I like to get a lot of my books at the library. Frankly, books are expensive, and even the less expensive eBooks add up. Plus the library’s a great resource for checking out an author. Lately though, things have been changing at my local library system.
First, they eliminated all the paperbacks. Even the main library no longer carries them. I’m guessing it was a cost issue, and the paperbacks tend not to be as durable. But seriously, a lot of books come out in paperbacks and never see hardbacks. I’m missing out on a lot of good books!
Then, this last week I went to my regional library, and they had rearranged the mystery section. I could tell it right away because it was series after series after series, all written by big name authors. It seemed like a lot fewer of the small name series or the author who writes a certain type of mystery but not a series.
Maybe this is a reflection of what’s happening in the publishing industry, because they’re focusing on big name authors to make money, and the emphasis is on the series. Readers do like coming back and getting to revisit a character they’ve come to know.
Yet, I want books to stop focusing so much on making a series and instead, make a good story. Many of these series I have started out reading. By the time I hit book 7, or sometimes earlier, I find the series has changed in a way that doesn’t make me want to read it any more:
- Laurell K. Hamilton: Do I have to explain this one? I used to eagerly wait for the next Anita Blake to come out and snatch it off the shelf and devour it in a day. There simply wasn’t any characters like Anita Blake anywhere, and then Hamilton changed the series into … something different. Now I see a new one at the library, and I won’t even check it out any more.
- Clive Cussler: Another author who I would buy up the latest release — in hardback. But he’s noted in interviews that it’s hard coming up with plots because he has about six in each story (that I believe; it’s one of the reasons I love his books). Unfortunately, it shows in his latest books, especially when he tried to “change” the character of Dirk Pitt.
There are others, but it seems to be a sign of the long-standing series. There’s a point where a series runs out of ideas and just goes stale. Unfortunately, as long as they continue to sell, the publishers want more books, and I’m looking at a section of the library without any books I want to read. What’s going to happen when the writers of these start dying off?