The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

eBooks and the book monopoly

Okay, I'm going to rant a little now.

There's a book called Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein. It was first published in 1948 and is one of Heinlein's classic "juvenile" science fiction novels. Until the last ten years or so it was continuously in print, but now even my library won't carry it because "nobody reads it any more".

It's still as good as it ever was. I read it to my son, and he loved it. I suspect that the reason kids aren't reading it is because they're just not reading as much as they used to, period.

I bought a brand-new paperback edition of Space Cadet in a bookstore (bricks and mortar, presumably with a mortgage, employees, benefits, and other expenses) for $1.95 in 1981. Not on sale, mind you - this was the price that was actually printed on the cover.

The price for the e-book version currently is $9.99 from Barnes & Noble AND, by an amazing coincidence, from too. That's an increase of 512% - which is effectively far more, since the cost of production is now effectively nil.

No paper, no ink, no printing, no binding, no shipping, no insurance on the shipping, no depreciation, no shelf-space required...NOTHING.

And almost certainly virtually no editing or proofreading. All of that was done long ago!

So is that price increase in keeping with the increase of costs in general since 1981? It damned well isn't. In fact, I just looked it up:


What cost $1.95 in 1981 would cost $4.85 in 2012.


The reading public is being SCREWED, massively, by an effective monopoly that is utterly unashamed and virtually unchecked - and has just grown that much stronger thanks to the sale of Goodreads.

Currently reading

Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium d100 system (Basic Roleplaying)
Sam Johnson, Charlie Krank
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit