Posts Tagged ‘galleys’

Note: This article was written for the London Book Fair Show Daily.
Submitted by:  Susan Ruszala, President, NetGalley (susan.ruszala@netgalley.com)

Like so many people in book publishing, I entered this industry because I love to read. So imagine my delight, when after many years of marketing publishing technology solutions, I was asked to launch a site dedicated to “professional readers.” (Professional reader: noun: Those whose job it is to read, review and recommend books, primarily new books, to consumers). Professional readers are reviewers, critics, media, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and educators, to name just a few, and there are over 57,000 of them already using NetGalley for free to access digital proofs from publishers.

Digital proofs are eco-friendly, fast, and cost-effective
Galley distribution is one of the key publicity and marketing activities performed by publishers and media agencies, but the process of distributing print proofs is cumbersome, expensive, and inefficient. At its simplest, NetGalley helps to simplify and speed up that process by substituting secure digital galleys for print.

Communities of influence are larger than you think
One of the great ironies of print proofs is that their distribution is often limited by budget, and limited to a perceived “A” list of influencers. We’ve often heard from publicists, marketers, digital marketers, library marketers, sales reps and even authors that they’d like to broaden the number of people who can preview their content before it’s published, and that they’d like to know with more certainty the influence and reach of those broader communities. Today’s web technology makes this possible.

The largest segment of our current community is reviewers, comprising just over 50%. Librarians make up 19%, with the remainder split evenly between booksellers, media and educators. Our UK member-base is growing more rapidly as UK publishers begin making content available, and we’re working closely with those publishers to introduce their contacts to NetGalley. We also hope to work with other member organizations as we are with the American Library Association.

Request and invite
New books have a better chance of commercial success when they’re launched into dedicated communities of interested readers. When publishers list their titles in the NetGalley catalog, allowing members to request access, they are identifying and cultivating new influencers as well as connecting with existing contacts.

Publicity is also about pitch: Publishers use our tools to incorporate digital proofs into all they already do for their titles, including pitch emails, giveaways, bookseller marketing, author events, social media marketing and more.

We support DRM (or not)
Despite many industry debates about the pitfalls of Digital Rights Management, an overwhelming 89% of titles we handled in NetGalley last year have security applied to prevent unauthorized sharing or distribution. It’s our opinion that publishers have the right to protect their content as they (and their authors) see fit; but we also offer a DRM-free option for publishers who are interested in making their content more widely available. NetGalley members read on all major devices and tablets; right now the split is about even between Kindle and all other Adobe DRM-compatible devices (iPad/iPhone, Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader, and Android phones/tablets).

We help navigate the digital landscape
Customer service—to publishers and especially to readers—has grown to be a key piece of our business. Though unfortunate, accessing a protected proof on a device is more confusing than it should be. Our team of Concierges is comprised of former book publicists or marketers who understand that a timely, professional response is essential, particularly when dealing with a media contact. With publishers, that same team provides creative examples of how to incorporate digital proofs into specific campaigns, launches new programs like NetGalley at the Library, and helps generate invite widgets for publishers to use when inviting their own contacts to view a title on NetGalley.

Digital is global
There are no boundaries when it comes to information, and this is just one of the many reasons we’re so pleased to be launching officially into the UK publishing market. It’s been our pleasure to work with early adopters like Bloomsbury, Faber and Faber, Harlequin, HarperCollins and Penguin, and we’re looking forward to expanding the number of titles, readers (and local staff) in 2012 and beyond.

Susan Ruszala is the President of NetGalley. Find out more about NetGalley at
www.netgalley.com or visit us at the London Book Fair in the Digital Zone, W845.

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We must apologize for the absence of new posts over the last few months. As you may know if you’re a NetGalley member, your Digital Concierge (me, Lindsey) went on maternity leave earlier than expected in late November, and this blog went on leave right along with me! Luckily we found great help in Sarah, who served as your Digital Concierge while I was out. Now I’ve returned to my post at NetGalley and we’re ready to give you an update.

