Can too much choice be a bad thing? It is a question as old as time but in certain cases, the answer is absolutely yes. Given the advent of e-readers and eBooks, there are more reading options than ever before. And one company looking to rectify this is NetGalley. Which is why it's high time to write a full NetGalley review.
NetGalley is self-described as the company that “helps books succeed.” But what is NetGalley, and how does NetGalley work? In this NetGalley review, we will break down exactly what NetGalley does, who would benefit from signing up, and if there are better options elsewhere.
This NetGalley Review Will Cover:
What is NetGalley?
NetGalley was launched in 2008 as a joint project between Firebrand Technologies and Rosetta Solutions. Since starting, NetGalley has subsequently expanded its roster of publishers and range of reviewers and has begun offering services to publishers in the UK, France, Germany, and Japan with more countries planned for the future.
What is NetGalley, exactly? They are a company that aims to help book advocates, authors, publishers, and industry professionals discover, promote, and recommend books to their audiences.
What Services Does NetGalley Offer?
How does NetGalley work? Put simply, there are two main pathways one interested in using NetGalley can go down.
NetGalley for Members
NetGalley helps influential readers discover and recommend new books to their audiences. If a potential user is a reviewer, blogger, librarian, bookseller, educator, journalist, or other member of the media, they can use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend books before they are published.
Their reviews and feedback are essential to publishers and other readers, as they create an evolving ecosystem that self-evaluates and improves over time.
Publishers tend to approve requests from members who have a history of providing feedback for books they have accessed and who can demonstrate their reach as early influencers or reviewers.
Members improve their chances of getting approved for more books by providing meaningful reviews, connecting their accounts to verified industry organizations, and linking to their blogs, social media accounts, and Goodreads accounts.
NetGalley for Publishers
How does NetGalley work for publishers?
Publishers use NetGalley to build buzz, receive feedback/reviews, and discover early trends in the industry. The NetGalley platform connects publishers with reviewers, librarians, booksellers, media, and educators who discover new books and recommend them to their audiences.
These book advocates and industry professionals can join and use NetGalley at no cost.
NetGalley is an industry-standard service that delivers secure digital files to approved readers and coordinates closely with publishers on targeted promotions to the hundreds of thousands of members using the site. Publishers receive requests to access their books from NetGalley members in exchange for feedback.
Publishers can also invite their own contacts to read their books using a pre-approved link. Members can access their approved books and audiobooks on the free NetGalley Shelf app, or other supported devices and apps.
In addition to offering a platform for publishers to connect with a vibrant community of readers and influencers, NetGalley also provides actionable data to help publishers draw correlations between their own efforts and reader engagement.
How Much Does NetGalley Cost?
While there is no charge for the member community to use NetGalley, publishers do pay a set-up fee and a monthly subscription rate depending on their number of active books or audiobooks on the site. They also offer a package for independent authors and work with marketing and PR firms, as well as other groups who manage book promotions.
The price for membership ranges from $450 for a six-month subscription, to $849 for a Marketing Plus plan.
What Books does NetGalley Promote?
A quick browse on their website reveals an enormous list of publishers categorized by A-Z that cover every imaginable genre, topic, and style. There are also a few featured books on their website of which a handful are included below to provide further insight into the types of books one can expect to find with NetGalley.
Oxford Star – Laura Bradbury
The Words We Lost – Nicole Deese
Emma of 83rd Street – Audrey Bellezza & Emily Harding
This Bird Has Flown – Susanna Hoffs
Seven Rules For Breaking Hearts – Kristyn J Miller
NetGalley Review: Pros and Cons
No NetGalley review would be complete without listing the perks and drawbacks of the company. So here they are!
Pros of NetGalley
Exposure: NetGalley provides access to a large community of readers, including bloggers, librarians, educators, and media professionals, which can help increase visibility for your titles.
Feedback: Publishers can receive valuable feedback from reviewers and readers before a book is officially published, which can be used for marketing purposes or to make improvements.
Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional marketing and distribution methods, NetGalley can be a cost-effective way to promote books and reach a targeted audience.
Analytics: The platform offers analytics and reporting tools that can help publishers track the performance of their titles and make informed decisions about marketing strategies.
Cons of NetGalley
Costs: While NetGalley can be cost-effective, there are still fees associated with using the platform, which may not be feasible for all publishers, especially smaller ones.
Reviewer Influence: Reviews on NetGalley can greatly impact a book's reputation, and negative reviews can potentially harm sales and future opportunities.
Overcrowded Platform: With so many books available on NetGalley, it can be challenging for titles to stand out and attract attention from reviewers.
Limited Shelf Life: Books on NetGalley are typically available for a limited time, so publishers need to ensure they have a strong marketing strategy in place to maximize exposure during this period.
Other NetGalley Reviews
Let's take a look at some other NetGalley reviews to see what users think of their services. These NetGalley reviews are unbiased and come from writers who have tried to use the company.
Here is one of the positive NetGalley reviews we found online:
As you can see, even the positive NetGalley reviews come with a grain of salt. And other NetGalley reviews aren't quite so glowing.
You can check out their full NetGalley review here.
Okay, so NetGalley reviews are a mixed bag. So what are some other options?
Alternatives to NetGalley
As is to be expected, NetGalley is not the only company offering such services. As there is a clear and genuine need to connect people with the books they may interested in, there are a number of companies offering similar services to NetGalley.
These include but are not limited to, Tor.Com, PenguinRandomHouse, BookSirens, BookShop, and BookBub.
All of the above come with various pros and cons and it would be redundant to break down all of them in full detail due to the extent of the different price points and features. However, it is worth saying that no one offering is identical to the other and no price point is exactly the same. Each potential user must do their own research after figuring out exactly what they want.
NetGalley Review – Final Verdict
In conclusion, NetGalley strives to solve a common and recognized problem in the publishing industry. However, there are a few things that should give pause to anybody considering signing up as a member.
Firstly, it is fair to say the website is basic, and there should be much greater detail on the benefits of the service and the exact options each member would have were they to sign up.
Secondly, there is a lack of testimonials or case studies. On top of this, a search online for independent reviews of NetGalley is distinctly mixed, which creates further doubt.
Lastly, while NetGalley for Members is free, NetGalley for Publishers is a paid service and there does not appear to be any insight into pricing. Often pricing is completely bespoke so it is difficult to know whether or not it is worthwhile to enter into discussions with NetGalley.
Ultimately then, NetGalley may well be a great service, but there simply is not enough transparency at present. Anyone considering the NetGalley for Members option is at a low risk due to the fact it is free. Those considering the NetGalley for Publishers option may wish to do some further research to see if any competitor is better suited to their needs.
Overall, we give the company 2 out of 5 stars.
If you are looking to promote your book, there are better ways to do it than with NetGalley. At selfpublishing.com, we help authors with book marketing and promotion – and can assist you in getting tens and tens of reviews at book launch. Schedule a free strategy call with our team today to learn more.