I’m not a person that likes controversy and that’s why I have always stayed away from the “money grab” conversations that happen sometimes in the bookish community on twitter. But it has gotten to a point where it’s not only annoying and frustrating, but also incredibly sad because there’s this feeling that a lot of people seem to share of being ‘taken advantage of’, it’s feeling like something they love is being used against them in some way, and that sucks. That’s definitely not something I want to see in this community. I want to clarify that I’m only talking about YA books, because that’s the genre that I read the most and the people I follow on twitter read mostly YA books as well.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the whole “money grab” situation, let me tell you. I think “money grab” started to appear in a lot of conversations about book series having cover changes at some point after the first book (whether it’s the second book, or in the middle of the series or with the last book). A lot of people felt like these cover changes were a “money grab”, a strategy to make us buy the book twice, because it was either staying with covers that didn’t match (which a lot of people, me included, hate) or re-buying all the books that were already out with the new covers. These cover changes have happened a lot of times in the past and lately there has been a really strong response against it from the community. I don’t know if you heard about the cover change for The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, but the bookish community responded with a lot of frustration and thanks to how strong the reaction was, the publishers decided to release the last book with the original cover (even if they also released all the books in the new covers).
That’s definitely not the only time that “money grab” has come out in conversations about YA books. The fact that there are YA versions of adult books that are being released (like the Da Vinci Code) has being thought to be a “money grab”, because it’s not necessary at all, YA readers are perfectly able to read the Da Vinci Code in the adult version. Also, the fact that there is gonna be 3 editions of the same book with the same cover just because each edition is gonna have a different bonus chapter has also generated a lot of conversation about being a “money grab” because if you want the 3 bonus chapters you have to buy a copy of each edition even if it’s the same book (if you don’t know that’s what’s gonna happen with Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas). Lastly, there was a conversation about the necessity of a book being release with 3 different covers in the same day, even if they are all beautiful, there was some people talking about it being a “money grab” (it was a conversation about the Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake).
Here are some really important disclaimers: I actually enjoyed all of the books mentioned above (except Three Dark Crowns, because I haven’t read it yet) and Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite authors, so I’m not talking badly about the books or the authors. What I’m trying to do is think about the publishing industry beginning with the fact that I understand that it’s an industry and it’s looking to make money out of the books it publishes. I also want to think about the fact that situations like the ones I just mentioned are becoming more and more common and I think it has to do with the fact that the popularity of YA books keeps increasing.
Even if I understand what I say before, the ‘business’ side of the publishing industry, it still makes me incredibly sad to have to think about books that way, and the thing is, we don’t get a choice because we know this books are coming out and we are faced with the 3 editions of the same book and we realize that we can’t have all the bonus chapters (I know some people can, but I think I’m talking about a majority here) because that means spending three times more money for the same book. So we are confronted with the ‘business’ side and I’m not gonna lie, at least for me, it ruins the magic of books a little bit.
This is not the kind of post were I can offer solutions or think about ways around this. Honestly, I wasn’t really trying to make a point with all of this, except that it sucks. I don’t know what else to say.