Anyone interested in reviewing books should know about Edelweiss, a free online catalog housing a seemingly endless collection of forthcoming and recently-released titles.
I can tell you what Edelweiss is, and I can walk you through how I use Edelweiss to select books for review. But the best way to really understand what’s available there is to take a look for yourself. It’s easy enough (and free) to create an account.
In the “Review Copies” tab, users can browse for books, link to in-depth summaries, see comparable titles, and access a host of other industry-related information. But best of all, the system makes it easy to request advanced reading copies and digital review copies of titles that look good. Some are immediately available for download to your Kindle or other device, while others require a quick note to the publisher (the system stores your standard message, something as simple as “I post reviews of literary and crime fiction for the 2.5k followers who read my blog at yadayadayada.wordpress.com” will do).
I’ve requested and downloaded almost 40 books in the last year and a half. I’ve reviewed about a dozen of these (some of my review copies come from other sources). So far as I know there is no penalty for requesting a copy and not doing a review (or, for that matter, for including negative commentary here and there). Between 90-95% of the titles I’ve requested have come within a few days. Some have taken a little longer, and only one request has been outright rejected.
Edelweiss describes itself as “a web-based interactive publisher catalog system that enhances or replaces the use of hard copy catalogs… Use of Edelweiss is completely free for booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and other professional readers.” Read on!