I often overlook mass market paperback releases.
It’s not because I hate paperbacks. They definitely serve their masters well. It’s mostly, I think, because I am a hardcover collector and paperbacks hold no interest for me. I buy what I want in hardcover, read it in hardcover, and keep it in hardcover. There is just something about a hardcover—the romantic ideal of an ever-expanding and permanent library that will stand the test of time, perhaps—that keeps me focused on the longer lived of the two formats.
But today, I can’t ignore them.
Because today, Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks is published in paperback.
This might seem like an odd post. After all, Bearers of the Black Staff has been selling from bookstores as a hardcover for almost a year. There is more, however, that needs to be explained. You see, today is a first for Terry. After his three stand-alone Shannara novels in the 1980’s, he has primarily worked in a three-book series format. It allowed him to write larger stories that normally would not physical fit into a cost-effective, single hardcover. For years, fans have asked whether or not he would go back to writing stand-alone novels; for years, Terry has said perhaps when he is older and begins to slow down.
Then he wrote Bearers of the Black Staff and the forthcoming The Measure of the Magic—a two-book set!
In short, this is the first year in his career where a reader can pick up the paperback, first book in a Terry Brooks series and actually have a conclusion to that story in the same year.
That might not seem like a big deal but I see it differently. I receive the mail from Terry’s fans and it is most definitely on their minds. People hate waiting a total of two years to read all three books in a trilogy. That, at least, is getting a reprieve. With The Measure of the Magic publishing on August 23, 2011, a fantasy fan can read Bearers of the Black Staff today and within a month have a conclusion for the entire story!
If that intrigues you—and why wouldn’t it?—here is what Terry has to say about Bearers of the Black Staff and the opening of the duology:
Bearers of the Black Staff begins a new chapter in the pre-history of the Shannara world – now revealed to be our own at a time in the distant future. I got started on this with the Genesis of Shannara trilogy which chronicled the destruction of civilization in the Old World and the efforts of a handful of survivors to escape what would prove to be an even greater cataclysm. Having gotten past that, we now pick up on their descendants some five hundred years later and find – I am sure, to no one’s great surprise – that things haven’t yet been resolved and that survival of those who remain is not yet assured.
What’s both interesting and difficult is that having written the Shannara books early on, I now have to find ways to make this current series dovetail into all the stories we already know while at the same time making everything seem new and interesting and revealing secrets that to this point I haven’t. For example, how did the various Races come to be? How did the magic evolve? We have Knights of the Word in the pre-history, so what happened to them? Did they end up becoming the Druids in the Shannara world of the future? And there is a lot more, so I have to spend some time thinking about when and how to address each of these points.
At the same time, I am just beginning work on a new trilogy in Shannara that takes place in the future following the events in High Druid of Shannara. Think that isn’t confusing? I spend half my time trying to keep straight which of the time periods I am writing in and who belongs in each. Some of this gets resolved by good old fashioned research, which means going back or forward and reading in the relevant books to see what’s what. Some of it gets settled by calling up people who know the books better than I do. At least it keeps me off the streets and out of the bars.
But I think you’ll find Bearers worth the effort, and I personally feel very connected to the two main characters, 17-year-old Panterra Qu and 15-year-old Prue Liss, Trackers and friends who are tested in ways that none of us ever hope to be.
Good reading to you all!
Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks is released in paperback on July 26, 2011. The concluding part of the duology, The Measure of the Magic, will be released on August 23, 2011!
9 responses to “Paperback BEARERS In Stores!”
I never quite thought of a duology in this way before. Good thinking Shawn!
I am a fan of the hardcover format as well. I picked up “Bearers” last year and have had it on my shelf for a year, waiting for “Measure” to come out, as I am sure I will read both in a week!! (Didn’t want to wait a year to find out the conclusion). However, in the last 5 years my salary has been cut in half, as have my hours. I’m sure many Americans feel the same, 25 dollars or more can be a little steep for a book. When it comes down to crossing my fingers that I can buy the next Terry Brooks novel AT ALL…. well, I’m glad for the paperback.
I agree with Luke Duke regarding hardcover vs paperback. When you receive a signed copy from a great author (like Terry) you want it to be one that will last a lot longer and better on a shelf as well as being read (I often read a book more than once) and that is where a hardcover copy comes into play.
I often give paperbacks to friends and family that are just beginning to enjoy reading or as an inexpensive gift. I must admit though, if it had not been for a market value copy of the Sword, I do not think that I may have been been reading Terry’s stuff as earlier as I did. After all. It was a market value copy that I found when I first heard of this awesome writer. For all of the paperback readers I say, ENJOY!
I only discovered the Shanarra books this summer and now I am out. I was able to find all the Shanarra books in Paperback.
I have some similar feelings to Luke Duke, above. I love the feel, smell, heft and general appearance of hardcover books but cost precludes my purchasing many as, at 71 years old, my income is somewhat limited and paperbacks prices are a blessing. The public library is an option and I should utilize it more. But, mobility and transportation issues have me pretty much homebound. If I had access to Druid sleep, I’d be in better shape.I am excited to hear that BEARER is out in paperback. and that more is on the way. I hope that Terry Brooks continues to have the interest and energy to continue his marvelous worlds and characters.
I’ve often wondered how Terry manages the constant shifting of timelines within the worlds he’s created … now I know, lol.
I prefer hardcovers for many of the nostalgic/aesthetic reasons you’ve listed, though I’m curious, would any of Terry’s fans actually prefer e-books for many of the reasons listed above, none above timeliness?
I look forward to finding the books in audio form, since my eyes are not the best.
I love my hardcovers for collectible reasons, but like others, the cost is prohibitive. Also, I live in NYC and commute by subway; carrying around and opening a hardcover book with your coffee or jammed in with other people isn’t so easy. In an ideal world, my purchase of any book in physical form would get entitle me to download the e-book version to read for my Android. But alas, no one lives in my ideal world but me.
I look forward to downloading them for my nook. I travel alot and its easier than carrying the book around.
i hate waiting for the the last book . i like the 2 book format