Goldsboro Books and the bookish community

Posted in Books
on 20/03/2019

Full disclosure: I was able to get hold of a copy of the book in question. Would I be disappointed if I hadn’t got a copy? Probably. Would I still be so angry about the way people have been reacting on Twitter? Absolutely.

When Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff announced the Goldsboro Books special edition of Aurora Rising, I bet they thought it was a sweet deal. With its purple sprayed edges, it’s a gorgeous, limited printed run edition of the hotly anticipated book.

When a book is limited to 500 copies, you know you’re chancing your luck. Goldsboro ship worldwide and, when the authors are as high profile as this, there’s obviously going to be high level traffic wanting a copy.

So what, then, has made me so riled that I feel the need to rant?

The entitlement shown by some members of the bookish community in the last few days has been awful.

This book was always going to be in high demand so it was no surprise that the website crashed 10 minutes before the book was even on sale. What followed was horrible to watch.

Frustration. Anger. Entitlement.

Over a book.

A very pretty book. But a book. That’s going to be available for everyone to get some form of copy.

Let’s dive into the details.

The website went down at 11:50am – I know this because I had the website open from 11:30am.

Cue a b s o l u t e bedlam.

At first, the tweets were people asking Goldsboro if their website had stopped working… Duh, but at least it was jovial. There were jokes being made about the Illuminae Files books and people were just waiting to get on the site.

Then someone said they’d ordered by phone. A pretty standard thing to do, really. You can order almost anything over the phone. Theatre tickets, books, movie tickets, gig tickets. Box Offices still exist, people just don’t phone so often.

I get that this puts international folk at a disadvantage. It must charge a shedload to call the UK for a book, but that doesn’t mean that those who can, shouldn’t. I mean, if my gran wanted a copy she would have to phone because she doesn’t have internet?

Anyway.

This is when everyone lost their shit.

Cue Goldsboro staff being called incompetent, accused of not being fair, threatened with the revoking of custom, asking that people who phoned have their orders revoked?!. Simply because people wanted a book.

It’s absolutely not okay.

In 2011, the Booksellers Association reported that the number of independent bookstores fell from 1894 in 1995, to 1159 in 2011. That’s the equivalent of one independent bookstore closing every 13 days.

So we shouldn’t expect Goldsboro to be able to handle the amount of traffic generated by two powerhouse authors. Combined, Kaufman and Kristoff can “influence” around 114,000 people. Imagine if even one percent of those people wanted a Goldsboro book. Over half would leave disappointed.

We should be celebrating the fact that an independent bookstore has been able to get a book of such clout. That it can keep paying the rent prices of central London (the store is literally next to Leicester Square).

We should treasure small bookstores, not shit on them.

The entitlement that seems to be seeping into day to day interactions scares me. No one has the right to dictate who should and shouldn’t get a copy of a book (can you believe I’m still talking about a bloody book?). No one has the right to act personally wounded if they are not able to get a copy. Move on. The odds were against all of us to begin with.

I probably could’ve brushed off some of the criticism of Goldsboro, if I weren’t seeing this entitlement everywhere. What has emboldened people to be rude and confrontational about everything? The people who work, not just at Goldsboro, but in supermarkets, in call centres, in public facing jobs deserve our respect, not our insolence. Because those jobs are fucking soul destroying.

So, for those attacking Goldsboro: get your heads out of your ass. It’s a bloody book, for fuck’s sake.

Finally, and most importantly;

To all the fabulous folk at Goldsboro Books,

The past 24hrs have been rough. Your tech team will be tired, your front of house staff will be sick of hearing the phone ring, and you’ll likely have turned off your notifications because DAMN people are infuriating. So know one thing, Goldsboro Books:

You’ve done brilliantly.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  • Kaleena @ Reader Voracious Blog

    THANK YOU. I’ll admit that I was frustrated yesterday because I woke up just before 5AM so I could try to nab a copy and wound up refreshing the site off and on for a couple of hours, but the amount of pure vitriol that I have seen all over my timeline is appalling.

    Sure, those in the US were at a disadvantage — the time was early for my timezone and international calling is difficult — but you know what? This is just a brief glimpse into what the international audience experiences 99% of the time. I was REALLY excited to see an indie land a deal like this, especially one outside of the US, because it was nice to see others get a chance. At the end of the day, those of us in the US have a lot more privilege by living in the country that dominates publishing.

    I am sad my book won’t have sprayed edges, but I am excited to have Jay sign it (and all my other books) when I go to YALLwest in May. Congrats on getting a copy, and thanks for this post!

    20/03/2019 at 11:53 pm Reply
  • Caitlin G.

    Yes to all of this. It’s a very pretty book, but (and I say this as avid reader and fierce defender of all books in my possession) IT’S JUST A BOOK. Feel disappointed, and then go find something else to be excited about. You will survive.

    21/03/2019 at 12:05 am Reply
  • Acepages

    Yes! I wanted the book but I didn’t get up early to get it, I knew it was unlikely for me to get it and just settled with the fact that was probably okay because someone out there wanted it more than me. I got the Darkdawn book and that’s the one I really really wanted and if I didn’t it would have sucked but I would have been okay. Also the people attacking the authors like they can do anything is insane. I understand being frustrated especially over technical issues like that (I work in the tech field so I feel like it’s 1000x worse for me when I see tech issues… It’s like an itch I can’t scratch), but at the end of the day we should all support each other as a community of book lovers.

    21/03/2019 at 12:40 pm Reply
  • May 2019 TBR • Natalie Helena

    […] Yes, everyone is going on about this book. Yes, I’ve been ridiculously jealous of everyone who has managed to get their hands on an ARC of this. And, I’m going to have to wait a little longer than publication day to read this as I’m one of the very lucky few who managed to get theirs hands on a Goldsboro copy – read more about that debacle here. […]

    04/05/2019 at 5:00 pm Reply
  • Sifa

    It was horrible to watch. I’d never read any books by either, and then the memento chaos happened. It was two terrible events of an entitled, arrogant fandom. I told a friends that if this was the toxicity of these fans, then I didn’t want any part of it and would remove the books from my TBR

    Luckily that friend reminded me it was nothing to do with the authors, and I shouldn’t judge them on their fans – or hold back their livelihood because of it. I trawled through their SM to see what the authors were like, in case they’d been acting in such a way to prompt it. No – they had been trying to clam things down and call their fans out. (I have started to read their work now)

    But the fans should take note of that. Their actions almost drove me away, and probably turned others off. Image is crucial to authors, and fans play a massive part of that image.

    It’s upsetting that we have to call them out, but you’ve managed in a calm, thoughtful way that should prompt all of us to look at our own attitudes.

    13/05/2019 at 8:30 am Reply
  • kerry robinson

    Great post. Totally agree.

    20/05/2019 at 8:11 pm Reply
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