Monday, June 21, 2010

In My Collection

I don't talk much about my collection of books; just that I have a lot of them.  But which books I do have is a complete mystery to me as well.  I have tried to keep track of them and it's easier said than done.  At last count, I had about 450 or so of them and they line four bookcases around my not-so-big office here at home.  The bookcases are full to the brim; and this includes the tops of the cases too!  So, really, I don't have all that much space for much.

But one of the most interesting types of books I do collect are Gallery Copy or ARC books.  These are books that are offered up to people to read and voice their opinion about before the real book is put out into the public arena of bookstores.  This is a big deal if you're chosen to have one sent to you; or if you stumble upon this offer in some way.  Most of the time, I've come across Gallery Copy books through Bookcrossing and jumped at owning a copy of a book that's not yet out there - that may have some chapters in it that the public copy may not - and I'll be able to
keep it in most cases.  A good example of this is 'The Gone-Away World' by Nick Harkaway.  I was offered to read the Gallery Copy through an online offer and I gave my PO box and received it from the UK.  Well, I read the first few chapters (that's all it takes really to figure out what it needs; other times, people read the whole book) and I found that there was just one thing bugging me from the start.  And so, I jumped online, found the website I was told about in the front of the book and explained in detail what was bugging me and how Mr. Harkaway could fix it.  I received a reply from the publishing company thanking
me for my input and that it was exactly what they were looking for; especially how detailed it was.
So, now I look for Gallery Copy books online as well as in second-hand shops.  You see, you're not actually permitted to resell these books as they're not real books to be sold to the public.  So, I buy them to keep them safe in my collection; and I have a good little lot of them now.  And what I do once I have the Gallery Copy book is wait for the real book to show up in public and purchase that too.  It's like having a matching set; and I keep them together - price tag and all - on my shelves.
The most interesting thing about the Gallery Copy
books is that more often than not, the cover of the one you receive won't be used in the public copy.  So, if you want to read a book nobody's read before, look around on publishing sites for Gallery Copies and if they'd like anyone to read them.  Or if you're in a second-hand shop, you will most likely find them there too.

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