Sitting down with my rep from Hachette Publishing last week, I learnt that two new John Grisham books were slated to appear in late May, one adult title and one young adult title. Stifling a yawn, and ready to move on to making fun of the new Stephen King B-format covers, I noticed that the two books had the same title. It seemed as if Hodder & Stoughton Australia (and UK) were planning to release both an adult and YA version of the same book. Well … no.
This is the “Adult” edition. Recommended Retail Price $32.99:
This is the “Young Adult” edition. Recommended Retail Price $25
Yep, you guessed it. Same book, different covers, different prices. Same book-buying market. Now I’ve got no issue with “crossover” novels per se (think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time or The Book Thief), or even dual covers (think Harry Potter or Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book). The main problem for me, in this instance, is that the whole endeavor is so calculated. You see, in the US—the home of old Pelican Briefs himself—there is only going to be one version of the book. See if you can guess which market Grisham wrote it for (apart from 80s VHS-cover fanatics).
Yes, in the US, it is a KIDS’ BOOK. It’s abundantly clear that Hodder & Stoughton and Hachette Australia just want more market share. Pure and simple. Their press release seems to paint the idea as deeply democratic, and just giving fans what they want. But, seriously, guys, come clean.
I would rather chew off my own arm than read this book, but if you do, it’s embargoed until its worldwide release on May 25. And don’t forget, you’ve got two great choices of how much money you fork out for it. Do enjoy.