(See what I did with that title up there?)
So Cemetery Dance just published Blockade Billy, a new novella by Stephen King. I bought it. Cost me $32 total. Possibly the most money I've ever paid for what is a very short story. (I may have paid more for Dean Koontz's Book of Counted Sorrows, which was a ridiculous waste of money thanks to half the book consisting of Dean being all cutesy.) I figured Blockade Billy was worth paying for, though, as it was to be published in such a small quantity—10,000, which is only small by King standards, really.
But then things changed.
I've never been a serious book collector. I have my favorite authors, and I'm perfectly fine with their mass market releases. Hell, I'm equally fine with the looked-down-upon "Book Club Editions." I don't go for the pricey limited editions. I just read what I can get my hands on and hopefully for cheap money. If I can grab a collection by an author, I'll do that instead of hunting down all the individual publications those stories originally appeared in. I just want the stories, you know.
With music I'm a little different, a little more obsessive. I own over 7,000 albums—mostly CDs, some vinyl, and a handful of rare demos on cassette. But still, I'd rather have an album with bonus tracks than that version plus the regular version. It gets a little annoying when there are bonus tracks for Japan, then different bonus tracks for Europe and, as seen more recently, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and so on. It sucks, quite frankly. I'd rather one album with all those songs. I understand the purpose behind all the bonus tracks, even though I think it stinks, and I empathize with the collector mindset and those that need every version of certain albums. But I don't need everything, whether books, movies, or music...
Which is why it irritates the hell out of me that I bought the limited edition of Blockade Billy.
After about nine million e-mails from a ridiculously excited Cemetery Dance (and don't get me wrong here, I'm happy for them—it's a big deal and they should be excited), what was once limited to 10,000 is now into its second Cemetery Dance pressing—for libraries, it is said, and sans baseball card and slipcase—and it's out, or coming out, in a variety of e-formats. Lonely Road Books is also publishing signed deluxe editions—limited and lettered—later this summer. (I imagine those were always planned, though, as Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance, is part owner of Lonely Road; and they're always very pricey and very limited anyway, and cater to an extremely small group of collectors.) Plus, in May, there will be an audiobook and trade edition hardcover released by Simon & Schuster, with an album equivalent literary bonus track, "Morality," originally published on-line by Esquire last year.
So I want that version! Which means I'll probably sell this first pressing of Blockade Billy at some point. To make it more enticing for sale, I've purchased the slipcase—at $23.95, including S&H—that will ship sometime in the future. Add to that the original cost of the book and we're at a nickel under $56—for a book I can't read until May because I don't want to damage it. And then I'll pay even more money, likely bringing Billy's damage to about $70, probably more.
This is a selfish rant, I know, but I am happy everyone will now be able to read the story. I was just hoping limited, you know, meant limited.
My bank account weeps.
Goodnight, you all all all all all all all all...