I’m going on record. I loved Pillars Of The Earth BEFORE Her O-ness chose it as a Book Club selection.
The first copy of POTE I ever read cost me 5 bucks in paperback. With inflation it should cost about, oh, $8.99 tops. But not only did Oprah choose this wonderful book for her bookclub, (thus making me seem like a follower instead of a leader in the world of book consumption) she seems to think that reading is a sport best reserved for the rich.
Why else would you charge $21.95 for an 18 year old paperback?
Oh, excuse me. Amazon explains the thinking behind the “deluxe edition”. This is priceless:
Oprah wanted to ensure that readers of her latest Oprah’s Book Club® selection would not only be delighted with Ken Follett’s marvelous novel, but also with the look and feel of the actual book. With this in mind, a deluxe paperback edition of The Pillars of the Earth was published especially for Oprah’s Book Club®. This edition features a stronger binding, higher quality paper, and French flaps.
What are French flaps?
French flaps are simply extensions of the paperback cover that fold inside the book. Not only are paperback books featuring French flaps sturdier and more attractive, but they are also useful because the flaps can be tucked back into the book to mark the reader’s place. Since The Pillars of the Earth is a longer novel–over 900 pages in length, in fact–the improved binding, paper, and French flaps will no doubt be appreciated by both the casual reader and collector.
I’ve read many a long novel in my life. For those that didn’t come with “French Flaps” (i.e. all of them) I’ve made do with bookmarks, blow-in cards from old magazines, pieces of junk mail or my memory. (How hard is it to say “Okay, I’m on page 416″?)
It really cheeses me off that once again Oprah talks a good game about her book club being all about accessibility and mass exposure to literary pleasure, but in the end she can’t resist casting an elitist pall over the experience. There is no earthly reason why readers can’t perfectly enjoy Pillars Of The Earth–or any book–in Mass Market Paperback. Sure, I love pretty books as much as the next guy. But there is such a thing as taking it to an extreme.