Reader Burnout

I’ve often wondered how long this fad for quickly written pulp fiction will last before burnout occurs. While it’s true publishers in the early 20th C cranked out cheaply made books for the masses, they were working with a smaller pool of authors and didn’t, obviously, have ebook technology. Even the term “pulp” refers to the cheap paper they printed their books on. Pulp is a product from a different era, when poor people didn’t have expensive Netflix accounts to sate their thirst for entertainment. That’s the irony of our modern technology; the janitor at the local grocery store scrolls on an expensive smartphone on his break. Quite often an iPhone — which is out of my reach monetarily, and I’m not that poor. Just of a generation that doesn’t care. Or a member of the Apple-hating crowd. Snort. I’m kidding. But I still have an expensive phone I could waste a lot of good reading hours on.

Entertainment is everywhere, and much of it is free. Despite that, readers are readers and will always come back to books as their refuge. However, if they’re anything like me, they can’t keep up with the dizzying publishing schedules of their favorite authors. Not only can’t, but in my case, there’s a definite won’t in there. But my curmudgeonly spirit is meant in the most generous way. See, I don’t want to get burnt out on my favorite authors. I want to feel the joy of finally, finally obtaining the newest book in that series I love so much. I used to have a number of those series I waited for, and the new books in each rarely came out at the same time, which meant constantly having a coveted new read. Those were exciting and heady days for me as a reader.

Now the market is saturated with the ebook versions of pulp: books that are cheaply edited rather than cheaply printed. What’s more, these are mostly indie authors — millions of them, far too many of whom are cranking out books. This might be a current fad, but there’s no longevity in it. A saturated market is not good for individual sellers. In fact, the opposite (scarcity), while probably an equally bad marketing choice, psychologically tricks the buyers into thinking the product has a higher value than it actually does. Flooding the market overwhelms your audience as well as their precious bank accounts.

I’ve gone through burnout on some of my favorite living authors. I just can’t be compelled to buy into their latest series. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. I have a brain wired for change, new ideas and voices. So perhaps I’m at the extreme end of the intolerance spectrum for too much, too much, too much. Eventually, the rest of the readership will catch up to me. I’m positive; I actually think it’s already happening.


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