Rants 'n' Raves
I am, I freely confess, an avid reader. There are weeks where
I will, literally, read 3 or 4 books depending on my work and
travel schedule, however a trend seems to be appearing, at least
in the books that I read, that I find just a little annoying.
I recently (at the time of writing) read the fifth book in
the "Harry Potter" series, entitled, "The Order
Of The Phoenix". I was, however dismayed to see it come
out only in hardback. I have all of the Harry Potter books,
and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, but I think it is a real
metaphorical stab in the back the way this most recent book
has been released at such a relatively high price point.
The first 4 Harry Potter books, to my knowledge, were made
immediately available in paperback, priced (in the UK at least)
at £5.99 each. The fifth has been released only in hardback,
with a cover price more than double this amount. As an adult
with my own source of income, it falls to me to decide if I'm
willing to pay for it or not, but what about the literally millions
of children worldwide who have no choice but to bug the hell
out of parents to buy it for them - more importantly, what about
those who are on tight budgets, for which £13+ is a little
much to be splashing out on?
J. K. Rowling is probably one of the richest authors on the
planet. I am pretty sure she is the richest female author anyway,
and I was, franky, disgusted to see this happen with the pricing
of this latest book.
It is my opinion that this is simply an act of gross dis-loyalty
to her readers. I would expect that very few people have read
"The Order Of The Phoenix" as their first foray into
the world of Harry Potter. I would think that most people who
have bought and read it have done so as a result of reading
the first 4 books, and wanted to keep up with the adventures
of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid et al. These are the readers
who have remained loyal and supportive, and in response have
been charged more than double the normal rate for their "fix"
of Potter - and I think that is an abuse and frankly an insult
to those who have bought, bought and bought again.
This is NOT, however a tirade againt J. K. Rowling personally,
more a comment on a growing trend in the publishing industry.
I also read the vast majority of Star Trek books as they come
out, and have been similarly stung on a couple of occasions
by these books. A mini-series will be started, then once you
get to the 4th or 5th book in the series, the final conclusion
will be released only in hardback, again at more than twice
the price of the original books in the series - if you have
been loyal and bought each installment as it comes out - if
you have already spent a consderable amount on the books to
date, you're going to want to read the conclusion and the bumping
up of the prices on them is just abusive of that trust and loyalty.
Yes, I know writers are out to make a living, but I also know
that authors make a good living from paperbacks alone - to return
to the example of J.K Rowling, she was a rich woman well before
the 5th book came out. Peter David, author of the Excalibur
Star Trek series - you are just as bad. And there are others
too numerous to mention.
If you want an extreme comparison, it could almost be compared
to drug dealing... You start off cheap, getting the customer
insterested, and then, when they're hooked, you screw em for
every penny you think you can get.
This is annoying for another (admittedly vain) reason. I buy
books rather than borrow them from the library, as I often re-read
them. I keep these books (not surprisingly) on bookshelves,
and in some kind of sensible order. I like them to look tidy
- I like sets of books to LOOK like sets of books, but when
this price hiking happens, you lose the continuity. I have 4
Harry Potter books which line up nicely as a set, with similar
looking spines, then a comparatively huge 5th one which looks
completely out of place, and in no way "fits in".
What do I want to see? I want to see authors and publishers
show their readers some of the loyalty that their readers show
them. Not asking a lot, just asking them to treat us the way
we treat them....
I also know that, there is no chance of it happening - after
all - we're just the people that pay the wages - why should
we be important?