Dear YPG: ARC vs. Galley

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Dear YPG,

I really don’t know the difference between an ARC and a galley. Help!

That’s a great question, especially because at some houses, the terms are informally used more or less interchangeably. But there is a difference!

According to the AAP’s own Commonly Used Terms page:

Formatted in book form, bound galleys are generally produced after a manuscript has been typeset but before it has been proofread. These editions are used by publicists to send to book reviewers, distributors, and book clubs that like to see copies of books three or four months before their official publication dates. Some publishers classify books with full color covers as ARCs or AREs, and those with plain cardstock covers as galleys.

Our super-scientific poll of colleagues at various publishing houses pretty much agreed: both “ARCs” (Advanced Reader Copy) and “bound galleys” are early review copies of books, but a galley is a more basic version that is less expensive to produce. Bound galleys are made from the first typeset but uncorrected proofs of the book, and are sometimes meant mostly for in-house usage (for marketing, sales, publicity, sub rights, etc.), with title information sheets printed inside. You may also hear the first pass of unbound pages, printed for the author and editor to review, referred to as “galleys.” (Fun fact: all of this terminology comes to us from the earliest days of printing, when the printers reviewed proofs from type set into metal trays called, you guessed it, galleys.)

ARCs are basically the fancier version of the same thing: they include fully designed cover art, marketing and promotional copy, and any interior illustrations that will be included in the final book. ARCs may even include specs on the cover (e.g. soft touch lamination). ARCs seem to be becoming more common than galleys, though you’ll still sometimes see a plain-covered galley floating around.

Galley or ARC, publishers aim to have these advance copies available as early as possible in the publishing process to start getting the word out about the book both in and out of house. And in either case, we’re just glad we get to sneak peeks at so many new and upcoming books.

Dear YPG


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