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Re: We have pleasure in sending the accompanying book for review...

Subject: Re: We have pleasure in sending the accompanying book for review...
by Urulöké on 2008/6/15 20:53:27

I've seen all sorts of "review copies" out of HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin over the years. In my mind an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) is the first edition gatherings perfect bound (glued into paper wraps) rather than case-bound into the hardcover form. In modern terms (the digital age), there is no difficulty in changing the text in the few weeks or perhaps months between when the ARC is sent out for comment and when the first edition is printed, so it is not unusual to have changes between the two. It used to be (back in the day of setting type in blocks for printing) that there was no difference at all between the review copy and the first edition, as there was not time to reset anything between the two.

The above is just my opinion, though. There is no hard-and-fast definition for ARC. It can mean either a proof or galley copy sent out for comment, or a first edition sent out early to allow the book to be read and reviewed by the time the book becomes publicly available. I have seen ARCs that specifically state on the wraps that they are not the final text to be published.

ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter and Nicolas Barker, now in 8th edition, is an excellent resource for terminology such as this. It says for Advance Copy: "...are normally either final proofs or the first sheets to be gathered of the main run...." So it doesn't call one out as preferred over the other either.

It does say that a Review Copy is usually a first edition copy with a slip laid in or some other marking on it (no mention of proof's being sent as a Review Copy.)

It also says for Proofs that "Whereas the bibliographical distinction between wrappered final proofs and Advance Copies is significant, the physical differences are often slight, or non-existent."

ABC is a great reference (and even a great read, as there are a lot of tongue-in-cheek references or in-jokes scattered throughout), and significant portions of the book are self-referential - for example, the Paste-Down Endpaper is labeled as such, so you know exactly what one is.