Mar 13 2007
Today is Tuesday, but a relatively unimportant Tuesday. It’s the middle of the month Tuesday where readers, full of gluttonous spending a couple of weeks ago look around bewildered at the bedside table, nearly buckling under the weight of books to be read. Some books have been there since many Tuesday release dates ago, but haven’t yet been relegated to under-the-bed status and thus are still in the running to be read within the next, oh, couple of months.
Avid readers (and I am not simply referring to Keishon of the same blog name or whomever uses the moniker at Amazon) are identified because they exhibit the similar character traits. If we put these readers out in the wild, strange but noticeable patterns would develop. ARs, as opposed to ORs (occassional readers – not to be confused with OpRs which are Oprah Book Readers) or RRs (recreational readers) or even SMDRs (subject matter dependent readers), have distinctive traits which separate them from the other reader species. ARs are often hoarders, gathering up books with no intention of reading them until a) they read their other 700 books in the TBR pile or b) the series is complete or c) a good review comes along propelling the books to the top of the TBR pile or d) the cat knocks the TBR pile over and unearths a gem purchased 3 months ago.
ARs have several TBR piles with varying degrees of importance. Generally, the closer the TBR pile is to the reading habitat, the more important and more likely the TBR pile will be, well, read. Further, there is a jostling for position within the TBR pile as the AR constantly shuffles and reshuffles this pile of books.
As I go each month to buy books when I have several hundred of books I have purchased in the past 20 some years that I thought at the time of purchase were worth reading, I often pause for a second between clicks and ask myself “what the hell am I doing?” It’s a question I have asked many a reader only to receive two kinds of replies. It’s either, “I wish I had the answer to this as I suffer from the same disease” or it’s “you are crazy and I hope you don’t come near me and my child. Oh look, the next stop is ours. Whew.” ARs are the equivalent of the old woman and the many cats only we aren’t in danger of being eaten by our 1000 books.
Since my move to ebooks, I have been able to whittle my paperback collection to a trim 400 books. This number gets smaller each month thanks to e-initiatives by Harper Collins who release more ebook versions of its authors’ backlists each week. The move to ebooks, however, merely transforms my physical pile into a digital pile. I still have more books than I could possibly read for at least the next year, but it doesn’t stop me from buying more.
Last week, I spent about 30 minutes online buying ebooks from Fictionwise, Powells and Harlequin. Will I read these books? Not likely. But I’ll have them and it satisfied my AR tendencies until the next Tuesday release date.
Next week: Why Tuesday is the Holy Day of Publishing. If you’ve got an answer for that, drop me a line, because frankly no one knows. I’ll be putting up the best of the best speculations next week, but having dumbfounded publishing house to professional organizations to educators, I’m still looking for the answer.