Recently Polish sci-fi and fantasy websites were electrified by the news that Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of “The Witcher”, has written another book in the witcher universe, starring Geralt himself. Many people (myself included) grew up with the white-haired monster slayer, impatiently waited for every next book in the series, quoted the countless punchlines and consider the Witcher series somewhat of a legend. Regardless of speculations what was the reason for the author to come back to writing the series (which he said countless times was not an option), there was little doubt of whether to buy the book or not – we all pretty much knew we are going to get it.
I was actually excited about it – even if it wasn’t to be “the same as in the past”, even if wasn’t to be perfect, I wanted that book. I wanted another piece of the legend that was part of my life, of my youth. Well, I guess my reasons to buy were somewhat sentimental.
Yet, as the title states it I won’t buy the book that is most likely to become a bestseller. And it’s not from trying to be “different” or show that I don’t follow the crowd, oh no! I can tell you that I was ready to cheerfully jump on the band wagon with all the other people and it somewhat saddens me that I won’t be able to.
The answer is simple: no ebook. The publishing house made it clear that they don’t plan to release electronic version any time soon which for me is basically a deal killer. I live in Ireland and getting a Polish paperback mean I have to pay double (or sometimes triple, if the book is heavy) the price to have it delivered to me. It also means I will have to wait for the kind postal service to bring it to my door.
Of course one could point out those are just minor obstacles and if I really wanted the book, I’d be getting it anyway. But I am a human being, so when the sentiment gets in the way of my convenience I will most often than not get rid of the sentiment, not give up my convenience. And there are so many other, equally or more exciting books I can get instantly, without any effort and without wondering, where will I find a place in my small, rented flat to squeeze another book.
Today’s world is dashing forward and we often find ourselves unable to catch up with it. And sure we do not have time to stop and wait for something when there are so many other titles on offer. So even if the publisher finally decides to release its bestseller as an ebook the chances are sales will be low. The impatient ones would have already gotten the book in a paperback format and others… Others, like me, will be too busy being excited about other freshly released books that we can get in an eye blink.
And maybe, in a few years, when I will be browsing my favorite ebook store, I will come across Sapkowski’s “Sezon Burz” and I will remember that I wanted to read it. Chances are I will just put it on the wishlist “for later” which will be another couple of years as I will spent the money on all the ebooks that will be available when I want them. And in the end I might never buy it, unless the sentiment reignites with – perhaps – another book.
Because nowadays, who deliberately stays behind is left behind.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.