Chatting About Dash Buttons, Mass-Market Paperbacks, and More

Why are these people laughing? Because they’re making more money than everyone else.

Ester: Hello, and happy Friday chat to you!

Nicole: Happy Friday chat indeed! I have so much fun getting to do this every week.

Ester: I agree! Do you have holiday plans? I’m taking my little family to see the big family for Passover, and I know it’s Easter too.

Nicole: I will be spending Easter weekend at Norwescon, getting to hear George R. R. Martin speak and doing a reading of my own short fiction. So it is a very secular weekend for me. Also: “MAD MEN.”

Ester: That sounds amazing. Have you read all the Game of Thrones books, or is that a stupid question? :) I’ve gone through them each twice at this point, except one of the ones I wasn’t crazy about so I skipped it on Reading #2. Can’t remember now which that was.

Nicole: Ha ha, you totally skipped A Feast For Crows. I bet.

Ester: You’re probably right, though it was a couple of years ago now and I’m not as conversant as I was. I love the one with the Red Wedding though. That was one of the most gasp-inducing things I’ve ever read.

Nicole: I got spoiled on all of the major deaths in GoT, including the Red Wedding, so it was less of a surprise but still a brilliantly written scene. And yes, I have read all of the books!

Ester: How much did you spend on them, do you think?

Nicole: I got my set from Amazon, so I can look this up: $19.74 for books 1-4 in a boxed set, and then I read A Dance With Dragons at the library.

Ester: Not bad at all! My sister-in-law lent me the first one, I think, but once I realized I was going to want to have them on hand to reread as necessary I paid the cover price (heh, my version of “paying the iron price”) for the trade paperbacks. I’m always excited when I happen to like something that’s released in the cheaper, smaller trade paperbacks — and usually when I do, it’s the kind of books, like these and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, that the publishers realize that they can make more money by reissuing more formally in a version for which they can charge more.

Trade or mass-market paperbacks, in case folks don’t know the ins and outs of this, are usually chunkier and the ink has a tendency to smear. Literary fiction in paperback, on the other hand, is released in larger, nicer, clean-hand versions — though frankly I don’t usually think it’s worth paying for the upgrade.

Nicole: I love trade paperbacks. I think it’s a carryover from the Scholastic Book Fair days, but books only feel “right” to me when they’re small, with tiny print, in a size that fits right into your hand.

Ester: Yeah, there’s something satisfying about them. I think they’re designed to be more disposable, which is too bad, but they also do well for travel. I think I bought the Dragon Tattoo books in airports. As mass market paperbacks.

Nicole: If I had to do it over again, now that I own a Kindle, I would buy all the GoT books on Kindle and skip the paperbacks. Also, I keep waiting for airports to offer a “like this book? Buy the ebook right now!” option.

Ester: Brilliant! Of course. Now that Amazon is doing its “Dash Button” thing, they should team up with airport bookstores to offer e-books that way. And yes, I got the last GoT book on my Kindle, as well as the most recent Outlander book. It’s fun, and something of a mindfuck, to have something so lightweight contain so much literary density.

Nicole: I agree, and I love the idea of the Dash Button—please let me stick these all over my apartment—but I also feel a little strange about advocating for Amazon Everything.

Ester: I feel very complicated about Amazon. Heh. We should do a corporate alphabet book of all the businesses we feel unsure about supporting. Call it “A is for Amazon.”

Nicole: No, no, no: “Ewwww is for Uber.”

Ester: Too bad A can’t also be for Apple. Or maybe it’s just as well. I’d hate to anger the Apple gods; maybe my iPhone would stop working as punishment. My iPhone sometimes feels like the codependent boyfriend I never had. I get anxious if it’s out of my sight.

Nicole: Well, Apple just announced a product that’ll solve that problem. The scary thing is that every time I see a commercial for the Apple Watch, I want one.

Ester: Who doesn’t want to be Dick Tracy? But I’d feel kind of weird about wearing a watch again after all of this time. I haven’t for years.

Nicole: I thought it would be weird until I started wearing my Fitbit, and started asking myself “why does this device only do one thing?” The future has infected my brain.

Ester: On the plus side, the future also holds the final episodes of “Mad Men,” so I can’t be mad at it. And more Jamie & Claire.

Nicole: “Mad Men” needs to end with Bobby Draper getting a job in Pawnee, Indiana, and then getting fired. That is the only ending I will find satisfying.

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