What’s Wrong with NetGalley & Edelweiss+?

NetGalley is one of my favorite ways to get books to read. You can request books that are going to be released, and in some cases that are already released, and see if the publishers will grant you access to the title.

Edelweiss+ is all right, but it isn’t my favorite. Part of the problem is that while Edelweiss+ and NetGalley have a lot of “exclusive” books, they also have a lot of overlap in the books they offer. In fact, there have been a couple of times where I’ve requested the same book on both platforms. With The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden, I was actually granted the book on both platforms. Usually I’m either declined on both or I get the book on one and not the other. I recently was given access to the sequel to Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood titled The Night Country on NetGalley but I was denied access to it on Edelweiss+.

So what’s wrong with them? Well, the simple fact that publishers aren’t required to actually respond to eARC/galley requests within a particular time frame. On both NetGalley and Edelweiss+ I’ve had books sit in “requested” status for months… right now I have two on Edelweiss+ that were requested 40 days ago. I have one on NetGalley that I requested in August 2019 and the publisher still hasn’t responded.

I get that publishers are busy. I understand that the person responsible for putting the books up on NetGalley and Edelweiss+ are very busy. But, they need to ensure that they are actually responding to requests for their eARCs/galleys. Readers shouldn’t be requesting books only to have those books sit on pending for months on end.

I have a couple of solutions that might work, but I’m sure there are other ways to handle it. The first idea is that publishers have a specified amount of time in which to respond to a request. We’ll say ten business days. If the request hasn’t been responded to in that time, the book automatically becomes available to the person who requested it. Now, because some publishers limit the number of people who are allowed to receive the book, this may not work for all publishers, so the other option is that a “time out” message is sent to the requester, telling them that the publisher didn’t respond to their request before the deadline so their request as been canceled. Then, the title would reset, allowing the requester to request the book again.

The other idea is to just set it up so that books are available to every requester on a first-come-first-serve basis. The publisher sets a number of times a particular book can be downloaded and the book disappears from the catalog once download limit has been reached.

Either of these ideas would help cut down on the amount of people waiting to hear back from publishers about books. I’m not saying that we are entitled to the books, but if we take the time to request the books, we are entitled to an answer within a reasonable time frame. It shouldn’t take over a month to tell someone yes or no, they can’t read a particular book through NetGalley or Edelweiss+.