In an incredibly stupid decision, the late Robert Jordan’s wife has caused the last Wheel of Time book, A Memory of Light, to be delayed until April after the print book is released this week. Originally it was scheduled to be delayed for a full year. According to Galleycat, this has, so far, resulted in 119 one star reviews (now up to 122) on Amazon. I suspect that this one star reviewer’s comment is typical: “I instead will search internet when I get home and will be paying the first industrious individual that has scanned the book and offered for sale.” I think that a lot of people will be looking around certain sites for scanned copies.
The actual author, Brian Sanderson, says that this decision was neither his nor Tor’s. On his blog he states:
This is not my decision or Tor’s decision, but Harriet’s. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn’t about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband’s legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)
As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn’t want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan’s legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring.
After they came out in ebook form I threw out my collection of the hardcovers (the library didn’t want them) and bought them all in ebook format. As to the last book, given her attitude, I either won’t buy it at all or will find a free copy somewhere. When will people learn that defying the consumer is never a good business tactic. She has probably done more to hurt her husband’s legacy by this ill-conceived action than she can imagine. From now on Robert Jordan’s Memory of Light will be remembered by the reading community as the source of an ebook that the author’s wife didn’t want the public to have. I think I’ll go over to Amazon and, for the first time, leave a 1 star review.