A bound galley is a book created for publishers and editors to review before the book is released to the public. They are usually sent out months in advance, similar to advance reader copies (ARCs). However, bound galleys are not for sale and cannot be sold or resold.
The term “galley” comes from the fact that these pre–publication books were once printed on large sheets of paper that had to be cut down and bound by hand. This was a time–consuming and expensive process, so only a limited number of copies were made. Bound galleys are produced electronically and can be easily mass–produced, although they are still expensive to print.
Publishers will often send bound galleys to reviewers, booksellers, and other book industry members to generate early buzz for a book. They may also be sent to libraries to generate interest and get the book onto shelves.
Bound galleys are usually perfect–bound, meaning they have a glued spine like a mass-market paperback. The cover is usually a printed version of the book’s actual cover, although it may be a generic placeholder. The pages inside are usually typeset and may even be the final versions, although there may still be some typos or errors.
If you receive a bound galley, it is considered a professional courtesy to review the book and return the galley to the publisher. Reviewers may be able to keep the book if they wish, but it is not expected.
The importance of bound galleys in books and publishing cannot be understated. They provide a way for authors and publishers to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality and meets all the necessary standards. Additionally, bound galleys help to protect against last–minute changes or errors that could occur during the printing process.