On Business: Advance Copies
Historically, that meant getting a handful of one-off galley copies and physically mailing them to the New York Times book reviewer or whomever. Which meant that small and independent publishers couldn't really do this because (mostly) it was too expensive to be practical without a large publisher behind it. Once the prospect of making a book availability digitally came along, it obviously became much more cost-effective to send copies out to even smaller outlets. And, with an increase in the number of outlets as well, there rose a greater demand for this type of thing.
I'm wondering, though, how much it actually helps. For every advance copy that is sent out, even electronically, how much of an increase in sales can publishers point to? If I review a book here, does that actually lead to an additional sale? Well, I'm pretty insignificant as far as reviewers go, so probably not. But what about a review that shows up on The Beat or CBR? How big does a reviewer have to get to start generating additional sales? And at what point does it make sense to ensure that a reviewer gets physical copies instead of just a PDF? Has anyone done any studies or actual research on this? I'm curious how much of this is science and how much of this falls under "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."