I’m on an ARC Ban

(Last Updated On: July 25, 2019)

Hi, my name is Kal and I have an ARC Problem. *Hi, Kal.* About two weeks ago, I put myself on an ARC Ban after I went a little download crazy on Edelweiss and added nine more ARCs to my already enormous pile. Because I have no self-control whatsoever. Literally, I think my words five minutes prior to the downloading spree were: “I am not going to accept any more 2019 ARCs.”

Last year, I implemented a rule that I would only request four ARCs per month to help balance my reading with my owned TBR (gotta give those backlist books some love!). This worked out really well for me for almost a year… until Slump of 2019. My reading this year is down, but that didn’t stop me from requesting/accepting/downloading ARCs. (This is the epitome of my aforementioned lack of self-control.) For my own mental well-being, I need to conquer ARC Mountain.

ARC Mountain (under which I am suffocating)

The worst thing in the world for a reading slump is feeling guilty about ARCs. I’m already a mood reader, which works in opposition to my Type A need to schedule every aspect of my life… but self-imposed pressure really exacerbates my slumps. It’s time that I conquer ARC Mountain so that I can get back to my carefree reading existence.

The Breakdown

๐Ÿ“š 7 past due ARCs/Finished Copies from authors/publishers directly
๐Ÿ“š 7 past due Netgalley/Edelweiss ARCs
๐Ÿ“š 24 ARCs spanning the rest of 2019
๐Ÿ“šย 2 ARCs for January 2020 releases

I want to take a moment to acknowledge my privilege for even getting myself into this situation to begin with. Because I am a blogger based in the United States, I am fortunate to have the access to ARCs (and books) that I do. Please know that you are still a valid reader and blogger if you don’t have the same access – the publishing industry has a lot of work to do to be more accessible worldwide. If you are an international blogger, check out the Flapping Pages ARC Program.


Thankfully I am not alone as there is a good number of us on a book buying/arc ban in the Bookish Collision Discord Server. I’ll be going there if I am feeling weak, and documenting my journey on Twitter via #KalsARCBan2k19.

I have the Netgalley Catalog and Edelweiss websites blocked on my browser. This way, I have a couple extra clicks and have to really think about my choices to go there.

I’ll be including an ARC Mountain section in my monthly wrap-ups to keep track of my progress. I am behind on my monthly hauls, but after my May/June/July haul goes up there had better not be any more 2019 ARCs in them! Or else!


Do you ever feel guilty about your past-due reviews, and does it negatively impact your reading mood? What do you do to prioritize your reading and ARC requests? Are you/have you ever been on an ARC ban?

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    July 24, 2019 at 9:44 PM

    What’s self control? I don’t know this. You’re definitely not alone, if Netgalley’s #Reviewathon is any indication! But either way, you’re doing great and you’ve had a rough year so far. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

    I used to feel SUPER guilty about being late, but after a certain point I guess I didn’t care as much? I don’t know. I’ve always tried to limit my ARC requests so I won’t fall into a horrible hole, but sometimes it doesn’t work and I put myself on a semi-ARC ban. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

    1. sepiareads

      July 25, 2019 at 5:20 PM

      I have unread ARCs on netgalley but not to make it overwhelming. I do feel guilty but I can’t read them if I’m not in the mood๐Ÿ˜ญ. I don’t go on Netgalley much because I know I’ll start requesting anything that looks remotely interesting. I wish you the best of luck on your ARC ban!

      1. Kal

        August 2, 2019 at 7:47 PM

        Yup, it isn’t good to force reading when the mood isn’t right… I never wind up enjoying the book, and that isn’t fair to the author. I tell myself it’s better to be late and give the book it’s best chance with mood alignment. Thank you~!!!

    2. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:16 PM

      It’s so funny, I didn’t know about the #reviewathon that NetGalley is running until after this post! But it DOES make me feel less guilty and not alone. and thank you! honestly, you telling me that I am doing great all the time really makes a difference. thank you

      I kind of stopped caring, which is partially why I got into this mess. Honestly most of my overdue ones are author copies I accepted early on, but I feel bad now that my slump has made the list worse. Bans work!

  2. Theelderbooks

    July 24, 2019 at 10:19 PM

    Good luck with all the ARCs ๐Ÿ˜‚ i’m actually very reasonable as I know myself and never have more than 20 books on my physical TBR and more than 5 on Netgalley !

