourself. If not, let me explain to you what NetGalley is as best as I can.
Registering to become a member of NetGalley is absolutely free (Check it out or register here!) NetGalley allows you to request or be invited to read books (usually advance readers copies). One thing to remember is that NetGalley provides only e-copies. This means they are only offering books in epub, pdf, or mobi format. I know some people have been confused thinking that NetGalley sends out physical copies of books, but unfortunately, NetGalley is strictly all electronic.
In order for your registration to be approved by NetGalley, you must have a platform where you do book reviews or just talk about books in general. For instance, I use this—my blog—as a platform for all of my book reviews, as well as my Goodreads account. Once your account has been approved, you may then start requesting to read titles from many different publishers. When your request for certain titles have been approved, I believe you get about 50 days (correct me if I’m wrong) until the protected ebook disappears (so try not to request too many titles at once or you might not be able to get to all of them) from whatever app you choose to read your ebooks on. Note that NetGalley does not allow you to use iBooks since the ebooks that they send out are all protected for copyright and privacy purposes. I personally like to use the app Bluefire Reader since it’s simple and easy to use. You can use your phone, laptop, or iPad; pretty much whichever device that suits you most.
After you have finished reading your book, you are required to give feedback. I mean, they won’t hunt you down if you don’t give feedback. But then, just what was the point of you signing up for a NetGalley account? It is unfair to the authors and the publishers when you request for titles to review but fail to review said titles. I had a problem with this myself and that’s why I went on a three month long hiatus from NetGalley. But we’ll get to that a bit later on.
The suggested feedback ratio is 80%. This means the higher your feedback ratio, the more likely you are to be approved to read titles for bigger publishing companies such as HarperCollins, Harlequin Teen, Simon & Schuster and etc. However, this does not necessarily mean that you won’t get approved at all unless your feedback ratio is 80% or higher. Your ratio is determined by the number of titles you’ve been approved for vs. the title you’ve given feedback on. So don’t be discouraged if a big publishing company rejects your request. I can guarantee you that if you’re new to NetGalley, you are bound to get at least a few rejection emails.
Eventually, once you’ve built your profile and ratio up, instead of you being the one to request titles to read, publishers may actually be the one to contact you and invite you personally to read their books! This hasn’t happened to me (just yet, hopefully 😛 ) but I can only image how fun and amazing that must feel.
So that’s NetGalley in a nutshell (“NetGalley in a nutshell” is kind of a tongue twister, huh? Okay. Totally off topic.) BUT… NetGalley isn’t only a place for professional readers but also an amazing place for authors and publishers. I don’t know much about this side of NetGalley since I’m neither an author or work for a publishing company (one day, though, one day). What I do know is that NetGalley provides a space for publishers to interact with their growing member community and allows them to invite their own contacts to view titles. This might be helpful especially for the smaller publishing companies looking to expand their consumers and number of audience.
Now let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of NetGalley. Keep in mind that these are MY opinions and personal preferences. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. I am also only speaking from my own experience.
What I enjoy about NetGalley
Personally I have never encountered any major issues with NetGalley, both external or internal. I very much enjoy being a member of NetGalley because it gives me a sense of belonging. I like knowing that I am a part of a huge community that focuses on many different kinds of literature. It makes me feel good that I am a part of a large group that are more or less passionate about books the same way that I am and it makes me feel even better that I am able to contribute and help out up-and-coming authors—as well as very known authors—and publishing companies. It’s gratifying knowing that by simply giving feedback/reviews, I am in one way or another supporting the works of many different writers.
I also really love the selection of books available on NetGalley. I have discovered many new amazing authors just by simply going through some of the selections. More specifically, I enjoy NetGalley for the quicker reads such as comic books, graphic novels, and humor books. Personally, I find it doesn’t always work out with me when I request general fiction because general fiction take a little (or a lot) longer to read than the comic books and graphic novels. When a book sits on my shelf for too long, I tend to forget about it and then I fail to give feedback, thus making my feedback ratio go down by a little or sometimes a lot.
While I can go on longer saying many other lovable and sweet mushy things about NetGalley ❤ … there is one downside to it. Which now brings me to my next point.
The disadvantage of NetGalley
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I went on a three month long hiatus from NetGalley. It wasn’t because of an external issue, per se. It was more because of my personal preference. If you’ve been around and following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that in one of my posts, I talk about how I prefer physical books over ebooks (you can check out that blog post here if you missed it). No, I am not at all against ebooks. As a matter of fact, I love ebooks. Just…not as much as I love and appreciate physical books.
Since NetGalley provides strictly electronic copies, I found it hard to keep up with the books I requested because it was very easy for me to just simply forget about them or put them off for later. When I first joined NetGalley, I was going crazy, of course. I was requesting books left, right and centre and would give feedback A.S.A.P. so I could get my feedback ratio up. But after a while, I lost my momentum and started neglecting (or rather, forgetting altogether) the books that I had requested. Not long after, I decided I was going to take a break from NetGalley for a while. I felt as though reading titles from NetGalley was becoming a chore and where’s the fun in that?! Reading should never feel like a burden.
Now that I’m back on NetGalley…
Just a few days ago, I’ve decided I was going to give NetGalley another chance. I love writing reviews as much as I love reading books, so I didn’t want to completely abandon my account with NetGalley. I, however, have figured out a “method,” let’s just say, on how I could avoid what previously happened: ebooks collecting dust on my shelf.
I don’t read much comic books or graphic novels, it’s usually a once-in-a-blue-moon thing for me. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them, though. I actually want to start getting into them. And what better way than do that than through NetGalley, where I can read and enjoy them for free?! They are fun, sometimes even cute, and super quick to read. You’ll probably notice in my next wrap-up post that I’ll have a bunch of graphic novels and comic books listed.
When my request for comic books / graphic novels get approved, I immediately download them and get to reading right away. This way, I am done in about 20-30 minutes and can give feedback AS.A.P. You’re probably wondering “um…so you ONLY ever read comic books from NetGalley then?” Well…no. I do still request for general fiction novels, just not as much as I do comic books.
If you see my bio on my bookstagram account, you’ll notice that my number for the Goodreads reading challenge is sort of sky rocketing. And this is the reason why. For this month, I am reading a lot of comic books and graphic novels. Some may consider this cheating because they take only about 20-30 minutes to read. Nonetheless, I still took my time to read them, so it’s only fair I count them towards my Goodreads reading challenge.
If you’re a fast reader, or if you’re someone whose schedule allows you to read as often as you’d please, and if you don’t mind ebooks as much as other people… I say make an account with NetGalley. I mean, free ebooks… Need I say more?
If you guys have any comments, thoughts, or even questions for me then please don’t hesitate to comment below or send an email my way (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’ve made it this far into the post, then thank you. Thank you for reading this absurdly long blog post. But it’s a discussion post after all!