In the meantime, the next time you pick up your eBook reader, keep in mind that just because the book doesn’t weigh four pounds doesn’t mean that the author didn’t sweat blood and cry real tears writing that book, that an editor didn’t stay up late in the night providing notes to that author to make the book better, and that copyeditors and proofreaders and other production people didn’t put the same effort into that eBook as they would a printed book.
It’s a sign of how much we equate the physical nature of a printed book with the value of a reading experience that people can’t shake the idea that ebooks should be drastically cheaper than paper books.
The biggest secret in crime fiction is that there are really only, like, four ways to tie up a mystery, and I’m going to show you all of them in 1,200 words. Get ready to have an entire genre irrevocably spoiled.
It’s funny because it’s true. And kinda sad and unavoidable and basically a buzzkill.
I’d like to say this is a one-off but it’s not: according to Amazon ‘literary’ is a hot-potch of classics, romance titles, and the odd past Booker winner. Of recent literary books, only Skios by Michael Frayn and Skagboys by Irvine Welsh feature prominently in this list. Most of the top-selling titles we might consider ‘literary’ are in fact classified under different genres. Orange winner The Song of Achilles is filed under Historical Fiction (and Fairy Tales!) on Amazon as is Bring up the Bodies.
There’s a reason the literary fiction category on Amazon is a mess, and it’s because literary fiction is probably the hardest to define of all literary genres.