I read…a lot. I have two 7.5′ tall bookcases filled with books. And on most of those shelves, the books are stacked two rows deep and sometimes rows on top of rows. Mostly I read paperbacks, in large part due to the fact that as much as I read, if I were to purchase hardcovers, I would quickly go broke. As it is, at $7.99 a pop for a paperback, I spend way more than I should.
As such, I’m always looking for a bargain and my local Barnes and Noble offers several islands of “bargain priced” books from which to choose. They have the cooking island and the historical island. They have the do-it-yourself island and the artsy island. But they also have the non-fiction island where a decent bargain can sometimes be found. It is from this pile o’ books that I recently picked up a copy of Paul Auster’s book “Oracle Night.”
I mostly read science fiction and fantasy themed books, so cover art is usually a huge draw in the kinds of books I ultimately pick. But this book by Auster has a simple blue cover, with a very small graphic on the front. Perhaps it was this simplicity that drew me to it:
(the arrow here is an artifact from where I cut it off Amazon.com)
Now, one could logically deduce that if a book is on the bargain-priced chopping block, that it perhaps didn’t sell well. So, I’m naturally suspicious about the quality of the book. I quickly read the inside cover to make sure it would be something I might be interested in–which it was–and then I flipped if over and read the back where there were several glowing reviews. These reviews sounded believable; not just the “…a fabulous tour de force” variety you often get, so I went ahead and purchased it for $4.98. Not a HUGE bargain, but still cheaper than a paperback.
These days I don’t get huge blocks of time to read a book, so I have to catch a page or two where I can: eating breakfast, lying in bed at night, the…um…throneroom. Wherever. Yesterday as I’m fondling the book, I flip it over and look more closely at the back of the book and I notice the following:
A bit confused, I flip the book over to re-familiarize myself with the title and sure enough, the title of this book is “Oracle Night” and not “The Book of Illusions” as illustrated here. Even the reviews listed on the back (which helped influence my purchase) were for “The Book of Illusions.”
I immediately felt outraged, ripped off, sullied! What a nasty trick! I bet the publisher put this new cover on the book after it failed to sell in hopes that cheap sucker-bastards like myself would pick it up and take it home. And it worked!
But ya know what? “Trick me once…shame on me. Trick me twice…shame on you.” (actual quote modified for mine own purposes)
I’ll take the blame for this one, but let this be a lesson for all of my three readers! Bargain-priced books…BUYER BEWARE!