Here’s what NetGalley’s been up to over the past few months:

  • Finding new ways for you to read digital galleys. Thanks to the Aldiko Book Reader app, Android users can now read NetGalley files on their devices. Have questions about using your iPad, iPhone, Kobo, Literati, Nook, Sony Reader, or other device with NetGalley? There’s a page for that!
  • Telling you about new titles. Currently we have more than 940 titles listed in NetGalley’s public catalog, and new galleys are added all the time. We send out periodic updates about our new titles, so make sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletters for your favorite genres. Plus, you can now view past and forthcoming newsletters on our NetGalley Features page. We’ll soon be announcing the Most Requested titles, so check back to see if it’s your favorite!
  • Helping your requests get approved. We asked publishers what criteria they use to determine whether to approve or decline galley requests. Wondering what publishers are looking for? Check out this new page BEFORE you request to better your chances of getting the galleys you want.
  • Getting to know you — our members. We closed out 2010 with 15,353 registered members of NetGalley (today, just three months later, we’ve surpassed 20,000 members!), and we took some time to look at what that number means:
    • Reviewers – including bloggers – make up almost half of our members (49%). Another 16.5% are librarians, and 11% are part of the media. Booksellers make up an additional 11% of our member community, while educators accounted for 9.7%.
    • When new members join NetGalley, we ask them to indicate which genres they’re interested in. Literature & Fiction is the most popular, but only by a little bit – Teens & YA is close behind. Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Romance are next, followed by Nonfiction.
    • NetGalley members made 80,945 requests to view galleys in 2010. It’s probably not too much of a surprise to say that reviewers made most of those requests – 63.9% of them, to be precise.
    • Our members downloaded 45,422 galleys last year. Almost half (46.9%) were DRM-protected files downloaded with Adobe Digital Editions. 29.1% were sent directly to members’ Kindles, and 11.2% were DRM-free files.
    • And the result of all of those readers, requests, and downloads was a mountain of reviews sent to publishers via NetGalley: 7972, to be precise. That’s a 17.6% return on approved galley requests.

So that’s the latest from the NetGalley world. I look forward to connecting with you!

Happy Reading,

Digital Concierge

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We interrupt this public service blog for an announcement from our sponsor, NetGalley…

When I recently announced that NetGalley had reached the milestone of 5,000 registered members, I promised more info about our community of professional readers – who they are, how they read, etc. The data below was drawn from internal statistics on our site as well as a recent online survey answered by over 655 NetGalley members.

Who they are

As you might expect, the biggest community using NetGalley is reviewers – including bloggers and print reviewers – making up about 50% of total registered members. The remaining 50% is a mix of librarians, booksellers, educators, and media.

How they read

Though nostalgia for printed books and galleys remains high on blogs, twitter discussions and in other venues, our members are inclined to read digitally if it means faster access to new titles. A whopping 71% see “quick access to new galleys” as the biggest draw to digital galleys. And well over three-quarters of the respondents will read either print or digital galleys, with only 12% responding “I will only read print galleys.”

Also mirroring wider trends in reading devices, just over 60% read galleys by downloading them to their computer. As for dedicated reading devices, Amazon’s Kindle was the winner at 16%. The Sony Reader was next in line at 12%, with Barnes & Noble’s new Nook at only 5%.

NOTE: We conducted our survey before the iPad hit stores. In addition, the iPad currently does not support DRM-ed (protected) files – so the only galleys from NetGalley that can be read on that device are galleys that the publishers are offering as DRM-free (open) files. To date, the majority of galleys offered on NetGalley come with DRM; logically, since most publishers do not want pre-pub files distributed. More on this topic in a later post.

Why they like digital galleys

After quick access to new galleys, our members appreciate digital galleys for what they can provide that print galleys can’t: mainly,

  • Being able to “read on the go” (49%)
  • Searchability inside the galley (34%)
  • Full-color reading and images (25%)

In the age of immediacy, when news becomes old before it even makes it to print (thanks, Twitter!), being able to email a direct link to a digital galley is a pretty awesome tool in the publicist’s tool belt.

