Hey everyone!! (Is it too late to acknowledge the new year? I’m afraid that I’d jinx it by saying Happy New Year, so instead let’s settle for best wishes for the new year.)
Yes, two exclamation points because I’m eXcItEd to share this with you. You know me, I love how-tos and hacks that make a bookworm’s life easier, and (as a university student) I love finding ways to pay for books with something else than money (aka effort and genuine reviews/promotion).
Before I start, an apology/disclaimer for intl. readers: The website this post is about) only works in the UK and Ireland. The alternative websites I’ll mention only work in the USA and Germany. Unless you’ve got an address in one of those countries to which the books will be shipped, these websites will still work for you as review platforms, but the ARC system won’t. I’m really sorry.
TikTok is a blackhole that absolutely destroys half of my days, but I can’t say the lost time isn’t worth it. My favourite community on the app is obviously #BookTok, and you won’t believe how many good recommendations and hacks I’ve been getting from there.
The most amazing tip I’ve gotten this far is by Drifting Dreamer, who recommends a website called Readers First to UK- and Ireland-based readers. The website basically organises giveaways for paperback ARCs.
But Readers First has a more complex and effective system than simply letting you rely on luck, so stick with me because I’ll walk you through it in this post. Alaina (the booktoker) also found US and German equivalents for readers based there.
Ready to be surprised?
Disclaimer: I am not sponsored or supported in any way by the mentioned websites. I just want to share some happiness with my fellow book lovers.
Disclaimer #2: I was going to post this a month ago but I wanted to double-check that readersfirst.co.uk was a legit website first, which… It is!! I’ll show you the book I recently got through them later in the post.
1- What Is Readers First?
If you’re part of the book blogging community, it’s quite safe to assume that you know about NetGalley and Edelweiss and are familiar with the concept: you request ARCs (usually eARCs) and hope to be approved to get a free book to read. In exchange, you’ll leave an honest review and maybe do some additional promotion on your blog.
Readers First is owned by NetGalley UK and it functions in a similar way, except… I don’t know, it seems more fun.
For starters, the ARCs you can claim are, for the most part, print copies.
2- How Does It Work?
Read the website’s own explanation here.
There are two ways to get free print copies on Readers First:
♡ The first one: instead of requesting ARCs, you can enter ARC giveaways every Monday. There’s usually one book on giveaway per week.
To enter, you need to read an excerpt of the book you’re interested in and provide a ‘first impression’ review (at least 700 characters). Winners are drawn on the Tuesday of the following week (my first giveaway was drawn on Thursday) and get an e-mail informing them of the win.
You then receive the print copy (unless the book was specifically an e-copy) in the mail and are expected to write a review when you’ve finished reading it.
♡ The second (and fun) one: Readers First has a merit-based points system. Every time you do a certain task (like review one of the books on the website) you will get some points (usually 100). Once you get to 2000, you can claim a free book among those listed in the weekly giveaway. You don’t have to enter the giveaway.
Read more about the points system in section #3.
- You don’t need to have a blog of your own to get ARCs from Readers First. You review on the website and get extra points if you copy that same review on Amazon/Goodreads/Waterstones/etc. (the more, the merrier).
- You are bound to get a free paperback at some point because of the points system.
- If you’ve already read a book featured on the website, you’ve got yourself an easy way to gather points!
- Shipping is free.
- Readers First only works with UK publisher, so the number of weekly ARCs on giveaway is limited.
- The website is quite recent, so it doesn’t have a humongous amount of backlist titles to review to accumulate points.
3- What Kind of Books does Readers First Feature?
In her video, Alaina says that she has won around 11 free books by using Readers First on and off for two years. Her wins include To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, The Wicked King by Holly Black, and Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly.
Readers First has also featured authors such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Samira Ahmed, and all those present on this page.
4- ASJDKSLFH- How Do I Collect Points?
There are many ways to get to the shiny 2000 that will assure you a free book. Here are the ones that Readers First lists on its points page.
|Writing a Review||100|
|Writing a First Impression||100|
|Posting a Review (get these points for EACH posting on a different retailer website, book review website, blog or social media platform) Points will only be added up to 3 months after publication date||100|
|Posting a Review on Amazon on the day of publication||300|
|Winning the favourite quote award||60|
|Use referral code on Sign-Up||100|
If you want a referral code to get more points when signing up, you can copy-paste mine.
- UK: 50438b9fa1baacb54
- USA: 35d29390f9cbf6f01
Thank you if you do 🙂
Bonus points I know of:
- 500 points when you sign up.
5- How Long Will It Take to Get a Free Book?
I am not sponsored nor supported by the website, so I can only tell you about my own experience.
Let’s do some maths together: if you sign up (+500), use a referral code (+100), and find at most 4 books you’ve already read on Readers First (+400), you can be halfway to claiming a free print copy in less than it takes Kevin Day to score in an Exy match. And that is assuming that you don’t win one of the giveaway books first.
I signed up during the Christmas holidays (they weren’t running a giveaway then) and won a book after the first giveaway I participated in. The gorgeous hardback came in the mail barely four day after I got notified that I had won it.
Book: The Long Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper.
6- Are There Non-UK/-Ireland Alternatives?
When asked if she knew of similar international websites, Alaina mentioned BookishFirst (USA) and Vorablesen (Germany). I haven’t used these so I can’t vouch for them, but they look like they work too. I’d love to know if you’ve tried them!
Like I said at the beginning of the post, I’m sorry for the international readers community. I didn’t live in the UK until five months ago and I know how discouraging it is. Maybe you can find something you like on these three websites to read books for free.
7- Does Readers First Have Social Media?
Social media are a simple way to keep up to date with websites that regularly update (most of all to remind you to apply every Monday). You can follow Readers First on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Here are three things I want to say about Readers First:
- I have tried it and loved getting a free print copy (including free shipping).
- It’s fun and you don’t have to be a blogger/booktuber/booktoker to get ARCs.
- Some of the books it features are impressive.
So yeah, I definitely recommend it to UK- and Ireland-based readers.
Did you know about Readers First? Are you going to try it?
Do you have more questions about the website itself? I’d love to help you find out the answers!
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