Apr. 6th, 2011

Sad

Apr. 6th, 2011 09:32 pm
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After reading The Hunger Games I had a great desire to go back and read some of my favorite books from my own young-adult years. I was a young adult back in the days when such fiction wasn't the bestselling, guaranteed movie-adaptation juggernaut that it is these days, so none of these authors are household names. That's unfortunate because these were some great writers who, in my opinion, paved the way for folks like J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins and even the execrable Stephenie Meyer.

Two of the books I ordered were The House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs and Under the Root by the prolific Zilpha Keatley Snyder. The Bellairs book was a standard paperback but I immediately recognized something unusual about the Snyder book. It looked and felt like a self-published book. In fact it resembled almost exactly the version of Lazarus Came Forth that [livejournal.com profile] liptonrm published for me a couple of years ago -- even the font was the same.

I checked the copyright and it was indeed published via iUniverse (a self-publishing company) by a group called Authors Guild Backinprint.com. According to the message in the back of the book, Authors Guild is dedicated to using today's "print-on-demand technology" (in other words, self-publishing) to publish books that have fallen out of print. A quick look at Amazon.com seems to reveal that all or most of Snyder's books are only available this way.

While I'm immensely grateful that such a company exists to restore these works to publication, I find it incredibly sad -- and almost incomprehensible -- that a Stephenie Meyer can become a multimillionaire off her cheesy, shallow dreck while a writer like Snyder wouldn't even be in print anymore without "print-on-demand technology." Is it really possible that no mainstream publishing house wanted to reissue her work? This woman was a three-time Newberry Award winner! When I was a kid, the library had an entire shelf full of her books!

Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with the world.

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