I Expect Story

So, there I am, reading Gail Carriger’s Soulless (the first in her Parasol Protectorate series, a nice complement to season three of Downton Abbey, by the way).

I’m about 40 or so pages from the end, and I’m getting tired so I check to see how many pages to the end of the chapter. And God Damn it! The last 20 pages are an interview with the author and the beginning of the next book. Plus, 13 pages are an Epilogue.

Now, okay, the Epilogue is part of the story, but there were only three pages left in the story proper. I’m holding 40 pages in my hand! I’m expecting a plot twist. I’m expecting additional fine wit. More interesting character moments. More well-built world. Instead of finishing the book with a desire to go buy the next (and I have a Barns & Noble gift card right here), instead of propelling me out the door, I feel gypped. I want my 40 pages!

You know what else is a stupid hold over from an unwilling-to-change publishing industry? Adding on the first chapter of the next book.

I am all for bonus content. I love it. But it does not belong here. Where does bonus book content belong? In an eBook on a clickable link. In an app. As a separate track in an audio book. As a downloadable pdf. On a website.

To be clear, all artists and companies should strive to provide more than what is expected. When I buy a book, however, I expect that the last 40 pages will be story. Perhaps I shouldn’t.


About jonahknight

Jonah writes, records, and performs songs about ghosts, monsters, steampunk, and creepy Christmas tunes. Is that geek music? Nerd music? Filk? Who knows. Find more at www.jonahofthesea.com He also co-hosts (with Mikey Mason) the Pros and Cons podcast. A Parsec Finalist, the show is about geek music and convention culture. http://prosandconspodcast.blogspot.com/

9 thoughts on “I Expect Story

  1. Wahh? You’re crazy. I love the bonus material, especially the interviews and Reader Guide questions.

    My FAVORITE though are those cool coupons in the back. “Send $3 plus P&P for each title ordered. 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.”

  2. Ooooo. Glossary as an app for your smarter than thou phone, maps as app… This is turning into a very expensive book, paying for someone to code all this. But wouldn’t it be wild?

  3. You are so right!! One of my most favorite authors started to add a glossary detailing a language she developed for a series. The first few books (until it finally set in that she would put it in every single book) I would get so upset for what looked like a sudden end of the story. I was expecting a major development in the story with all those pages left but BAM the story is over. I’d prefer all the options you mentioned over wasting the trees to print pages I will never read in each book of yours I buy. And I have the sneaky suspicion that we are charged for those extra pages….

  4. Ha! I had that feeling at the end of Soulless too when I thought I had more story but instead found I just had stuff.

    I don’t mind links and extra material and think ebooks are perfect for this but I also don’t want to feel slightly cheated when I’m reading a fun book only to find out it’s over way before I was ready.

  5. Been thinking about this throughout the day, and… Nope. I am clearly ensconced in Camp Bonus Material. I love my maps, illustrations, glossary/ies, genealogy diagrams, poetry, epigraphs, and so on and so forth.

    • I love maps. And interviews and cool stuff.
      I do not love halfassed maps, glossaries of any sort (unless it’s non-fiction), or advance chapters of the next book.
      Mostly, I just don’t want to feel like the page count has been padded.

      • Hah! Nalo Hopkinson had me up ’till 5 am reading The New Moon’s Arms. The story just ended, no sequel or Part 2 or nuthin’. The way she chose to end it, I still wanted more story, with or without bonus material. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SEAL SKIN, NALO?

  6. Or you just got frustrated w/the end of Soulless, because it’s, well, annoying and frustrating. I finished that book with no interest in continuing with the series. had you gotten a more satisfying ending of the story itself, maybe the bonus stuff wouldn’t be so bothersome. I’m a fan of the bonus stuff, and I am even MORE a fan of when they start numbering the pages again at 1 (or even better, have them not numbered), so when i’m flipping to the back of the book I know exactly where the story part ends and the bonus stuff starts.

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