    1. Tammy

      July 25, 2019 at 6:24 AM

      I feel guilty on a daily basis! So you’re not alone. I love that you have the strength to lock NetGalley and Edelweiss!! I don’t think I could do that…

      1. Kal

        August 2, 2019 at 7:35 PM

        It is so hard, but I knew it was better for me to block the sites altogether. I can still whitelist them whenever I want, but the extra step makes me really think about it first! Good luck with all your reading, Tammy!

    2. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:18 PM

      Thank you so much, and look at you with your reasonable TBR!!! I used to be so good, but I kept requesting thinking that my slump would end eventually… and it just kind of snowballed.

  3. dinipandareads

    July 24, 2019 at 10:23 PM

    This is a great idea. The self control struggle is real! The only ARCs that I allow myself to request on Netgalley these days are graphic novels because I know it’ll give me the break I need from longer reads and they’re quick enough reads that I won’t put them off until the end of days. Being a mood reader defo doesn’t help!

    I’m also with you re. the guilt. The stress I feel with the mounting guilt does make me feel restless but it also pushes me to pick up a whole bunch on my list and work through them. But then I stop again and it’s kind of like a cycle lol

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:19 PM

      Graphic novels are a great idea to break things up, I tend to want to pick them up for a palate cleanse between reads sometimes or to try and banish a slump! Mood reading is so hard, like I can’t even really make TBRs because I feel guilty when I don’t read the books and then just don’t read at all. Brains are weird.

      Good luck!

  4. Kat @ Novels & Waffles

    July 24, 2019 at 11:19 PM

    I have yet to request a single ARC on Edelweiss for this very reason. I know if I start, I won’t ever be able to stop (also because I have yet to figure out their website haha derp). ANYAYS, good luck with your ban, Kal! YOU CAN DO ITTTT (imagine me saying that in my best Shia LaBeouf voice haha). You are amazing and I believe in you! ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:21 PM

      (Actual. Cannibal. Shia LaBeouf.)

      Edelweiss slowly won me over and now I love it more than anything! But seriously, I cannot be trusted. The only reason that I think this ban is working so far is that I have all the 2019 arcs I want except for one lol. THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING IN ME

  5. Meeghan reads

    July 25, 2019 at 2:22 AM

    Yes!! Basically any book (including ones I’ve chosen for a read-a-thon) go into my ‘I have to read it, so now it’s a chore’ pile and then I basically never want to read them. I am the WORST person ever. Unless the book arrives and I’m still hyping it, in which case I tend to read it straight away…

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:23 PM

      We can be the worst together! And that is why I don’t do readathons or TBRs, once I ~have~ to read and it is decided, I don’t want to do it. I am a mood reader through and through. Which sucks sometimes…

  6. Vinny @ Artsy Draft

    July 25, 2019 at 3:52 AM

    I think I’ve been drowning in overdue ARCs for months (I’m trying my best, though!). I try to have a better self-control but I don’t think I’ll have enough courage to block NG/E+ on my browser, so props to you Kal! And good luck! WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:31 PM

      You are doing wonderfully, Vinny, and you will get your list down in no time! And the blocking websites was a necessity for me, like I have a genuine problem.

  7. El

    July 25, 2019 at 5:15 AM

    I get this! Iโ€™m on a book buying ban but a week or so into it my mum was like shall I buy you a book? And, like, how could I say no?!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:32 PM

      You never say no to book gifts, haha! In my world, gifts don’t count against book buying bans but I know what it is like to have so many unread books on your shelves that they plot your demise while you sleep. Good luck to you and happy reading!

  8. Kayla @ Books and Blends

    July 25, 2019 at 6:03 AM

    I am being suffocated by my ARC pile! I need to go on a ban as well! Can I block NetGalley on my computer because my self control is trash.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:34 PM

      Giiirlll, you sure can! I use a Chrome extension called Block Site, and it is pretty cool. I actually have NetGalley blocked too, but just the part of the site where you look for titles, but Edelweiss I had to block the whole thing. Good luck, fellow person with no self control!

      1. Kayla @ Books and Blends

        August 5, 2019 at 10:31 AM

        I am definitely looking into that extension!