It also makes sense that the ease of skimming and searching digital galleys makes them attractive to professional readers who may not need to read the entire text – like TV/radio producers looking for experts and journalists writing off-the-book-page-features.

In addition, most professional readers don’t have early access to four-color pre-pub materials for illustrated and graphic-heavy books (like cookbooks, children’s titles, etc) – meaning that professional readers might not otherwise see these titles (or only see a few pages in BLADs) before they arrive in stores.

A Book Critic’s View

During a recent chat with book critic Bethanne Patrick (the host of WETA.org’s Book Studio, who we’ve interviewed in the past, known to her fellow tweeters as @TheBookMaven), I got a few more insights on the advantages of digital galleys. Bethanne said she loves how digital galleys allow her to preview a book, to see if she’d even want the printed galley. When bookshelf space is at a premium for reviewers, she appreciates getting an email from a publicist with a link to the digital galley that says “take a look and let me know if you want a printed galley.”

Bethanne also sees value in the one-stop-shopping aspect of NetGalley:

  • When she decides she wants a printed galley after viewing the digital version, she can just hit the EMAIL PUBLISHER button right in the title record in NetGalley.
  • She can also access the Digital Press Kit materials – where publishers can include the press release, tour schedule, author Q&A, audio/video clips, cover images, etc.
  • By sending her reviews to publishers via NetGalley, she hopes to appease publicists who still ask for tear-sheets of reviews.

Finally, Bethanne added that even when she had read an entire galley in printed form, she still liked to have a digital copy while writing her review. That way, she could quickly find a certain page or passage in a window alongside her review, without having to take off/put on her glasses while switching from the printed page to her computer screen. It’s the little things, right?

I’m excited that support of digital galleys is growing and—best of all—publishers and readers alike are finding new ways and reasons to appreciate the format.

As always, I’m open to any and all feedback – we love hearing from you!

All best,

Lindsey Rudnickas

your friendly Digital Concierge at NetGalley

Follow me on Twitter: @NetGalley

Become a fan of our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/NetGalley

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It’s almost that time, when bookish folk flock to the largest publishing event in North America: BookExpo America (BEA)/ Twitter @BookExpoAmerica. This year BEA is at the Jacob K. Javits Center in NYC Tuesday, May 25 – Thursday, May 27. NetGalley will be at BEA, so stop by and say hello — we’re part of the Firebrand Technologies booth #3905.

We’ve got a fun way for you to get a sneak peek at new books! See below for our NetGalley BEA Buzz Schedule (taking place all day Wed and Thurs). We’ll demo a new title on NetGalley, show you how to get it on your favorite e-reader, and “pitch” the book itself so you can see where all the buzz begins. Check out which titles publicists have selected as potential breakout releases!

The best part is if you watch our demo, you’ll be among the first to view the galley on NetGalley after the show — with an invite from the publisher to download the galley and read it in full. Plus, select titles are available to request on NetGalley NOW if you’d like to get a jump-start on your reading!

So check out (and request) the NetGalley BEA Buzz titles here, mark your calendars, and we’ll see you at the show!

NetGalley BEA Buzz Schedule

WEDNESDAY MAY 26 @ NetGalley booth #3905

  • 10:00 AM: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors

A Novel
By Michele Young-Stone
The Crown Publishing Group @CrownPublishing
Pub Date: April 2010

  • 10:30 AM: Truly, Madly, Deadly

The Unofficial True Blood Companion
By Becca Wilcott
ECW Press @ecwpress
Pub Date: June 2010


By Jorge Cruise
Hay House, Inc
Pub Date: December 29, 2010

  • 11:30 AM: Harvest to Heat

Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans
By Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer
The Taunton Press @tauntonmktg
Pub Date: October 2010

  • 12:00 PM: Around My French Table

More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
By Dorie Greenspan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt @hmhbooks
Pub Date: October 2010

