This one is for all of my librarian/bibliophile friends, but can also relate to my craft friends. Read on for further details!
In the library world a big part of the job is collection development. This involves painstakingly combing through review journal after review journal looking for the best upcoming titles. It's hard to blindly order something based on a 200 word review. We often order some titles based on a starred review. When title come in, they often do not live up to the hype. Another problem in the library world is recommendations or reader's advisory. No matter how much of an avid reader you are, it is impossible for librarians to read every single book in the collection. When new books come in we will get them slightly in advanced in order to process them (put labels and catalog them). It doesn't really give us enough time to suggest it to patrons right away.
Net Galley is here to help! It is a free service that allows you to browse their various titles and preview a book before its publication date. It's simple to navigate and they have a great selection of books! For my crafty friends they have craft and art books ready to be viewed!
How does it work? Log on to Net Galley and sign up for an account. Browse by keyword or by genre, then download a copy. This requires you to download Adobe Digital Editions, but don't worry that is also free. Many of the galley copies are also available for e-reader devices so you can read it on the go. After you are done reading a book you can write a review through Net Galley and it is sent to the publisher. Net Galley lets the reviewer keep the rights to any review you have written. So you can publish that review on your own. A little caveat to that, some publishers will email you and ask you to not publish you review until the book comes out.
You may also notice that titles will have an expiration date, which is usually 60 days. Its similar to Over Drive and e-book lending services, you only have the book for a certain amount of time before the file is removed. Hopefully you aren't a slow reader because 60 days is plenty of time.
I am signed up for it and currently reading two books from there. One is a crafty book called Knits for Nerds and the other is a graphic novel called the Coldest City. I think its such a neat idea and more librarians should take advantage! So if ya sign up and read something good I'd love to hear about it!