Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A personal pet peeve - re-prints publicized as new releases

I have a pet peeve about the publishing industry that I need to vent about for a minute. I’m not sure if the publishers are to blame or the authors or maybe it’s a combination of the two. In any case, here is my pet peeve, which looking at Twitter over the last couple of days, I can’t be the only one noticing the issue – books being releases as “new releases” that are really reprints of old titles.

Over the last couple of months, I've received several emails announcing so-called "new" releases by some of my favorite authors. When I've looked at the title of the "new" release, I've realized that the book isn't a new release at all, but that it's a re-release of an old title.

This is frustrating because my hopes are raised that some of my favorite authors are about to release a new book, only to find, when I read the book’s description, that what is being released is something that I've already read and, in many cases, own. I’m sure that there are some out there who see an announcement about a book coming out from a favorite author and race out to buy this “new” release only to find when they get it home and start to read that it is something that they have already read. How frustrating for them!

I have found some books which were reprints that were worth getting although I had read the book before, when I borrowed it from the library originally, because the cover clearly stated that the book had “extended scenes never before in print” and when you compared the number of pages, you could see that there was obviously more material in the new release then in the original. That is rare though.

Maybe I’ve only been noticing this more because I have more time to spend looking at the emails from the online bookstores then I did in the past. Whatever the reason, this announcing a “new release” that is really as reprint of an old title is bothering me. In some cases, I can’t believe that I’m seeing this happening because the author is, in my opinion from watching the volume that is getting published and the ranking of the books getting published on the New York Times Bestseller List, very successful. Is the author really that greedy? Is it the publisher? I don’t know and really don’t care either, but I wish that they would be honest about whether a book is truly a “new release” when publicizing the upcoming release of a book that is truly a reprint. The old adage about “honesty being the best policy” is true.