  • 1:00 PM: Outside the Ordinary World

By Dori Ostermiller
Harlequin @HarlequinBooks
Pub Date: August 2010

  • 1:30 PM: Billie Girl

By Vickie Weaver
Leapfrog Press
Pub Date: September 2010

  • 2:00 PM: The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit

A Step-by-Step Legal Guide
By Peri Pakroo, J.D.
NOLO @NoloLibrary
Pub Date: May 2010

  • 4:00 PM: Safe From the Sea

By Peter Geye
Unbridled Books @unbridledbooks
Pub Date: September 2010

THURSDAY MAY 27 @ NetGalley booth #3905

  • 10:00 AM: Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

By Russell A. Barkley, PhD
Guilford Press @GuilfordPsych
Pub Date: August 2010

  • 11:00 AM: Vestments

By John Reimringer
Milkweed Editions @Milkweed_Books
Pub Date: September 2010

  • 11:30 AM: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

By Gary Chapman
Moody Publishers @moodybooks
Pub Date: September 2010

  • 12:00 PM: Simple Secrets

The Harmony Series, Book One
By Nancy Mehl
Barbour Publishing @BarbourBuzz
Pub Date: June 2010

  • 2:00 PM: Desserts 4 Today

By Abigail Johnson Dodge
The Taunton Press @tauntonmktg
Pub Date: September 2010

  • 2:30 PM: Deadline Man

By Jon Talton
Poisoned Pen Press
Pub Date: May 2010

NetGalley BEA Buzz Schedule (grid)

WEDNESDAY MAY 26 @ NetGalley booth #3905
10:00 AM The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors Crown Publishing Group Pub Date: April 2010
10:30 AM Truly, Madly, Deadly ECW Press Pub Date: June 2010
11:00 AM THE BELLY FAT CURE™ FAST TRACK Hay House, Inc Pub Date: December 29, 2010
11:30 AM Harvest to Heat The Taunton Press Pub Date: October 2010
12:00 PM Around My French Table Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub Date: October 2010
1:00 PM Outside the Ordinary World Harlequin Pub Date: July 2010
1:30 PM Billie Girl Leapfrog Press Pub Date: September 2010
2:00 PM The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit NOLO Pub Date: May 2010
4:00 PM Safe From the Sea Unbridled Books Pub Date: September 2010
THURSDAY MAY 27 @ NetGalley booth #3905
10:00 AM Taking Charge of Adult ADHD Guilford Press Pub Date: August 2010
11:00 AM Vestments Milkweed Editions Pub Date: September 2010
11:30 AM Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married Moody Publishers Pub Date: September 2010
12:00 PM Simple Secrets Barbour Publishing Pub Date: June 2010
2:00 PM Desserts 4 Today The Taunton Press Pub Date: September 2010
2:30 PM Deadline Man Poisoned Pen Press Pub Date: May 2010

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We interrupt this public service blog for an announcement from our sponsor, NetGalley…

As any of our loyal NetGalley members know, we recently had a makeover in some key areas of www.netgalley.com. Around the same time, we asked our members to take a short survey to get some feedback about how they were reading galleys and how we could better serve them. I thought it’d be fun to share some of our findings – and perhaps even start a larger conversation about these hot topics. While this post will focus mostly on the NetGalley side of things, stay tuned for a related post about overall trends.

We were psyched when what we lovingly-named our “Reader Release” went live. Stemming directly from feedback from our members (“professional readers” made up of reviewers, media professionals, bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and educators), we worked hard to make it easier to find and request galleys.

That meant a catalog revamp – not just a fresh overall look, but also a bunch of exciting changes, including…

See more about each title:
•    Now ISBN and Genre show in the main catalog view

Browse instantly in several ways:
•    Browse by Titles Recently Added
•    Browse by Publisher
and best of all…
•    Browse by Genre (This change was greeted very warmly, indeed!)

