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The chore of reading some titles on NetGalley (the rhythm of reading…).

27th January 2020

The chore of reading some titles on NetGalley (the rhythm of reading…).

The chore of reading some titles on NetGalleyBook bloggers are blessed with being sent copies of books for review, often before they are published. It’s one of the perks of the job. The book often arrives in the form of “book post” and it is delightful to find a hardback or paperback in the letterbox. Such a book is often an early form of its gestation. It may be an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) or a proof and these two forms often contain small errors (like the odd spelling mistake). Whilst you – as a blogger/reviewer – are reading, the book is also simultaneously being polished for publication and being made ready for its debut to the public. With experience, you know to overlook and ignore these small mistakes.

NetGalley is another way that publishers can offer books to reviewers. This is a platform that offers digital copies, suitable to read on Kindle or as a PDF on your computer. In this way publishers and authors garner a little advance publicity for the books which have been loaded onto the platform.

On NetGalley a blogger will request a book and, if approved, that book can be downloaded. But be warned – NetGalley is not a way simply to obtain free books. There is a reading score based on the number of corresponding reviews you post to the site. If your eyes are bigger than your reading appetite then you will soon fall into deficit and become stressed by the weekly reminders (which the good people of NetGalley diligently send out), informing you of the books still sitting on your ‘shelf’ awaiting a review. If you fail to publish reviews, your rating won’t be very good and consequently your requests for books are more likely to be declined. Review or be refused!

NetGalley is also often a vehicle that we, at TripFiction, use for the #TFBookClub. The publisher will approve our readers so that they can read the digital version of the current book club read. Once you have signed up with NetGalley (which can actually be a bit of a palaver) – you are good to go. So far, so good.

The chore of reading some titles on NetGalleyJust recently, however, we have downloaded and read a couple of books for review which have had a large fanfare on the site and which have been made available by some of the top publishers.

But…

Both books were a HUGE struggle to read. The formatting was all over the place. Sometimes the paragraphs were indented, sometime not. There were just a couple of words on one line and then a long gap where the sentence should have continued. The lack of capital letters for “I” (or for any letters that normally would be in capital letters) were jarring. The irregular               gaps           between words         were discombobulating (see what I mean?). It made for a ghastly reading experience.

It REALLY doesn’t have to be like this, we know, we have read many beautifully presented books on NetGalley.

The formatting, I have concluded, really does influence the reading experience. It has to be right! As your eyes drift from one side to the other and move down the page, there is a distinct rhythm of reading that makes for a pleasurable experience. It is relaxing, edifying, soothing. Chaotic formatting jars and breaks the reading rhythm and over 400 pages of jumble, it’s a pretty desultory experience, I can tell you. The two examples posted here (examples taken from two books) made for singularly tortuous reads.

Offering books on NetGalley may be a less expensive way of getting books out to a blogging audience but, publishers, this is not going to do you any favours. It feels like a cheapskate product and I, for one, will be sidestepping any further books that come downloaded looking like this. I will leave a review on NetGalley to that effect. I am aghast that this is actually happening. Authors, too, you may like to monitor how your work is being dished out for review.

And NetGalley – you may want to be more vigilant about what is being loaded to your site. You really don’t want a dumbed-down experience for the reviewers.

I bet you, the reader, are now left wondering which books these are. I will leave you guessing……. 😉 but if you read our blogposts carefully, you may well be able to guess!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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Comments

  1. User: Sabrina Accalai

    Posted on: 16/02/2020 at 5:59 pm

    This has happened to me so many times! Glad to see it’s not just me… Sometimes even chunks of words missing and huge gaps in a page. Whenever I’ve informed Netgalley they just said it’s my reader (I’m using a kindle!) and they didn’t do anything 🙁

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  2. User: lapsapchung

    Posted on: 27/01/2020 at 9:23 am

    I was recently sent a book for review in pdf format – not via netgalley, direct from the publisher – and I had to decline to review it. The font was absolutely tiny, completely unreadable on my kindle screen, and being pdf I couldn’t simply change the font size, I had to enlarge the whole page which meant scrolling horizontally to read each line so I kept losing my place in the text – and at the end of every page it pinged back to the original size and the next page had to be enlarged all over again. I got so bogged down in the mechanics of reading that I couldn’t follow the story and had to give up.

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    1 Comment

    • User: Joanne

      Posted on: 27/01/2020 at 10:06 pm

      A tip I was given recently in regards to a pdf is to email it to your Kindle with the word CONVERT as the email title. Somehow that sends it as a file you can read and change the font size as usual. Won’t work if it’s been sent directly from someone else of course.

      I’m kind of used to the Netgalley vagueries now but it can make things a bit tricky.

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