How the rise of special editions and bonus material have reshaped the book world
I’d be more tempted by some of the book sub boxes you mentioned if they didn’t include so many junk items from the 1-2 most popular fandoms every time. 🤣
This is such an interesting discussion. As an author, I desperately want all those special editions and fancy stenciled edges. I know my readers want them!
And a little as a reader, I want them, too, to be honest! The number of times I've picked up the handful I see in person...
But yeah, these have definitely had an impact on the market and what readers expect -- and how *not* getting those things can lead to lots of books being overlooked. :/
When I worked in an independent bookstore, I was frustrated by the subscription boxes because people would skip buying the book from our store. Since subscription companies can buy books in bulk, they can profit even after paying shipping costs, art costs, swag costs, etc. Bookstores can’t compete with that very easily.
But as an author, I think it’s a good idea to make book ownership more attractive in order to combat illegal downloads. I’m hoping that even if most books don’t have special editions, the books that are “collectible” will influence readers to think of books as something physical they can own instead of something digital they are entitled to download for free.
I’m fascinated by Brandon Sanderson’s ability to create his own special editions, his own collectible figurines and plushies, and his own subscription services. I think that’s really cool but it’s something only a rare author can make work. Still, it would be fun to have that kind of creative control to make one’s own books into collectible items.
Love this discussion. It actuwl made me think about artists. I follow a lot of artists on social media, and they seem to do really well building their audiences. One, cus the work is awesome. And also i've noticed they are contantly going to cons. All kinds. All over the place. They meet each other, connect, build relationships, and the fans they draw to the con find other artists to love. And, hear me out, i feel like writers need more cons. And more hype for the writer cons. Meet readers, meet writers we only know through online relationships, discover books. Build up the community. Just more cons haha
Thank you for writing this! Once again, I feel like you’re speaking honestly and openly about the messy reality of the business of publishing. It feels like, whether we like it or not, the current trend forces (in my case aspiring) authors to find at least one space online for a presence. How else can even make a dent to support our own books?
I also think that the number of published titles is skyrocketing so fast during the past years that we are not able to keep up with them. This might also „kill“ the midlist authors. Bookstores (I am talking of the small indie bookstores not the chains) have trouble to give all books the space they might need. For example: my local bookstore (smalish town in Germany). Last summer the second novel of an author who hit the national bestseller list on the lower end with his debut was published. It was not available at my bookstore, because they had 3 copies of the debut in stock and sold only one (to me). Therefore, they did not take the second book in stock, because they needed the space for something else.
I love the special editions, but also don't subscribe to any book boxes and am not really on social media anymore, so I'm not going to get them. When I say I love them, I mean I love that they EXIST, because they make reading cooler (it's already cool, obviously, but they make it cooler). From an author standpoint, special editions feel...impossible? That's not quite right. They don't happen with the kind of books I write is all. But if they're making reading cooler, then that'll lift us all up (I hope).
I want to add that I rarely preorder and a lot of that is because I subscribe to Scribd and I like to see if new books will show up there before I buy them. I do read a lot more ebooks/audiobooks than physical ones though and I'm not much of an exclusive edition collector. 🤷♀️
Can't agree enough. I've definitely held back from preordering some new releases because I'd rather get my hands on a special edition!