Something that annoys me endlessly, is different editions of books. I mean, we all want a series of books with the same covers and spines, right? That can’t just be me. Anyway, something that annoys me even more, is special editions of books. They’re cool, really, but nearly impossible to get if you’re not in the US or UK. Today, I’d like to discuss (special) editions of books!
I came up with the topic for this Book Babble when I received my hardcover copy of Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, and discovered a pretty stamp in the front, with Cassandra’s autograph. It was so exciting! I posted a photo in this YA Facebook group I’m in, and I was told it was a “First edition only” thing. In the back, I found the Mortal Instruments story that was also a first edition only thing! YAY! I got super excited, but only because it was pure luck that I got it.
A while later – or before, I’m not sure – there was the announcement of the special editions of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. One store would get special edition A, another store special edition B, and the other bookshops just got the ‘normal’ edition. Of course, that was the start of a discussion. People had either already pre-ordered at another store or they didn’t want to buy both editions for the stories which I totally agree with! Basically, people weren’t all that happy.
Some series have multiple editions. Of course, there are hardcovers and paperbacks, US and UK editions, translations, etc. For series, this is an absolute nightmare. If you’re a perfectionist like me who needs everything to be “the same” on her bookshelf. The Mortal Instruments, for example, is a disaster. I’ve lost count of the number of editions that series has. There are different covers, sizes, boxsets, UK and US editions… AHH! It’s an absolute nightmare.
The fun part is, that if you have the money, of course, you can get these different editions. For example, I’d love to reread the Infernal Devices and get them in hardcover! I usually get paperbacks, or at least I used to, I found out how amazing hardcovers are – lol! but I’d love to own my favourites in hardcover.
Another thing I don’t like about different editions, and I’m talking about hardcover/paperback here, is that hardcovers are really hard to get in the Netherlands (at least in the stores I go to) and it seems to be even more impossible in Australia.
Special editions can be a lot of fun. I mean, I was so pleasantly surprised to find I had that “special” first edition of Lady Midnight! It’s awesome. You feel special for a bit, and you own this thing that not a whole lot of other people have.
What absolutely sucks, though, is the availability. And it’s supposed to be like that, I mean, why else call it a “Special Edition”. But it a book gets a special edition, it’s always at either Waterstones in the UK or Barnes & Noble or Target in the US. It makes sense since these are all bookshops with multiple locations and it makes sense because they’re such big companies. But it’s so expensive/complicated to ship those books abroad!
In the case of Empire of Storms, it’s even more ‘weird.’ There will be two different special editions, each with a different special story, and the “normal’ one. Even people from America aren’t getting both of them because of the money, and I totally get why. It just doesn’t make sense! When it comes to money, it’s even more expensive to get both of them shipped abroad. Basically, it means a whole bunch of people don’t get to read these special stories.
I’m so happy about having this special Mortal Instruments story in the back of my copy of Lady Midnight, but I think everyone deserves a chance to read it. Even people who start reading the books in like five years or something. Because I’m sure they won’t be able to get this story. Same goes for Empire of Storms, why make people choose what story they want to read? Or force people to buy both? Or make it completely unavailable to international readers?
I think a possible solution for this, would be novellas. Novellas are usually ebooks, but lots of them are being published as bound hard copies. Four, Happily Ever After and the Assassin’s Blade are all perfect examples of this! Of course, these novellas aren’t special or exclusive, but why should reading material be exclusive to anyone?
What do you think about all these different editions and special content? Should they be made into novellas? Or does that take away what’s special about them? Would you get a book especially for the special content? Let’s discuss it in the comments!