  9. Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts

    July 25, 2019 at 7:18 AM

    I had this struggle last year … I always felt guilty saying no … so I would accept literally ALL review requests. Now, I’ve become MUCH better at really contemplating if I want to read a book or not.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:37 PM

      I never had that problem, but I can definitely understand how that would happen! I feel bad for saying no, but think of it this way – if you aren’t sold on the book’s premise, you probably won’t like it and won’t review it favorably. There’s a reader for every book!

      1. Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts

        August 3, 2019 at 6:57 AM

        That’s how I started to think, making me realize that I’m ACTUALLY helping the author out in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Kal

          August 3, 2019 at 3:26 PM


  10. Sam || Fictionally Sam

    July 25, 2019 at 7:37 AM

    The struggle is intense fam, but I am so proud that you are taking on ARC mountain and making it your bitch! 10/10 would recommend. YOU GOT THIS!!!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:38 PM

      I SHALL CONQUER ARC MOUNTAIN! Thank you so much my friend!

  11. Nerd Narration

    July 25, 2019 at 8:17 AM

    I LOVE how transparent you always are, Kal! I know a lot of people always say they’re “behind on arcs,” but it makes me feel better actually seeing the numbers people are talking about when they say that. I feel less alone after reading posts like this and I’m confident we both can win over our arc TBRs. And that’s from someone who also went NUTS on that Macmillan/Edelweiss day. <3

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:39 PM

      Awe, thank you Taylor! I never really thought about the transparency aspect of this, because I don’t see a reason to hide the numbers other than not wanting to make people feel bad (which I get). We will beat our ARC Mountains, and the Macmillan gods will smile upon us in triumph!

  12. Phantom Paper

    July 25, 2019 at 9:14 AM

    Gosh ๐Ÿ˜– I’m sure this ‘same boat’ we’re in is actually a Titanic b’cuz there are waayyyy too many of us! My ARC mountain feels like Mt. Kilimanjaro ๐Ÿคฏ I’ve managed to stem the requests to a trickle(had a download spree, too! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Probably for the same reason, that we were put on auto-approval for Macmillan? Still can’t blve that happened! My very first auto-approve publisher!). I’ve stopped myself a couple of times from clicking on the Review Copies section on Edelweiss, I won’t miss what I don’t see, right ๐Ÿ˜น

    I’m totally behind you on this quest, Kal ๐Ÿ’ช Hut-hut, let’s do this!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:41 PM

      WE ARE SINKING FAM, better play upbeat string music to keep people calm! And yay for you on the Macmillan auto approval (that got me too!)!!! The copies will always be there, I keep telling myself that. Stay strong, we got this!!!

  13. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    July 25, 2019 at 9:28 AM

    Great post, Kaleena! Psh, self control with requesting ARCs? What a concept! Haha! I have no restraint when it comes to requesting ARCs, and have fallen into a bit of a hole myself. I don’t know how to get through all these books! Ahhh! It honestly does make me feel anxious when I have so many ARCs to read, and it’s discouraging whenever I see how many I have that are past due.

    I hope you’ll be able to knock out all those ARCs, Kal! If anyone can do it, it’s you! <3

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:43 PM

      Self control?! WHAT’S THAT!?! You can get through those reads though, just one book at a time! I hope you are able to read & enjoy them, and the guilt goes away. Backlist reviews are still awesome, and I kind of feel like it may be better because publishers stop advertising their books once released it seems. You got this!

  14. Realms of My Mind

    July 25, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    I was JUST having a conversation on Twitter about similar struggles! I’m the kind of person who feels incredibly guilty if I don’t read an ARC by a release date, so I’m trying really hard not to request anything more this year except Absolute Must Have….and then I log on and there are three new books that aren’t quiiiiite Must Have but they’re very shiny, but I have 18 ARCs “due” over the rest of the year and I really don’t need more but SHINY.

    It doesn’t help that, as a girl on a budget, ARCs are how I manage to keep up with new releases, so if I don’t get the ARC now, when will I be able to buy the book? I save my wallet, but AT WHAT COST TO MY SOUL??

