Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Remember When...

I remember when people picked up a book and read it...without the drama.

I must be old, because I remember a time when books head hopped and nobody noticed. Anybody notice the Big 6 still does? I know Random House does. I had trouble with one of their titles because of it--but I've been trained to watch it for as an editor, so it would bother me. But I remember when ALL books did that. There were no rules against it and not every single reader was a self-declared editor. Now, we can't head hop. At all. Ever. Unless we're with Random House.

I remember when if you bought a book and didn't like, you could NOT go back to the store and demand a refund. "Don't like it? Sorry. Take it to the used bookstore."

I remember when books were 6.99 for a paperback, for a full story, none of this 99-cents for 80k or FREE door stop stuff. You got what you paid for back then.

And if you ever pick up a fiction book from those days, there is no Table of Contents. Why would there be? But a friend on FB was saying she had to add a TOC to all her fiction books now. It is Amazon-recommended and reader-demanded. Apparently readers wish to skip chapters. How the hell do you know what's going on then???

And let's be realistic here for a second, just what are half of these TOCs going to look like?

Hot Sex Scene....3
A Little More Story....10
Really Hot Anal Sex Scene....11
Some More Story....30
Really Hot Menage Scene....31
Cheesy Happy Ending....49
The End....50

Regardless, what's with all the demands? It's an ever-growing list. It started as "no head hopping,  no tragic closed-door sex..." and became "We want a book a month and all of them FREE! We want full-length novels for next to nothing. No short stories!" And now it's "We want TOCs so we can just skip what few pages of story there is!"

I must be old, 'cause I remember when people just bought a book, sat down, and read the damned thing...without all the drama.


  1. So much here! I had a student first tell me that I'd ruined his reading because he started seeing weak writing everywhere, once he knew what to look for. But a couple of weeks later he came back and said he'd figured out that all I'd really done was given him terminology to understand the reaction he would have had anyway. That when he looked at books he hadn't enjoyed so much, possibly even DNF, he saw that they had weak writing [head-hopping wildly being part of it sometimes]. He couldn't explain at the time why he wasn't involved, or DNF. Only after learning more about writing could he go back and see why he'd reacted that way.

    As for cheap and free books, even though sometimes good books are sold that way as loss-leaders, unfortunately too many are sold that way because so many people are simply thrilled to know somebody 'bought' their book and making money at it is only a vague idea for 'someday.' People who have been career writers for decades are scorned for wanting to be able to earn a [barely] living wage by writing by those writers and readers. It's frustrating.

    And I think the TOC may be because it's harder to flip through and find your place in a digital book if you're looking for something. That's what I use them for.

    Good post. You made me think on a vague Sunday morning!

    1. Good point, but in order to get to the ToC in the Kindle, I'd have to "flip" back to the beginning or use the search option and if anyone knows how to use the search option, they can find it what they are looking for that way. Thankfully, it's rare that I lose my place in a Kindle book. It automatically bookmarks. Sometimes...sometimes I've had wonky files that just suddenly revert to the beginning idea why.