Guess who’s back. Back again. Sibby’s back, to stir up shit.
Oh, I’ve been waiting to use that line. I’m not one to back down from controversial topics. And even with my dying breath, I won’t stop. I want to dedicate my latest discussion post to the entitlement that the book community doesn’t realize it extrudes. Or perhaps it does but doesn’t care. I haven’t decided which.
I see this matter from time to time, and I wish I don’t witness it in an environment where it shouldn’t belong. But readers don’t always understand that authors do not have any sway over pre-order incentives. At the end of March, Amie Kaufman, co-author of the Illuminae Files and the upcoming Aurora Rising, discussed how she and Jay Kristoff have no control over this issue. They do not make those decisions. But the publisher does.
Now, I understand how international shipping is difficult, if not impossible, for some readers. Trust me. I live in Canada, and shipping from the United States is ridiculous. Don’t ask me how much it is for overseas. Why do you think I haven’t purchased any of the Barnes & Noble limited edition books? But do I attack an author over this personal problem? No.
I thought I saw the ugly side of the book community when Goldsboro Books, which a small indie store in the United Kingdom, had its website crash when potential buyers flooded its website. (If you aren’t aware of the controversy that took place, Natalie from Natalie Helena breaks it down for you.) What I saw was beyond repulsive. Throughout the entire day, all I saw was how bloggers, buyers, and even small-business owners show their entitlement over a book with sprayed edges.
Then I see it all over again with the pre-order incentive for Momento, an Illuminae Files novella. Please, let me remind you all: some readers don’t have any, any access to these books because they’re either poor or international. I thought the book community could move past everything. But no. Readers attacked Amie, who, mind you, is pregnant. But hey, let’s verbally abuse her over something she has no say in.
Readers and buyers need to check themselves. And they need to ask themselves if they should continue to act this way. American buyers (not all), you get more limited editions than any other country. You realize that, right? So don’t take the only incentive away from others who don’t get anything else. And certainly, don’t harass the authors. The book community has turned from supporting each other and offering ways to send hard-to-find books to international or even poor readers, to tearing down small independent bookstores and internationally bestselling authors and attacking each other.
Our society has become so obsessed with consumerism. We need the next limited edition book, the next anything. Do you truly need three—or, hell, five—copies of the same book? I don’t think so. So give the other reader who may have this one chance to buy that book. We need this community to thrive, not implode on itself over greed.
The book community is a space to find solace in a hellish world, not to add to the chaos. Reading is meant for an escape, not a popularity contest of who has the rarest copies. Stop. Think. And check your damn privilege at the door. We bloggers don’t want it.