Discussion: NetGalley

For those of you that don’t know, NetGalley is a site where publishers and authors put ebooks (usually ARCs, but they don’t have to be) to be requested by reviewers.  Us reviewers fill out a profile containing our blogging information like our statistics and what we review and then we request these books.  Sometimes you get accepted, sometimes you don’t.  Since I hit 1,000 followers I don’t usually get turned down, but then again I’m very picky about what I request and I read their criteria for reviewers.

I’ve always found NetGalley’s user interface clean, simple and easy to use.  Edelweiss was an absolute nightmare when I tried to sign up after using NetGalley for so long.  Seriously people, how do you use that site with tiny writing, no logical order and pretty much zero instructions?  Unless they’ve vastly improved it, I doubt I will ever use my Edelweiss profile.  NetGalley is enough for me at this point.

But what I want to know now is this: If you’re a reviewer, do you use NetGalley?  What are your experiences like on there?  If you don’t use NetGalley, why not?

And, if you’re an author or a publishing professional, are your books on NetGalley?  Why or why not?  If so, what are your experiences on it like?

19 comments

  1. stephaniesbookreviews

    I agree that Edelweiss is not very user friendly at all! I signed up for it once to request a book that wasn’t on NetGalley and never used it again. I do use NetGalley and I like it. I’ve gotten some great books from it, but hardly ever the “big” ones that are super hyped and everybody wants, but I’ve only just recently reached 200 followers. My NetGalley ratio is very good, though. I’m at like 95% or something like that and whenever I finish my next book I’ll be at 100%. I don’t think that really plays into who publishers approve, though, because I’ve seen some blogs that get every ARC I get turned down for and they are always saying how their ratio is super low. My biggest complaint though is that the ARCs are often PDF and ePub and they’re super hard to read on my Nook Simple Touch. If you enlarge the print enough to really be able to read it, the format gets thrown off and sometimes sentences will be missing words, or words missing letters. It’s weird.

    • Carrie Slager

      Thank you! I talked to a few other bloggers when I started out on Edelweiss and I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t figure it out. NetGalley is at least easy to use, even if you don’t get certain ARCs.

      Yeah, I’ve reviewed about 100 books through NetGalley out of 101, so my ratio is quite good. I take my reviewing ratio very seriously, which is part of the reason why I got accepted for so many big name ARCs even when my following was smaller. At least the publishers could be 99% certain I’d actually review it.

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear about the formatting. They’re usually pretty good on my Kindle, except when there are pictures.

  2. Jemima Pett

    I keep seeing book revieweers saying they got them from NetGalley, but the one time I peeked I didnt think it was for me. Maybe my blogging has grown enough for it to be for me now… I should take another look. I’m currently getting to grips with LIbraryThing and Shelfari. There are just too many places to be, these days.

    • Carrie Slager

      Fair enough, Jemima. The thing about NetGalley is that after you post your profile you really don’t have to do much more legwork other than the occasional update of said profile. LibraryThing seems to constantly want maintenance so I gave it up and I haven’t even tried Shelfari. It just seems like way too much work for a hobby like my blog. But NetGalley I do because it’s very low maintenance. It all depends on you, though. It’s not for some people.

  3. charliegirlteachergirl

    I wholeheartedly agree that Edelweiss is a nightmare! I created an account and started searching for books during the summer, and gave up after one day. I couldn’t handle the disorganization and chaos. I don’t know how others do it.

    I use NetGalley, and I love it…except it can get too easy to request books. My only complaint is that usually the ARCS are in PDF format. The only items I like in the carousel on my Kindle are those I am immediately reading for review and then I can’t find these books because they don’t go into the book library, but into the documents…and I forget about them because I don’t see them with the books. My ratio is low, and my goal is to flush out many of my NetGalley books over the next year.

    • Carrie Slager

      Yes, that’s so true! I signed up because I heard bloggers raving about it and I couldn’t even find out how to fill out my profile. Edelweiss is a total nightmare.

      So, so true about requesting books. I haven’t really gotten into the pdf format problem. Most publishers I request from have .mobi copies and I don’t separate my ‘documents’ from my ‘books’ on my Kindle. Then again, I bought a pretty basic Paperwhite.

  4. carla914

    For an author, NetGalley’s best price is:
    1. Six-Month Title Listing = $349
    – $50 off listing directly with NetGalley

    2. Six-Month Listing, plus “IBPA Round-Up” Email = $499
    – $100 off listing directly with NetGalley

    The idea is that several bloggers will review with great review quality like yours, but most reviewers don’t actually write reviews. For example, I had over 100 requests for ARCs but only 5 wrote reviews. That’s a horrible ROI. Now that so many titles are free or .99c, the advantage of an ARC on NG is even lower. At a $0.34 cent return after royalties per title or zero if the title is free, ARCs on NetGalley make no sense in the long term. I can’t see the business model continuing in the future, especially for traditional publishers which must be absolutely STARVING. I expect changes in 2015.