Narrow down with Sorting and Searching:
•    Sort by Date Added, Most Requested, Title, Publisher, Imprint, Author, and Pub Date
•    Search by Author, Title, Imprint, Publisher, and Genre

My favorite one of these is the Most Requested sort. How cool that I can see (and you can see too!) the…

Top 10 Most Requested Titles on NetGalley (as of today):
1. The Iron Daughter (Harlequin)
2. The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors (The Crown Publishing Group)
3. My Soul to Keep (Harlequin)
4. The Oracle of Dating (Harlequin)
5. The Case for Books (PublicAffairs)
6. Chasing Perfect (Harlequin)
7. Manifest (Harlequin)
8. The Clearing (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
9. What’s New, Cupcake? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
10. BOOK: THE SEQUEL (PublicAffairs)

But, we couldn’t just stop at the catalog. Our homepage got a facelift, too – with new navigation so readers can easily find the information they seek, as well as a special “What’s New at NetGalley” area. Personally, I’m a big fan of the sleek buttons we added, too.

Lastly, we updated our QUICK BROWSE reading option. Our new online viewer includes some great benefits, including easier page-turning and ZOOM!

Oh, and one more cool thing: we added a SHARE button to our Buzz Page – so now you can tell others which titles spark your interest. Post it on Twitter, Facebook, and a ton of other places — just roll your cursor over the word “share” to see all the different options.

My favorite is how now you can EMAIL IT TO A FRIEND with the envelope icon.

Lastly, I’m proud to announce that we’ve reached the milestone of 5,000 registered members! That includes: publishers, traditional book reviewers, media professionals (radio/tv producers, journalists, etc), booksellers, bloggers, librarians, and educators (for exam/desk copies).

More to come in my next post about our member community – who they are and how they read – and I look forward to a larger dialogue about overall e-reading trends!

As always, I’m open to any and all feedback – we love hearing from you :)

All best,

Lindsey Rudnickas

your friendly Digital Concierge at NetGalley

Follow me on Twitter: @NetGalley

Become a fan of our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/NetGalley

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We interrupt this public service blog to bring you an update about its sponsor: NetGalley. As you may have heard through twitter or my e-newsletter (sign up), we’re currently having a special theme week at NetGalley!

Welcome Hay House Week!

We’re so excited to announce that Hay House has joined the list of publishers using NetGalley to provide digital galleys to reviewers and professional readers.

NetGalley members are now able to request a digital review copy of many great Hay House books, emphasizing nonfiction in the areas of Self-Help, New Age, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Health, Business, Finance, Men’s/Women’s Issues, Inspirational Memoirs, and Celebrity Biographies. Subjects include: social issues, current events, ecology, business, food and nutrition, education, the environment, alternative health/medicine, money/finance, nature, recreation, religion, men’s and women’s issues, spiritual growth, and fitness.

Browse current Hay House galleys here. NetGalley members will have the option to download PDF versions of the galleys to their computers, Kindles, Sony Readers, or other devices, and search within the galleys. Plus, excerpts are now live for all Hay House titles — so you can read a preview before you choose to request! While you’re browsing their titles in the catalog, just click the “more info” button and then the excerpt link under “URLs.”

In celebration of the launch week, we’re giving reviewers an added incentive! Hay House is offering a free 2010 Calendar by Hay House founder Louise L. Hay to the first 25 NetGalley members who send their review of any Hay House title.

It’s easy: after requesting and reading a Hay House galley, simply share the review with Hay House in NetGalley (under “Manage My Reviews” just click the “Write” pencil icon; include the entire review and a link to where it’s published).

The first 25 members to send a review will receive this 2010 Calendar:

I CAN DO IT® 2010 Calendar
365 Daily Affirmations
by Louise L. Hay

I hope you’ll check out Hay House at NetGalley today!

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or feedback.

Happy Reading!

All best,

your friendly Digital Concierge at NetGalley

Follow me on Twitter (@NetGalley)
Become a Facebook fan of NetGalley

Tell us what kinds of books you cover!

Not signed up with NetGalley? Anyone who reads and recommends books professionally (reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators) can use it for free! Visit us to learn more and register: http://www.netgalley.com/

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We interrupt this public service blog to bring you an update about its sponsor: NetGalley. As you may have heard through twitter or my e-newsletter (not signed up?), we’re in the middle of a special theme week at NetGalley!

Welcome Harlequin Week!