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:45 PM

      SHINY books get me every time, it doesn’t help that this fall has SO MANY AMAZING RELEASES! Seriously I think September is going to kill me. And my wallet. You definitely can stave off the growth of the ARC Mountain though! Last year I found it really helpful to prioritize 4 titles for arcs per release month (because usually I can read 8 books+ a month) and it allowed backlist reading. It just got bad when the slump came. Good luck to you and your soul!!!

  15. Becca Leighanne (Bex)

    July 25, 2019 at 11:26 AM


    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:45 PM


  16. Shruti

    July 25, 2019 at 7:06 PM

    YOUโ€™VE GOT THIS, KAL! โค๏ธ

    I live in India, but Iโ€™m privileged enough to receive advance copies from publishers every month. And. I. Have. Zero. Self-control. Theyโ€™re certainly not unsolicited copiesโ€”they always check with me before sending books. But how am I supposed to resist when the books sound hella good?

    And meanwhile, my unread backlist books are wasting away on my bookshelf like a child from Victorian England.

    I donโ€™t know if I can ever pull off what youโ€™re doing, but I can certainly cheer you on from the sidelines. So you go, Kal! You can do it! And then teach me your ways. ๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:50 PM

      Thank you so much, Shruti!

      I am so excited to hear that you receive review copies! I’ve heard that there are offices in India for a couple of the Big 5? And the fact that SO MANY AWESOME BOOKS Are coming out makes it so hard to curb the “I want all the books” mentality!

      You’ll conquer your reads, too. I know it!

  17. Annemieke

    July 25, 2019 at 9:31 PM

    Haha good luck Kal. I was not going to get more arcs from Netgalley but then I got approved for all the good things and you know… Now I have a bunch to get through. Oh well. I’m mostly on track so.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:52 PM

      I feel like NetGalley and/or Edelweiss KNOW when you are at your weakest! I swear, I was doing so good and then Macmillan auto approved me and I uh, went a little download crazy. It’s fine, I’M FINE, the books will be read eventually. Hahaha

  18. abookwormundercover

    July 26, 2019 at 12:21 AM

    I’m very new to book blogging so have never requested an ARC before, even though I reeeaaallly want to, but I have a feeling I would let it get out of control too!! Good luck with ARC Mountain

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 7:55 PM

      Awww, welcome to the book blogging world! I think ARCs are great, but it is easy to get overwhelmed. If you haven’t already signed up for NetGalley, you should! Just know that the feedback ratio is brutal to correct when you first start out, so be careful to not over request.

  19. TheCaffeinatedReader

    July 26, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    I definitely feel guilty about being late, but then I forget the feeling and do it all over again haha. But I will say I’ve really become a bit more selective, I finally finished reading the ones for July on time and I play on doing the reviewathon to get my August ones knocked out, which I was pretty good about, but, I know in general I need to think of a system that I can actually adhere to, because it does kinda put me in a funk when I get behind.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:00 PM

      I definitely think the more we all blog the better we get at intuiting the books we will enjoy the most and being more selective. Funks suck, and I need to rethink my strategy to account for slumps – I didn’t expect to not be reading as much this year. You can do it, good luck with ARC August!

  20. bookedunicorn

    July 26, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    Yes…i am on a ban and i have actually stopped requesting although i made exceptions for some which i’m currently reading, my problem now is that i have read some of the books and then i forgot to right the review so now every time i seat down to write it i am like wth am i going to say.

    I hope to clear the ARC Mountain before the end of this year too.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:02 PM

      Good job on sticking mostly with your ban, that is awesome! Bummer on the reviews though, I kind of have the same problem right now… after I finish my current read I need to knock out the 4 reviews before even my notes won’t save me, lol. Good luck with your ARC Mountain!

  21. waytoofantasy

    July 26, 2019 at 4:07 PM

    You can do it, Kal! I know it seems like a lot, but every time you get one more checked off your list, you’re going to feel so great. Can’t wait to watch your progress!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:03 PM

      Thank you so much, Lisa! And I know if I just STOP ADDING MORE BOOKS that I will be able to knock these out before the end of the year. Woooo!

      1. waytoofantasy

        August 3, 2019 at 4:33 AM

        Bookblogger goals!

