Do you prefer it when the books were numbered???

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nathan, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure I get that. If you enjoyed something, why would you stop just because it hit a number with two zeroes at the end? Or are you saying they didn't actually enjoy reading the books, but kept buying them because they were numbered, and they felt they needed to collect all the numbers? If they were going to stop, are you saying that Pocket dropping the numbers actually made them keep buying?
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm already counting that as a definite buy. :techman:
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I guess you do have a point about Titan, it was just the first example to come to my mind after Vanguard. The other problem I thought of is trying to find a way to differentiate the post-finale books and the books set during the TV series. I'm not sure how would you make sure that somebody looking for say TNG #3 found Q & A and not The Children of Hamlin. I guess could have given them a subtitle, but that could still get confusing, and you could end up with some crazy long titles for things like the Cold Equations trilogy, and how would you number those. If you weren't careful I guess you could have ended up with something like Star Trek: The Next Generation: The New Missions Book 12: Cold Equations Book 1: The Persistence of Memory. Yeah, the more I think about this the more problems there are with it.

    EDIT: And would you do about things like The Fall, Destiny, or Typhon Pact?
     
  4. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9-R already set an example how to number books to avoid confusion, with season 8.01 to season 9.
    The numbering schemes of miniseries could fit that system if the books where part of the main series, i.e. "Star Trek: Titan: Typhon Pact: Seize the Fire", and so on. :vulcan:

    That's just as an example. As a veteran Star Trek reader (since 2008), I have no personal need for numbering anymore. :bolian:
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I had several friends who stopped buying "Starlog" at #100, and others who chose to stop at #200. Everyone runs out of room at some point and numbers can force people to draw the line in the sand. When you realize something has the potential to go on forever, you can start looking for a psychological jumping-off point. Similarly, comics often restart so that they can attract newcomers eager to buy a new #1 for their collections.

    Yep. Their interest was waning, but they hated the idea of just... stopping.

    Yep. I know several people who did continue to keep collecting ST novels. Complaining all the way.

    As for myself, I once made a firm promise to stop buying "Fantastic Four" comics when the Thing returned from "Secret Wars", and when She-Hulk stepped down for him as his replacement, but ten or so issues later and there was still no sign of an official handover issue. Five members in some issues, all members wearing "4" logos. I'm still buying FF, even when I haven't been enjoying it.
     
  6. Fer

    Fer Commander Red Shirt

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    Sometimes it's a question of not enjoying them enough. There's a lot of competition for my limited time and entertainment money, so if something is consistently at the bottom of my read pile then a good jumping off point makes me re-evaluate if I want to keep buying it.

    I was already only buying the Trek books that sounded interesting to me at the time, so Pocket dropping the numbering didn't really affect my buying habits. But I did always think it was odd that they got rid of the numbers just as the books stopped being stand-alones.
     
  7. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks to Therin and Fer for the responses. Still seems a little odd to me, but different strokes, right? ;)

    Totally agreed with the limited space and limited money arguments, as I've certainly been there. But for me personally, I usually just drop off as soon as I realize I'm not enjoying something or it's not worth the expense to me anymore. Just because something has an ongoing number isn't going to make me continue to buy something I don't really want.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    My local comic shop sometimes suggests to customers, "Only buy what you're currently reading and enjoying". When life gets busy, unread comics and novels can stockpile, and you don't realize immediately that your tastes, or the storyline, or the style, has changed.

    I never understood the excitement of Playmates' numbered ST figures. Sure, it was interesting to know how limited a particular figure might be, but only one person is ever going to find #00001, or #1701, or the last number in a run. The quest for the lowest number possible caught some fans off guard when it was revealed that the foot was numbered before assembly. Thus I once ended up with one figure with two left feet and no number whatsoever.
     
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    The only problem I ever had with the numbering was that it could potentially create the false impression that the numbered books had to be read in some sort of sequence and took place in that order--which couldn't have been further from the truth since the books were mostly standalones back then. When I was writing, say, TNG #38, I wasn't trying to fit it in between #'s 37 and 39. Chances were, I didn't even know what 37 and 39 were about or who was writing them. I was just trying to stay more or less consistent with the TV shows!

    The books weren't serialized, so why number them as though they were?
     
  10. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    I couldn't agree more with this. It would likely confuse new readers as well. I wasn't a new reader back then, as I had started back in the '70s, but I could easily see it happening.
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly - and the first fifteen were retro-numbered for the booklist and later reprints. Including the first three novelizations!