We’re so excited to announce that Harlequin Books has joined the list of publishers using NetGalley to provide digital galleys to reviewers and professional readers.

NetGalley members are now able to request a digital review copy of dozens of great Harlequin books, including romance, women’s fiction, paranormal, erotica, YA and non-fiction titles. These galleys can be downloaded as PDFs to your computer, or read on your Kindle or Sony Reader. Browse all Harlequin titles here.

Coincidentally, we also launched our Facebook Page this week – complete with an event for Welcome Harlequin Week, of course!

In preparation for this special week, I asked some of our favorite romance reviewers using NetGalley what they thought about Harlequin coming on board.

Here are some highlights:

Harlequin on NetGalley is a meeting of digital brilliance in one location – it’s like chocolate, seasalt and caramel. Warm, dryer-fresh socks and a book. Flannel jammies and hot cocoa. Perfect merge. Excuse me, I have to go indulge! There is no better audience for digital books and the instant enjoyment of digital reading than romance readers. Women buy more electronics, buy more fiction, and now, with the convenience of ebooks and portable devices, can read more – any time, any place. We are the digital readers that publishers are looking for – and we’re not that hard to find, thanks to NetGalley.

—Sarah of Smart Bitches Trashy Books, @SmartBitches

Harlequin joining NetGalley is exciting news. I think the first romance I read was a Harlequin, probably Harlequin Presents because I remember the white cover and the circle with the hero and heroine pictured in it. Harlequin Presents is still one of my favorite romance lines, but I’m also a fan of their Luna books line (which is for fans of fantasy with romantic elements). They just started a Harlequin Teen line which looks promising. If I see a few of my favorite lines from Harlequin at NetGalley, I will be a happy reviewer. From what I’ve seen Harlequin has been embracing digital technology – they have a reader panel called Tell Harlequin which is all online, all their new titles come in ebook format, and for their 60th anniversary celebration they have harlequincelebrates.com where 16 ebooks are available free to download…Romance is a popular genre, it will be popular in the physical form and in the digital form.

—Janice of janicu’s book blog, @janicu

I was very excited when I learned Harlequin would be offering its galleys digitally through NetGalley.  Harlequin continues to impress me with its whole hearted embrace of digital books and digital media.  Clearly Harlequin is working hard to fulfill its goal of getting a romance in every woman’s hands. With the Harlequin galleys available digitally, it will reduce the negative impact on the environment and increase efficiencies for reviewing teams.  Many review blogs are comprised of individuals located all over the US and often, even international locales.  Digital galleys allow the review blogs to divert their time and attention to actually reading the books instead of focusing on the ministerial aspect of allocation of books. It’s a win all the way around and I laud Harlequin for taking the opportunities that NetGalley is providing.

—Jane Litte of Dear Author, @dearauthor

Good stuff! I hope you’ll join the growing list of readers who are getting an early peek at some great Harlequin titles. And as always, don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or feedback.

Happy Reading!

All best,

Lindsey (your friendly Digital Concierge at NetGalley)

Follow us on Twitter (@NetGalley)
Become a Fan of NetGalley on our Facebook Page

Tell us what kinds of books you cover!

Not signed up with NetGalley? Anyone who reads and recommends books professionally (reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators) can use it for free! Visit us to learn more and register: http://www.netgalley.com/

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Attention NetGalley and Twitter Users! We interrupt this public service blog to bring you an exciting announcement about its sponsor – NetGalley – and Twitter.


But first, let me back up and introduce myself. I’ve recently joined the NetGalley team as your “Digital Concierge” (as announced in this post). I know, it sounds cool, but what does this mean?


In a nutshell, it means I’m here for you.


I’m the main liaison between the reader and publisher communities of NetGalley, and it’s my goal to help connect readers with books that they’ll like, help publishers connect with readers who might review their books, and help everyone make the most of what NetGalley has to offer.


Some of you have probably received emails (or tweets) from me, asking for your reading preferences. If I haven’t already connected with you, feel free to reach out to me – I’d love to hear from anyone and everyone who uses NetGalley.


