Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bargain Books and Sadness

Signs such as these often make me sad.

Yes, I know.

A bargain is a bargain.

Amazon and Book Depository discount prices anyway.

A book is a saleable item subject to the vagaries of supply and demand like any other.

The author has reached the writing Holy Grail: his/her book has been published.

Mine is the tainted perspective of a writer who struggles to get words out, who knows how hard it can be, who dreams of one day finishing THAT novel.

Yes, I know all that.

Yet, whenever I see a bin filled with unread, unopened books at sinfully low prices or a bargain shelf offering irresistible value, I don't find myself going: "Hooray, bargains!"

All I can think of is the amalgam of dreams, sweat and tears invested in getting each of those pieces of art (irrespective of genre or so-called writing standards) into a manuscript

the long journey of negotiating with agents and publishers, the thrill of the book launch, the pride of holding the finished product in the hand.
Then to be sold off at bargain prices.

And of course, in spite of all I've just stated, I BUY bargain books.

Tons of 'em.

But that doesn't stop me feeling sad when I see travails of creativity hit by the ruthlessness of commerciality.

Do you ever feel like this?


Debbie said...

Yes Mari, as a first timer the idea of one's darling selling for 4 euros brings tears to the fountain pen. What a tragedy. And yes, I buy them too. Debbie

Mari G said...

Hi Debbie. The bargain book thing hits all types of books, Booker prize winners et al. It's sad but at least there's no discrimination.
Good to see you back!

Words A Day said...

yes i feel sad too when I see a bargain bin (horrible word)full of books, especially if they are recently released novels...but do i buy them - yes:)

Mari G said...

Hi Niamh
Hard to resist the bargains, but it is sad when you think of all the hard work it took to get all those words into book form.