Cyber Monday and the Case of the Disappointed Book Buyer
November 27, 2012 | 2:46 pm
By Joanna Cabot
Why not? Because I’m tired of how much work reading e-books has become for me.
I bought from Fictionwise for years in the pre-agency days and never had a single book with a typo. But this year, I don’t think I have read a single book from a Big Six publisher that hasn’t had at least a dozen. I do go through and mark them for correction because I like to re-read my favorites (and perhaps because I have so many children in my life these days that I have some hope they might want to read them someday).
So, this means it isn’t just reading anymore. Now I am an unpaid copyeditor, too. If I’m going to go to all that trouble, it has to be a book I really want to read and keep. If it’s an author I’m only half-heartedly interested in, I simply can’t be bothered anymore.
There were three authors who interested me when I perused the Amazon listings. Here is why I didn’t buy each one:
Author A: Two omnibus works of the sci-fi trilogies she is known for. I have heard good things about this author, but sci-fi can be hit or miss for me, and trilogies are long. I figured if I did wind up enjoying the books, that might be nice—but they’d be a lot of work to fix. Since I still have unread books in my Calibre library, I can wait on these. They aren’t must-haves.
Author B: A mystery series that looked intriguing. Alas, it was incomplete. When I checked the list at Fantastic Fiction, I found that the Amazon selections accounted for about two-thirds of the series. I’m a little crazy about reading series books in order, so I passed on these. If I can’t have the whole set, I’ll just read a different series. I have a few series books in my Calibre library that I haven’t even touched yet.
Author C: An author whose work I know I enjoy, with several titles listed I didn’t have yet. The problem with this author? I bought my favorite of his works from Amazon in the past, and it was riddled with mistakes. Once burned, twice shy. Given that the other book was glitchy, I am not trusting these ones to be error-free and I don’t want to buy more stuff that needs fixing when I have so many choices now for books with a lower error ratio …
So my total for Cyber Monday? $0.00. Wait … make that $10—I did treat myself to a used paper book off eBay. It was a poetry anthology for which the Kindle version was retailing for almost double the paper cost, and for which the Kindle sample showed at least five formatting errors. When I thought of the work it would take to get the book readable—and at that price!—and in a genre that relies so heavily on formatting anyway!—I went for the paper.
All hail Cyber Monday!