Hint: I’m pretty sure they are …
It was late – I should have been climbing into bed. Instead I was doing that final round of evening chores that I’m always sure will take fifteen minutes, and always takes an hour.
I was listening to Q, and there was an interesting interview with Chuck Klosterman about his new book, But What If We’re Wrong? and it resonated with me, because I’ve wondered this too, and Father’s Day is coming up, and I thought the book might resonate with my dad (and also with my uber-inquisitive son, who is young enough that in his lifetime he’ll look back on things we believe now and go, really? Really?)
I made a mental note to look it up this morning, and I actually remembered to do so – which is a small miracle – and all the while I was thinking Tudor, you know what you’re going to find. This is a pointless exercise. You’re not going to end up buying this book. But a silly, optimistic part of me thought, Maybe they’re learning, and Maybe it’ll be OK, and Maybe this will be a nice, extra gift.
Until BOOM, I saw that no, I was very much right, and the print book is available in hardcover only, for $30.00, and the Kindle book is $15.99 and, I’m sorry Dad (because now he’s going to know that I decided not to spend this on him) it’s just too much money.
On principle, you understand. I will, of course, spend that much money – and far more – on gifts for the men in my life, but think about this gift. Think about this book.
It’s a neat idea. It’s quirky. It’s a bit mind-bending. I like it. But I’m taking some chances. I’m taking the chances that:
– Other people who I might buy it for also think it’s a neat, quirky idea – not a silly, pointless one.
– Maybe the discussion on the radio was the most interesting part of this idea – maybe what’s expanded upon in the book isn’t really much more interesting?
– Maybe the author’s writing style – through nobody’s fault – doesn’t resonate with my dad, or my son, or my husband, or whoever I gift it to.
Once you get past all those chances, the reality is, even if the recipient very much likes it, it’s not likely a forever book. It’s probably not a put-on-your-shelf-or-your-coffee-table-and-keep-for-the-rest-of-your-life book. To me, for my purposes, it’s not hardcover-worthy. A paperback would do just fine so it can be read, and passed on, with no guilt.
But the publishers don’t want to let me buy a paperback just yet. It’s strategy, you see. They don’t want me to spend, say, $15 on the book (which would have been $30, because I would have bought two copies) right now. They want me to spend $30 per copy. Which I’m not willing to do. And, to punish me for not following their desired buying pattern, they’ll make me wait for an unspecified number of months before I get a crack at the paperback.
Remember when I told you it was a miracle that I remembered to login this morning and look up this book after hearing about it last night? What do you think the odds are that on some random day in four months, I’ll look it up again to see if it’s out in paperback, and I’ll still be interested enough – when Father’s Day isn’t coming up – to buy it?
I can tell you now – slim to none. Probably none.
As to the Kindle edition. $15.99. That’s all I’ll say. $15.99 to have an electronic license to read something that you don’t really, truly, actually own. That you can’t lend to a friend, or pass on to a charity book sale. $15.99 for something that didn’t cost the publisher any printing, or warehousing, or distribution costs. $15.99. I don’t think so.
This I will say for sure – 100 per cent – if this book comes into our house in the future – in either digital or print form – it will be from the library.
And who’s fault is that?
Well, all I’m going to say is that, when it comes to pricing, maybe the traditional publishers are wrong.
(and, P.S., I’m sorry for the author, because I think he deserves to sell this book, but I just CAN’T for those prices …)