Quick ABCs of the ARCs1) ARCs are available to create buzz for the upcoming book. Please be aware that publishers provide them hoping that you'll talk about it with your patrons and post online reviews.
2) In some cases (like Netgalley and Edelweiss), they have a form that you should fill out for the publisher. You can provide the link to your online review (blog, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.) or you can just write a few quick words to the publisher (I always tell them what I think are the strongest parts of the book and that I'll be sure to recommend this book to the right reader).
3) The more you do this, the more your ARCs requests will be approved. Please note, in many cases, publishers ask for feedback BEFORE the book's published date -- and many will set their e-book to expire on that date.
Digital ARCs* Netgalley. Publishers post their ARCs, you request the ones you want, and you'll be notified which publishers approve you. I've had a lot of great luck here with receiving the books I've requested.
* Edelweiss. It is a little more complex than Netgalley and they're more particular on who they send copies to, but it works on the same idea.
* Library School Journal's SummerTeen Virtual Conference. It is a virtual YA Literature conference with author talks and publisher tables. You can go around to the different publishers and download a lot of e-books immediately! Even better, they don't limit the copies to a certain number of people and some of these books are not set to expire by a certain date.
Giveaways and Contests* Goodreads.
* Publisher Newsletters. Most publisher newsletters will include offers to send both digital and print copies. Check out EarlyWord for a list of publishers and how to get on their newsletter list.
* List Servs. Occasionally, publishers will advertise on the electronic discussion lists, like the YALSA-BK.
Printed ARCs* Conferences/Trade Shows.
- A lot of vendors will offer ARC copies at their tables. The easiest way to spot them is to look for soft covers that clearly state they are an ARC copy on the front or near the title page. They will also have warnings on it like "Not for resale!".
- However, please note: only take a copy if you are going to provide a review. These are more expensive than a hardcover since publishers print so few of them.
- You can find the list of ARCs published in the Library Journal and School Library Journal about a week before each each major conference.
- Bring business cards with you. If a publisher runs out of a particular ARC, they will often be willing to mail a copy to you after the conference (Thanks, Tony Hirt, for the tip!).
* Ask Your Vendors' Representatives. Ingram and Baker & Taylor do send ARCs, if requested.
* Contact Publishers Directly. EarlyWord also lists how to contact publishers (Adult and YA/Children books), though don't forget your local small ones. You can also contact those who participate in the Reader Advisory Webinars.
* Local Independent Booksellers. Ask them for their copies of ARCs when they're done. It might be a great way to start a collaboration, especially since ARCs cannot be sold.
* BookExpo America. If you want a lot of ARCs, the annual BEA is the place to go!
ARC Sharing Between Librarians* YA Lit Google Group. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/yalsa-arc-share
* Goodreads ARC Swap. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/46799-arc-swap