Things I’m especially interested in hearing: what kind of books you like to read and review, where your reviews appear, what you love about NetGalley, and most importantly, what about NetGalley isn’t working for you. I’m open to all feedback – good, bad, and ugly!


Email me anytime at lindsey [dot] rudnickas [at] netgalley [dot] com or DM me on Twitter @NetGalley.


Now, back to our announcement. We’re starting a new hashtag: #NGpick (NetGalley pick)!


Being the Twitter lovers that we are, we’re starting a hashtag to highlight the books you review that are also available on NetGalley. The purpose is to spread the word about the galleys, while at the same time drive more traffic to your blogs/websites. Are you on board?


Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. You write a review of a book that you read using NetGalley.
  2. You include #NGpick in your tweets about your review (with a link to your blog/website/review).
  3. I’ll be sure to re-tweet (RT) all the #NGpick tweets (and we can all ask others to RT, too).
  4. I’ll put a Twitter widget on this Follow the Reader blog, which will also show the #NGpicks.

Thanks in advance for helping to make this hashtag just as popular as #followreader, #fridayreads and others – we can always dream, right? :)


I look forward to connecting with you all. In the meantime: read, review, tweet, and enjoy!


-Lindsey, your friendly Digital Concierge for NetGalley


Not signed up with NetGalley? Anyone who reads and recommends books professionally (reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators) can use it for free! Visit us to learn more and register: NetGalley

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Word of mouth – always an important influence on booksellers and other early reviewers when it comes to deciding what to read next – is gaining ground on the web via blogs and Twitter. That’s what we learned at last week’s richly anecdotal and completely unscientific #followreader discussion on, yes, Twitter. The hour-long conversation about how professional readers decide what to read drew scores of responses from the U.S., and even the U.K. and beyond.  See below for highlights, including valuable tips for publicists on how to pitch bloggers and booksellers, and the question of using e-galleys.

man in car pileup

Please join this week’s publishing discussion on Thursday May 21 from 4-5pm ET. We’ll be on Twitter at #followreader, a day ahead of our usual Friday timeslot because of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. This week’s topic is the connections between librarians/publishers/authors/readers. To follow to our discussion in real time, go to Twitter Search and type in #followreader. To join in the discussion, follow @charabbott and @katmeyer on Twitter, and include #followreader into your responses.

Blog and Tweet Power Rising

Book blogs are clearly exerting influence on booksellers and book bloggers trying to decide what to read, based on the large number of comments we received, though each group seems to trust recommendations from other readers of their own ilk above all (e.g. bloggers trust bloggers; booksellers trust booksellers).

Tweets are also an important new source of recommendations for books, say publishers, booksellers and bloggers (big surprise, since this discussion took place on that very social network). Tweets and retweets only amplify the effect. “I have been really enjoying bookseller recs from their blogs, something I only discover via Twitter,” said one publisher (@AZPress).

Some idiosyncratic rules also guide some readers: one bookseller reported, “I throw in backlist every 4 or 5 ARCs, usually make sure it’s widely in print; out of print books are for vacations! (@jtpm). A blogger said, “If I find a new-to-me author, I usually start reading all backlist. But have a two-books rule: two bad ones and I move on.” (@susanmpls).

Other major influencers are pretty much what you’d expect, depending on the reader’s awareness of an author, interest in plot or subject, the visual appeal of the cover (“I totally read books based ONLY on the cover” @mawbooks), industry buzz, author blurbs, and the book’s release date. For booksellers, the physical quality of the galley is also a factor: “POD is still not up to par, for a lot of book people at least. Bad quality of book = turnoff.”(@leighmcdonald)

E-galleys elicited mixed responses, with some reporting openness to the format but hesitation about the cost of e-readers and the platform issues involved.

What Influences Bloggers

Buzz among bloggers is a key factor in choosing what to read, say bloggers, along with their personal familiarity with the author or interest in the subject. For example, several mentioned that one blogger got about 12 other blogs in the romance community to read a small press title by Judith James.