    • Carrie Slager

      Thank you once again for an author’s perspective, Carla!

      I figured it would be fairly pricey, but what really shocks me is how low your review to request ratio is. NetGalley really does put an emphasis on a high review-to-request ratio so you would think more than 5% of your bloggers would actually write reviews. That’s just so odd to me. You get a better return on sales when I post a review for you!

      Huh. I wonder how NetGalley could be made a little more profitable. I guess we’ll have to find out.

  5. Don Maker

    As a self-published author, if I were to even consider paying that sort of fee for reviews, it would be through Kirkus, which has a much broader and more prestigious distribution for approximately the same dollars. However, that sort of marketing is not where I choose to spend my money.

    • Carrie Slager

      It all depends on the author. Kirkus is far more expensive than the NetGalley prices Carla gave above and with NetGalley you do get more reviews, but I see your point: a professional review may be better than 10 amateur ones. Like I said, it depends on the individual author.

      • carla914

        Good point, Don. I didn’t pay for Kirkus or Foreward for my other books and went with Readers’ Favorite and BlueInk because I had a discount. But the reach was small for BlueInk. RF was excellent quality reviews. For Starlet’s Man, I chose Foreward and NetGalley – a combined spend of $750 USD – very pricey (that’s 5 BookBub ads).

        We’ll have to see what my 5-star Foreward Review returns on the investment to compare NetGalley with Foreward. Both cost the same. On Amazon and B&N, the Foreward Review can go into a ‘special’ professional review section. The reach of the review is also greater from Foreward than the 5 NetGalley blogger reviews. But I like the intangible from both NG and Foreward that the word is getting out about the series.

        There’s about 4 million books on Amazon – that’s a lot of options for readers – and so many indies I’ve read lately have been great books!

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  7. Ashley

    I definitely prefer NetGalley over Edelweiss but I use both because some books are ONLY on Edelweiss (like HarperTeen books). But NetGalley definitely has the better, cleaner, and more user-friendly interface. Edelweiss is a disgusting mess!

    • Carrie Slager

      I’m not all that invested in any particular publisher, so you couldn’t really pay me enough to use Edelweiss. But I definitely understand wanting to get books that you’re quite invested in despite the disgusting mess that is Edelweiss.

  8. Lola

    I am a reviewer and have had a netgalley profile for a long time. Just like you I don’t like Edelweiss, In just can’t make sense of their site and I hate messy sites, so I just stay away. I do have a account, but don’t use it.
    I like netgalley, although some things confuse me now and then, like how you can’t read books anymore within a set amount of days. And sometimes they only have pdf files and I can’t read those well on my e-reader. I wish I would know that before requesting. But beside that I always enjoyed netgalley and it’s a great place to fidn new books.

    • Carrie Slager

      NetGalley is good but it does have its limitations. The set amount of days makes sense to read a book because publishers and authors have to pay to have their books up there for a set amount of days. The pdf files annoy me to no end. If you’re not going to provide a .mobi like every other publisher, well I don’t have to read your book. Only a couple of publishers do that and I stay well clear of them even though one used to be my favourite.

  9. Shannelle C.

    Edelweiss was a nightmare, and I don’t know how I eventually figured it out in the end. Edelweiss has more books, though, and it does remember me. I hate logging in every time I have to go to Netgalley. Overall, after figuring things out, I prefer Edelweiss. Netgalley’s selection is much more limited, and on Edelweiss, there’s the option to try again. I don’t use it a lot, but it’s nice to have the option to do so.

    In terms of appearance though, Netgalley wins. It’s user-friendly, the design looks so clean and modern, and I love how the review feature looks. But sadly, Edelweiss just has more books.

  10. Nordie

    I’ve been on Netgalley for several years now, and have a stupid amount of books left to read. I’ve certainly become more discerning about the books I request as at the beginning, I requested too many, and many of those that are ADE protected expired before I could read them.

    However – I was shocked at the low review return quoted above – it would be interesting to see if that was a standard return or not (I hope not, for author’s sake!). I would be embarrassed if I didnt at least attempt to write a review – which is perhaps why I’m “Top Reviewer” on the site, with approx 40% of my bookshelf still to read and review!

    • Carrie Slager

      I hope that’s not a standard review return either but it’s still odd because I do love Carla’s books!

      I really don’t understand why people would sign up for a site to get free books in exchange for reviewing them and then not review them. I get that sometimes you request too many books (I certainly did) but if people are batting below 50% I don’t see why they bother continuing with the site. You’re a reviewer, review! That’s my philosophy anyway.

      Really? I guess I can see why so many publishers approve me. I’ve read and reviewed over 120 books through NetGalley and even with the books currently on my shelf (5 I think) I have a 94% reviewing average. I think I’ve only ever not reviewed one book and that was because I didn’t know to write a note in the review section saying I wish I could have reviewed it but it was archived.

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