  22. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    July 27, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    I also forced myself to only get 4 ARCs a month… but then I requested figuring I wouldn’t get any and in June a pile of books fell on me. So I’ve had to prioritize reading even more hahaha. I’m not behind yet but i can totally understand how reading slumps make it impossible to stay on target. You can totally do this Kal!! โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ Amazing that you blocked the sites.

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:06 PM

      I can’t tell you how many times that will happen to me! “I am going to request these but there’s no way they will be approved” and then all of them are approved and I am crying happy tears. Reading slumps are ruining everything, and I will conquer them! Good luck to you on all your reading, Dani! We got this!

  23. Rain

    July 27, 2019 at 11:12 PM

    THIS POST IS A HUGE MOOD. I have also put myself on an ARC ban a few months ago but sometimes I still can’t help but request some books on edelweiss (couldn’t help requesting infinity son afshsj). But at least now I’m learning to control myself because more often than not, reading ARCs puts me into a reading slump. This is why I stopped reading ARCs for a couple of weeks and reread old favorites instead to refresh my reading jazz. I still have a lot of ARCs to go through but I believe I can conquer them all by the end of the year (at least the 2019 ones).

    Good luck on your ARC ban, Kal!

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:08 PM

      I am sorry to hear that arcs put you in a slump, is it because you are reading them when the mood isn’t right? That’s what happens to me, and mainly why I let pub dates pass because I know it isn’t fair for me to force a book when my mood want something else. I try to pick them up when the mood is right, but my moods have been wonky!

      Good luck to you, you got this Rain!

  24. Dany

    July 28, 2019 at 7:01 AM

    I am under an ARC ban. I don’t have any physical copies since I’m international. But my self control which is pretty much non-existent , gets so many ARC on NetGalley and Edelweiss.(and the publisher auto approval is just my curse + blessing)

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:11 PM

      You can do it, Dany, I believe in you!

  25. DB

    July 28, 2019 at 7:36 AM

    ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ I…uhm…yeah… BLOCKED Netgalley and Edelweiss after I crashed hard on my arc ban so I feel this with a harsh, harsh pain. But you know, Reviewathon and Arc August is coming up! And Iโ€™m gonna be productive with my bullet journal ๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:12 PM

      I love you DB, but you def need to keep those sites blocked so Soph doesn’t continue to punish you lol! I believe in you though, and this is the perfect month to catch up!

  26. DB

    July 28, 2019 at 7:39 AM

    ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ I…uhm… BLOCKED Netgalley and Edelweiss after I crashed and burned and thus broke my arc ban but I am once again back on it, Iโ€™m guessing? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ and luckily Reviewathon and Arc August is coming up and Iโ€™m ACTUALLY going to make use of my bullet journal so ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

  27. shanayatales

    July 30, 2019 at 12:50 PM

    I came across your site through the list of nominees for the book blogging awards, and am so glad I did!
    And especially because I landed on *this* post. Because, hello I’m Shantala and I have an ARC problem too.

    And much like you, I have blocked NetGalley too, but honestly it only works half the time. More often than not, I request/download a book faster than I can talk myself out of it. Sigh.

    Anyway, I’m glad to have found your blog. Followed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 8:52 PM

      Aww, thank you so much for checking out my blog, and what a great post to land on first! *hi Shantala!*

      Blocking the sites worked for me because it eliminates the random hunting for books, and the act of having to whitelist usually makes me think twice. But uh, not always. Haha. Good luck with conquering your ARC Mountain!

  28. northernplunder

    July 31, 2019 at 2:23 PM

    yep! now that yalc is over im on my arc ban too, i really have to focus on what i have so i can stop feelingso guilty.

    heres to a fab august for you

    1. Kal

      August 2, 2019 at 9:00 PM

      you can do it, Lauren! Have a fab reading month, love!

  29. Shruti

    September 13, 2019 at 5:19 AM

    I have no self-control whatsoever and ARCs always impact my reading mood. I have a whole load of backlist books but I canโ€™t read them because I need to finish my review copies. Ugh.

    1. Kal

      September 16, 2019 at 12:39 PM

      Ugh, I feel you my friend! I am trying to remind myself it isn’t the end of the world if I review late and that it is better if I read & review when I am in the mood for it. A good example is The Waking Forest, which I tried to read back in March prior to release but just wasn’t feeling it. I read it last week and had a better reading experience (plus the patience to allow the narrative to settle in).

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