Today’s (Apparently) the Day
by Kathleen Fitzpatrick — Modern Language Association
November 01, 2011 – 08:12
According to Amazon, at least: today is the day that Planned Obsolescence has been released!
The link above is to the paperback version; here’s a link to the Kindle edition. And it’s the existence of the Kindle edition that makes the whole “release day” thing so amusing (to me, at least).
I got my first copy of the paperback about four weeks ago now. Granted, I got it the very day it arrived at the press, and it does take a couple of weeks for Amazon to get its first shipment, to get that shipment into its system, and to get ready to start shipping them out. So while I kinda expected them to update the book’s page from listing a November 1 release date to reflect its in-stock-ness before now, I wasn’t terribly surprised that it didn’t happen.
But… the Kindle edition. Has also been there, more or less ready to go. Folks even pre-ordered it! And apparently are receiving it today. Virtual copies of my book are zipping out across the WhisperNet, arriving like presents in people’s digital libraries.
Which is completely awesome, of course, but it does make me wonder: November 1 was not intended by NYU Press to be an official laydown date; there was no publisher-enforced embargo on sales, or reviews, or anything else before that. And given that one of the virtues of the Kindle is that you can have that text right now, why hold it back? Why turn what was meant to be an estimate by the press into an official release date?
It makes today pretty nifty for me personally, but I’m wondering whether it makes any kind of sense otherwise.