Be The Book Mensch You Can Be

(This was originally written as a comment on John Scalzi's Whatever blog, to a post regarding his serial-in-progress novel, The Human Division.)

If readers are impatient and upset over having to wait for a book (or serialized sections, in this case) or pay a (small, so long as you don’t live in Sweden, apparently) premium for first look privileges, pray spare a moment for the feelings of books waiting to be read.

Are there actually people who don’t have a To-Be-Read pile of books standing by? Think about those poor books, waiting, and waiting, and waiting, to be put to their ordained purpose, only to have newer, fresher books placed on top of the pile, burying them like the unexcavated older layers of an ancient city.

If 99 cents is too much to bear for each section, wait for the consolidated e-book. Or buy the hardcover when it comes out; Scalzi’s a popular writer, so Amazon and B&N will probably offer hefty discounts when it first comes out. Or, since Scalzi’s popular, there’ll probably be a cheaper Science Fiction Book Club edition out a few months after the regular hardcover. Or you could even wait for the paperback. Or, if you’re really cheap, or just strapped for cash (I’ve been there), check with your local library to see if they’re planning to provide copies; if not, suggest they include it in their list of forthcoming purchases. (A lot of libraries now provide access to e-books as well; a lot of my lunchtime reading at work the last several years has been on my smartphone.)

In the meantime, let me propose a challenge: While waiting for the next Scalzi, or GRRM, or whoever, book, go to your TBR pile, dig out the oldest book in that pile, and make -that- the next book you read.

The book will be so grateful, and you will be an official Book Mensch, upholding the symbiotic relationship we should properly have with our books.

(Should I mention that my own oldest To-Be-Read book has been waiting since, ummm, 1972?)

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