Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Between the Lines: NetGalley and the Art of Self-Denial


I have been a NetGalley member for eight years, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I love it. Thanks to NetGalley, I can try works by new authors I may not otherwise have come across, I can read highly anticipated releases ahead of publications, and, in general, I have access to more books each year than I’d be able to afford to buy on my limited income. NetGalley essentially keeps me supplied with new reading material all the year through. However, it also offers another valuable service: training in the art of self-denial.

Have you ever been on NetGalley? So many pretty books! Kid in a candy store is a clichéd analogy, but it’s a good one here. The fact is, you can’t request everything that catches your eye. Well, maybe you could if you were someone who gets through a book (or more) per day. I read fast, but I only have around one hour per day, if that, to dedicate to reading, so an average-length book will take me two or three days to finish. Sure, you may not be approved for every book you request, either, but I find it best to work on the assumption that I will be. That way, I don’t risk being snowed under and finding myself unable to complete all the reads within the given timeframes. The way I see it, it’s a privilege to receive copies of these works for free, so the least I can do is give each book, and my subsequent review, my full attention and not overstretch myself.

So, now you’re mastering the art of self-denial and not requesting every book listed, how do you narrow it down? I take a twofold approach. First, if there’s one I am considering that is unlikely to be approved due to territory rights, I don’t waste my time, or the publisher’s, requesting it. In general, too, I only click the request button for ones in which I have a strong interest, and which I genuinely believe I am going to enjoy. Naturally, you can never be completely certain how you’ll feel about a book until you read it, but I wouldn’t request something if I can tell from the blurb that it won’t be my cup of tea. Occasionally I am on the fence about a title, and in those cases, I’ll only request if I don’t have too many others already awaiting approval.

Although I am a planner in many ways, I can also be compulsive when it comes to things like books and DVDs. Practising self-denial when on the NetGalley website has definitely helped train me to curb some of those impulse purchases, and that’s how NetGalley has been of more benefit to me over the years than just as a source of excellent reading material.

If you use NetGalley, how do you decide which/how many books to request? Have you ever learnt a life lesson from an unusual source? 

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