Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pride And Prejudice And Marketing Gimmicks

Time for a little rant here.

A couple of months ago I bought a book called, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." You've probably heard of it, hip reader that you are, but for the uninitiated it's a new version of Jane Austen's classic novel, but with a healthy dose of zombies added to the story.

This weekend I was browsing through the local bookstore and saw that there's now a brand new hardback gift version of PAPAZ. That's fine, I have no problem with a publisher reprinting a book, or printing a high quality version in time for the holidays.

But a quick check of the back of the book reveals that this new special edition includes 39 more pages, and what it describes as 30% more zombies.

This. Needs. To. Stop. Right. Effing. Now.

This is not a simple reprint. This is a new and improved version that effectively shouts a loud "Screw you!" to me and everyone else who already bought the book. It punishes everyone who already owns it.

And you know what, Publishers? Your little plan isn't going to work. I'm not going to throw my old, inadequate copy of your book in the trash and rush out and buy the shiny improved version. Nor do I ever plan to.

This is nothing new. There are at least four books in my personal library that had souped-up versions come out long after the fact. Who knows how many times it's happened with books I don't know about?

This kind of thing has been going on in the DVD world for some time. It's called "double-dipping" and it's sole purpose is to entice suckers, er, I mean consumers to open their wallets and buy the same product twice. Usually all it ends up doing is pissing off the customer.

This type of tactic is what killed off the trading card business in the late 1980s, and all but killed the comic book market in the 1990s.

The publishing industry is in trouble, especially now that they can no longer suckle at the teat of the next Harry Potter installment. This kind of behavior isn't going to win them any fans. It's just going to drive the few readers and buyers the book industry has left straight into the welcoming arms of TV, videogames and the internet.

Stop it. Now. Stop making me feel like an idiot because I bought your book and didn't wait for the unannounced super version. Stop trying to trick your customers into buying the same thing twice. If you need more sales, perhaps you should stop publishing so much crap and put out quality product that more people will want to buy.

Thank you.

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