Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another fantastic woman interview up

http://www.karenmiller.net/images/covers/9780732284510.jpg

I have just read the second in this Godspeaker series. It is called The Riven Kingdom, and I am still thinking about it - the sign of a great read. It's not out yet, but you can buy Book 1 (above) in Australia. I think Karen Miller is one the most amazingly versatile writers I know - sf media tie-ins, classic fantasy, classic swords & sorcery, comic fantasy - she can and does do it all, and very well indeed. Remember her name.

Drop in here for another Fantastic Women interview by Karen, this time of Rachel Caine.

And now I guess the world is beginning to recover from the Potter hysteria epidemic. Somehow I have been left with a nasty taste in my mouth and I have been trying to analyse why. Instead of celebrating the launch of a long awaited book, we seem to have been deluged by tales of venality, gleeful spoilers, and cynical greed. And depressing accounts of how the whole Potter mania has not added up to a growing readership for books. It seems that for most, it's just a cool thing to do because you can talk/SMS/blog/argue about it afterwards, not because reading a gripping story is satisfying of itself, and something you will want to do again and again with other authors. That is so sad.

Here in Malaysia, the big book chains, who have delighted in undercutting the independent book sellers for quite some time, found themselves the target of similar price cutting. The hypermarkets - so unsporting of them - suddenly announced the day before that they were giving huge price cuts of book 7 . And here they don't usually sell books at all!

So the book chains got together and refused to sell Potter to anyone who hadn't pre-ordered. Nice. I am not sure who I am miffed at here, but somehow I think the consumer will suffer, along with authors, in the end.

And was I out there buying the book? No. Fraid not. They are exactly the kind of book I would have loved to read when I was a kid, but I am not a kid any longer, and there is just so much more out there that I prefer and time is so precious...so I did read the first two, to see what all the fuss was about, and stopped. I am finally grown up...

7 comments:

Kendall said...

I'm confused. Because someone else (hypermarkets) announce huge price cuts on a product, book chains decided they want to sell fewer copies? Isn't this just shooting themselves in the foot, driving folks TO the evil hypermarkets?!

Glenda Larke said...

I find it very odd, I must admit. I think if they had continued to sell the book, they would still have had many customers - after all, the hypermarkets soon sold out. And with the possibility of returning unsold copies, the chains would not have lost out.

They could even have lowered the price a bit, not to the loss-making level of the Hypermarkets, but to something more attractive, on the same assumption of the Hypermarkets - bring people in and they will buy something else.

As a struggling author, I do tend to watch with concern any problems that bookstores have, though.

hrugaar said...

I'm surprised at you Glenda - I though part of adolescence was putting aside childhood things, and part of being grown up was that you could pick up and enjoy children's lit. again. :oD Well, I'm sure you'd agree there are some damn good authors who write for children or young adults.

My positive note for Harry Potter books is that they were what got my nephew reading, in his early teens. He has a mild dyslexia, like my sister, and once he started reading his English comprehension at school advanced dramatically. True, that could have come from his reading any well-written books, but even so.

The marketing of the last HP book is an unexpected move. I remember when they first started releasing the HP books as hardcover only (round about book 4 or 5) I was disgusted by the mercantile greed, as Potter mania was in full swing and they had millions of parents over a barrel forking out extra bucks for a hardcover to keep their children happy. And now, with the last ever Potter book, the publishers (or distributors) seem to be rushing to flog it off quick and cheap, as though tomorrow it'll be out of fashion - which of course it very well may be. One wonders whether they are trying to compensate readers for all the megabucks they squeezed by extortion for the previous volumes; or whether La Rowling has just made enough money now that she's turned extravagant philanthropist.

What puzzles me more is why the publishers would agree to the hugely cut-price supermarket sales (happening here too) when it will most likely have a detrimental effect on their future relationship with bookstores and the trade. You don't live down that kind of business back-stab in a hurry. And then the other authors on the publishers' list will suffer.

KarenEMiller said...

There's always loss leader pricing stuff happening in the book trade. The Potter thing is, I think, a once in a lifetime phenomenon. In the grand scheme, I'm not sure it'll make a difference.

And the thing is, the big chainy types won't carry the backlist for ever. The Next Big Thing will come along in some form, and then the books will be available in the bookshops, and it'll all settle down.

I don't think you can blame the supermarket types for wanting to take advantage of the mania. And I speak as a former bookseller who was a victim of similar things when I had my shop. Maybe you can blame the publisher for offering such advantageous deals to the supermarket types. If they weren't prepared to offer such massive discounts ... and not offer the same playing field to the smaller book chains and independents.

And thank you so much for your lovely words on RK and me! *g* Possibly the reason you kept on thinking about it is because I still haven't nailed it properly. Bring on the rewrite!

hrugaar said...

Trouble is, karen, most of our UK bookstores are owned by chains now, there seem to be very few independent stores left - except secondhand book dealers. :o\ I guess online book sales have been a godsend - both for frustrated customers like me, and for the smaller booksellers trying to widen their customer base and stay solvent.

Glenda Larke said...

Sigh. I think this whole aspect kinda took the edge of the HP7. It would have been nice if we could have all sat back and said, isn't it FANTASTIC that a FANTASY AUTHOR has made millions? Instead of a film star or a football player - or a pretty girl with no brains and no sense and a voice?

And it is wonderful.

hrugaar said...

Yes, it is fantastic, and I don't begrudge J.K.R. a penny of what she's made. And actually, I do love Happy Rotter (I just don't buy the hardcovers).

But on my shortlist of Fantasy authors I think deserve to be making a few million (at least) for their talents, there are others I would have placed before her. But that's just subjective, innit? :D