Author blurbs also influence this group: bloggers are less likely than booksellers to discount blurbs as motivated by politics and logrolling than booksellers are.

New releases, new authors and more genres appeal to bloggers more now than before they blogged, many agree with gusto.

Library and store displays and outreach, and award lists also influence some bloggers.

  •  “My library is really on top of things with weekly newsletter, contests and digital sources.” @BethFishReads
  • “My library displays a lot of local writers’ books. I’d never hear of them otherwise.” @chrisbookarama
  • “Updates is not something my library does. I think the U.S. is ahead on this.” @insidebooks
  • “I’m tempted by 3’s for 2’s in bookstores.” @helenawaldron

Traditional book reviews are an influence to some degree: some read prepub reviews in the print editions of PW, Booklist, Audiofile or Bookmarks, or major publications like the New York Times (“the NYTBR is more influential for nonfiction”), while others read reviews online and on reader networks like Library Thing. Some don’t read reviews at all.

Social networks for readers also attract some bloggers looking for recommendations, but reactions are mixed.

  • “Most of my recs came from Library Thing before I started reviewing & I still look to it as a good source of quality recs” @BookishRuth
  • “I’ve looked at the reviews on Good Reads of books I’m considering. @janicu
  • “I like concept of LibraryThing et al. but it’s hard to spend time in so many different social networks” @katmeyer
  • “Library Thing’s interface annoys me” @janicu
  • “Disappointed in Good Reads for finding books I wouldn’t find otherwise.” @AZpress
  • I hardly look at Shelfari and Library Thing anymore” @chrisbookarama
  • “I find my friends’ bookshelves on Completely Novel a good influence” @helenawaldron

A personalized pitch from the publisher increases the chances a blogger would look at a galley, though some dismiss publisher cover letters altogether.

  • “I appreciate if author or publicist sends me gentle reminder about a month before release date.” @jane_l
  • “Not asking for help, just my consideration. Well crafted and personalized is best.” @mawbooks
  • “Best ones mention things found on my ‘about’ page, compliment my family and blog” @mawbooks
  • “Best ones reference who referred them to my blog, why they are glad they followed through.” @mawbooks

Few mentioned the book’s publisher as an influencing factor. One who did followed the New York Review of Books.

What Influences Booksellers

The look and feel of an ARC matters more to booksellers, particularly the cover.

Buzz or word of mouth is equally important, particularly from other booksellers, but also from customers and publishers. And while booksellers cast a suspicious eye on politicking and payback in author blurbs, they acknowledge that blurbs still have power.

  • “My wife’s rec carries big weight. After that, other booksellers or book bloggers can get me excited.” @vromans
  • “Author blurbs influence whether I feature a title on front table or leave in section.” @RickRennicks
  • “A blurb from a beloved writer will make me at least look at the book @bookdwarf
  • “In my market, a blurb from Neil Gaiman would sell copies of the phone book” @RickRennicks
  • “Re: big blurbers, a co-worker and I get a big chuckle out of every books with an Eggers or Shteyngart blurb @ErinHere
  • “When it’s a personal rec from a rep, always read it and often book ends up  as a staff pick. Love our reps!” @michelleinkwell

Mixed Responses to Digital Galleys

Booksellers and bloggers who read digital galleys wish more were available. Some who don’t reported they would if they had an e-reader, but the price is too high. Some just love paper.

  • “I would love a system where I could pick and choose, download what I’m most likely to read.” @booksquare
  • “If I had an e-reader, I would read digital galleys but I’d still like a copy of book once published.” @mawbooks
  • “Without an e-reader, I know I would never read it on my computer.” @bostonbookgirl
  • “E-readers are good for space, time management.” @helenawaldron
  • “Maybe with one or two more generations of e-readers. So far, too hard to do my page flip scans” @history_geek
  • “I’m not yet reader to buy an e-reader. Until format is standard and universal.” @BethFishReads
  • “When I do an ebook it’s usually a last resort for a book that didn’t arrive in time for my stop on a blog tour.” @Wayne Hurlbert

Thanks again to all who participated!

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