21 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Overpriced Paperback

I am quite put out with Scholastic for charging $34.95 for the physical piece of garbage they're passing off as HP7. I've not read it yet — yardwork and family stuff called first, and then there's the armwrestling with the kids for the book — but I'm appalled.

  • The jacket is, if anything, even more cheaply produced than the last time. The stock is discernably less dense, meaning that the embossing is going to be meaningless in a few months. And it's curling badly. Yes, the humidity is ridiculous here in the midwest... but that's not much of an excuse.
  • The binding is, if anything, worse than that for HP4, which fell apart before reaching the end of the book. The glue line is thin, uneven, and has visible voids. There's not even a pretense that the binding has any sewn element.
  • The opacity and color-match of the paper stock is marginally acceptable; only the light reproduction of Mary Grand Pré's chapter-opening drawings keeps them from showing through. Further, there are distinct grain waves indicating that some signatures were printed short-grain, and others long-grain.
  • The trimming is different at the top than at the bottom.

I won't go on with even-more-detailed criticism of the physical packaging. After all, it's the words on the page that matter. That doesn't make me happy about Scholastic's pricing practices, though. And I looked over a few other copies when I was picking up mine, too; they were not discernably different.