One of the biggest annoyances with ebooks is gaps in series, what’s even worse is when gaps appear in a series AFTER you’ve started buying one.
Part way through my purchasing of John Le Carre’s George Smiley books (nicely organised into a series with matching covers by Hodder & Stoughton), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold suddenly changed cover and went up in price.
It seems the book is now being published by Penguin. As I buy via iBooks i was able to ‘fix’ the cover by using iTunes’s album settings to change the artwork. A bit OCD but I was expecting to have the books all sitting nicely on my virtual bookshelf.
Then The Secret Pilgrim, the final book in the series, vanished from iBooks and Kindle’s stores. Has it too changed publisher? Will it become available again?
At some point in the last couple of weeks the second book in the run, A Murder of Quality, also stopped being available to buy. Now, I’d already bought this so the vanishing didn’t really affect me but I did find myself suddenly feeling compelled to buy the remaining books in the run just in case they also disappeared.
On the surface, a win for the publisher and retailer – I made a sudden, multi-book purchase which mean they took more that day than they would otherwise have.
But as this is the third time I’ve had issues with availability of titles within a series I’m now wondering if I’ll ever again set out to buy a collection as ebooks.
According to reports, Le Carre’s back catalogue is moving publishers and I’m speculating that’s the cause of these availability issues.
If I’m right, hopefully the new publishers (Penguin) are aware that the delisting of the previous edition has disrupted potential customers and ensure the books are back on the market as speedily as possible.
But whatever the cause, disappointing consumers by retailers being forced to drop books mid series isn’t going to help push sales of ebooks.