A Question of Price and Worth: Rowling’s Forthcoming Adult Novel
Given the fluctuating landscape of the publishing world, a lot of things are uncertain. Right now, for some people, self-publishing is a wonderful, viable option. For others, the traditional route is the way that works best for them. There are people on either side who proselytize either far end of the spectrum. Forget those people. Forget everything, right now, except the business of bookselling or buying.
This morning, J.K. Rowling’s announced the name of her new novel, and it sounds intriguing. The premise interests me. And I thought, maybe I’ll read it.
Except, then I saw the price. $35 for the print novel and $19.99 for the ebook. Do you know how many frappuccinos that can buy? So, I decided that I’d really rather spend my money on something else, something like food or coffee.
To me, that’s simply too much money to pay for a book that isn’t out-of-print or very old. I’ve purchased first editions of Paradise Lost for that amount. I’m certainly not comfortable shelling out that kind of cash for a book that’s got a perfect spine.
My question, though, is something I posed on Twitter: WHY? It is, of course, most likely about the money. And there are people, judging by the responses I’ve seen, who will gladly pay it. But I have a problem with it, which I’m not exactly certain how to phrase. It almost feels like taking advantage of a reader base. Knowing that fans will pay that much money for a book, it seems wrong. Granted, yes, as a writer – a person wants to make a profit. Sure, it’s all for the love of writing, but a girl’s gotta eat. And yet, I find this whole thing unsettling.
Of course, there’s always the one jerk who sees the pricing issue and starts bashing Harry Potter, citing that books don’t sustain you.
*blinks* No, that’s the exact opposite of true. Sure, you probably won’t gain much nutritional value from NOMing on the pages of Mockingjay, but there are different kinds of sustenance that we all require. You need to feed your passions, your soul, your mind, and your heart. Yes, it’s difficult to do on an empty stomach, and that’s not what I’m suggesting. I simply think that it’s important to tend to all areas of the self, instead of ONLY the gnawing pit that it your stomach. It’s called balance.
Honestly, I didn’t read the whole Harry Potter series. I didn’t really like it. (Put the stone DOWN.) I didn’t like the Twilight series either, although I did read that all the way through, because I’m masochistic. Finally, 50 Shades isn’t my thing – not for the sexual content, but because I do not enjoy the writing. Give me Neil Gaiman, Deanna Raybourn, Jim Butcher, Delilah S. Dawson, Libba Bray, Holly Black, Cassie Clare, George R.R. Martin, Jim C. Hines, Ted Hughes, Nick Hornby, and a whole heap of other authors. These are the writers that current feed my soul, piquing my creativity and curiosity. These are the people (and others I’ve left out – I’m sorry! I need more coffee) who sustain my inner workings.
J.K. Rowling doesn’t do it for me. Okay. No big. She does for many other people. And if her books get people to READ? FINE BY ME. (Hi, Ross.) While I may choose not to buy Rowling’s book, and instead by coffee from The Strange Brew, that doesn’t mean I won’t buy the next Tahereh Mafi‘s book, or Liz Norris, or Sean Ferrell’s. Because you can bet you dictionary that I’m so there. 9 times out of 10, the first that I want to buy is a novel. I’ve got a STACK in the corner, and that’s irrelevant. In the timeless words of the plant from Little Shop, “FEEEEEEEED MEEEEEE, Seymour!”
I think that $35 is entirely too much for a novel, but that’s my choice. I could always do something CRAZY, and borrow it from the library. Libraries are cool, kids. Remember that.
Now, good night, Westley. Good work. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.