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Frequently asked questions about BookBrowse's First Impressions Program.

What is First Impressions?
First Impressions offers BookBrowse's members (who live in the USA) the opportunity to read and review books usually some months ahead of publication. The books sent are usually advanced reading copies (ARCs).

What is an ARC?
An advanced reading copy is a paperback version of a book produced some months ahead of publication so that copies can be sent to reviewers in advance.  Because ARCs are usually printed before the final proofreading there are likely to be minor differences compared to the finished book, such as occasional spelling errors and differences in formatting.

Why are these books being offered?
Publishers value the opinions of well-read individuals such as BookBrowse's members. Early reviews from real people help publishers confirm or adapt their marketing plans for the book in question, and decide how and who to promote it to.

In addition, BookBrowse's many visitors find the reviews of people like themselves very helpful. In fact, many purchasers actually value reader reviews higher than media reviews. Thus, both the publisher of the book and BookBrowse's many visitors look forward to reading the First Impression reviews at BookBrowse!

How does the program work?
Books are offered once a month, usually around the middle of the month with the offer staying open for about 5 days. U.S. based members are sent an email to let them know that the list is open. Eligible members request the book(s) that they are interested in by checking the box next to each book and then clicking submit.  BookBrowse allocates the books and informs those who have "won" that they will be receiving a copy shortly. Those in receipt of a book are encouraged to read the book as quickly as possible, preferably within 4 weeks, and post a short review at BookBrowse. 

I am a member but live outside the USA; why can't I take part?
Unfortunately, the U.S. based publishers who provide the books for First Impressions are not able to mail books overseas. This is partially because of the costs and logistics of doing so but primarily because publishers rarely hold rights to markets outside of their own country and thus are prohibited from providing copies to non-U.S. residents.

I access BookBrowse through my library's subscription, can I take part in the program?
At the moment, only individual members who have their own unique login and password are able to take part in this program thus it is not possible for people who access BookBrowse through a library subscription to take part.

How many books are offered each month?
We are usually able to offer between 4 and 6 titles each month, depending on the season, with about 100-200 copies in total.

How many copies of each book will there be?
There are usually at least 25 copies of each book on offer.

If I request a book, will I receive it?
There are almost always more people requesting a book than there are copies to send, so it is likely that you will not receive a book every time you request. However, we do our best to make the allocation as fair as possible, giving priority to those who have not received a book for some time over somebody who has received one more recently.

How do you allocate the books?
We try to allocate the books as fairly as possible, giving priority to somebody who has not received a book for some time over someone who has received one recently; and priority to those who have reviewed the books they received previously in a timely fashion over those who did not review the book (or did not contact us to opt out of reviewing - see more about opting out below.)

How often am I likely to receive a book?
Most members who take part in First Impressions receive a book about 3-4 times a year, but this is not guaranteed. Because we give priority based on when you last received a book, and whether you reviewed it in the requested time frame, new members are very likely to be sent a book the first time they request. Please note that the number of books you request has no influence on your priority order, so it makes sense to only request books when you see something that really fits and when you know that you'll have time to read it!

How will I know if I've been selected?
You will receive an email from BookBrowse once the form has been closed. Shortly afterwards you should receive your book by mail directly from the publisher.

How long will the form stay open for entries?
Usually about five days, however it does not make a difference when you select within the time period so don't feel you have to rush and signup as soon as you receive our email!

I see a book that would be perfect for my spouse or child, can I request it for them?
From time to time you may see a book that would be of interest to a member of your immediate family (such as a spouse or child).  If you do choose to request a book for someone else, please make sure that he/she does want to receive it and does have time to review it in a timely fashion. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the success of First Impressions lies in people reviewing the books they receive. Secondly, if you request a book and do not submit a review you will be lower down the priority order for future copies.

May I select more than one book per month?
Yes, but you are very unlikely to receive more than one book a month. We suggest you do not blanket a request for every book every month because it's simply not possible that all these books will appeal to you. If we see someone regularly requesting every book we tend to conclude that they are not being selective in their requests!

Can I prioritize which books I'd like to receive most?
Sorry, it is not possible to put in special requests.

I received an email saying I was going to get a copy of a book but it hasn't arrived. What do I do?
If a book does not arrive in a timely fashion, please contact us with your mailing address and we will check that the correct address is on file. Sadly, if a book does go missing in the mail it is unlikely that the publisher will be able to replace it as they order a limited number of review copy and once they are gone, they are gone. However, we will make a note to prioritize your request the next time ARCs are on offer.

Do I have to review a book if I request it? What if I don't like the book?
You are not obligated to review a book that you have been sent, and not responding in some way will lower your ranking for future copies. However, reviewing for First Impressions is supposed to be fun not work, so if you find yourself not wanting to complete a book for any reason, e.g. you simply don't like it or some life event has got in the way, just email us and we'll mark you off the list so you won't be penalized when next you request.

How do I know where to post my review?
The URL where you can submit your review will be included in the confirmation email you will receive if you are selected, and on a paper insert in the book.  Also, when you login to BookBrowse you will see a link at the top of the homepage reminding you that you have a book waiting to be reviewed.

What happens to the reviews I submit?
Reviews are posted at and shared with the relevant publisher who may post them on their website and elsewhere. BookBrowse checks all reviews before they are made visible to visitors in order to delete plot spoilers, correct spelling errors and so forth; but we never edit or suppress reviews because of negative comments.

What about my privacy?
The review form auto-fills with your first name, last initial and city. You can choose to override this to provide more or less information as you wish. Your email address is never shown automatically and we strongly discourage you from posting it. Your mailing address is given to the publisher for the sole purpose of mailing the book; your email address is not shared with any third party. 

How long should my review be?
We suggest reader reviews be around 50 to 100 words, and should rarely exceed 300 words. Please do not simply summarize the plot (plot spoilers will be removed), instead share your opinions. For example: Did you enjoy the book? Do you consider it good or bad, and why? Who do you think it would appeal to? Is it comparable to anything else you've read?

Can I post my review elsewhere?
Yes, please do! The publishers involved in this program would be delighted for you to help spread the word by posting your review elsewhere.

Can I keep the book after I read and review it?
Yes, you may, or you may pass it on to a friend.

Can I sell the book?
Please do not sell advanced reading copies - to do so violates the terms under which ARCs are provided to reviewers.

How do I become a member?
If you'd like to know more about membership click here.

I am a member, but I am having problems logging in/ I can't see the box to post my review/ the site isn't working properly with my login.
Login problems can almost always be solved by either deleting the temporary internet files on your computer or clearing your cookies. Please click here for our troubleshooting tips.  If these don't work please contact contact us.

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