    Now, at the time, adding those numbers to the booklist was a great marketing strategy. The numbers have psychological effects (on some collectors). I'm sure ST:TMP holds some kind of record for a novelization going into multiple reprints over many, many years. Casual browsers picked up, say, Book #19 and realized what they'd missed. Everything was still in print! They'd fill out the order form in the back - and their TrekLit adventure would step into high gear! Casual browsers picking up the numbered ST III novelization perhaps also became curious about not only TMP and ST II, but the early original novels as well.

    I'm assuming Pocket may have let some of the earliest novels fall out-of-print around about the time of ST IV. That novelization was deliberately unnumbered, and the next new original MMPB novel, "Chain of Attack", had a noticeable overhaul to its cover, with the "Star Trek" banner growing much larger, and finally using the familiar and iconic TV series font on the MMPBs. "Chain of Attack" also kickstarted a new set of numbered UK releases.

    Around the same time we had the arrival of the first unnumbered "giant" MMPBs and - three "giants" later - the first ST hardcover marketed to adult SF readers. ("Mission to Horatius" from Whitman had had an intended child audience.) It always amazes me that "Spock's World" (and "The Lost Years") had no "Star Trek" banner on the spine! It was marketed as a hot new science fiction hardcover, and stood proudly on "new release" shelves in bookshops with that month's other new science fiction hardcovers.

    When the numbers started having negative psychological effects on collectors and casual browsers, they needed to go.
     
  12. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For the Voyager series I preferred it when the books were numbered as the had that cool band with a different color and the "digital" number. That, I found, made the Voyager books stand out when you were looking at the spine, and it gave the series a sense of uniformity.
     
  13. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

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    Yeah, this was simultaneously both the blessing AND the curse of the "post-memo" Pocket Books era -- neither authors nor readers had much to fear with being forced to follow a complex inter-novel continuity from book to book, but it also made the entire run far more episodic and disconnected than it could've been (which, granted, gave it the feel of its still-airing parent television show, but still).

    Then again, going in the exact opposite direction with the product line has since brought the other problems to light -- greater reader reticence to pick up one volume of an interconnected series (for fear of becoming lost), bookstore buyer confusion regarding purchases, etc. However, in my opinion, the creative benefits that have since been reaped far outweigh any of these issues.
     
  14. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    I know the feeling.

    Back in the day in late-1984, I kept telling myself that I would stop collecting comics with:

    - Iron Man #200
    - The Uncanny X-Men #200

    But then comes along "Secret Wars II", which made my "psychological" point somewhat easier. It prolonged my collecting slightly longer to sometime in early-1986, where I picked up all the "Secret Wars II" crossover issues. I more or less stopped collecting after all the crossover issues were finished.


    Going on a further tangent.

    In more recent times, I was playing rpg games again like Dungeons & Dragons, where in 2008 I started to collect the then-new 4th edition supplement books. (I use to play D&D a lot when I was a kid, but later stopped playing for decades). So over the next two years from 2008 to 2010, I was buying the new monthly supplement books every month.

    Then they "revised" the D&D rules slightly in mid-2010, and released a set of "4.5" edition core books, which I was somewhat hesitant to buy at first. At the time, I thought it would be a good point to stop buying D&D books. But I ended up playing in a D&D game which used these revised 4.5 books, and hence I ended up buying these core 4.5 rulebooks.

    After buying these 4.5 core D&D rulebooks, in early-2011 I told myself (again) that I would stop buying any new D&D supplement books. But a year later in January 2012, they formally announced that a new 5th edition of D&D was going to be produced, which effectively ended the 4/4.5 edition D&D product line.

    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/01/5th-edition-dungeons-and-dragons/

    So I ended up buying the rest of the 4.5 edition D&D supplement books published in 2011 and 2012, largely to "complete" my collection of 4/4.5 edition D&D books. (There were around a dozen or so 4.5 edition supplement books). The final official 4.5 edition book published, was like a "the rest of 4th and 4.5 edition" hodge podge collection of written rules and advice.

    At this point in time, I keep telling myself that I will not buy any 5th edition D&D books. :lol:

    Somewhat surprising that an edition of D&D only lasted for four years. Previous editions of D&D, lasted for as long as a decade.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  15. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wait, there's a fifth edition coming!?
     
  16. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    They've been doing public playtests of potential 5E D&D rulesets, over the last year and a half or so. (They've been semi-officially calling it "D&D Next").

    https://www.wizards.com/dnd/dndnext.aspx

    So far they have not stated a release date yet for the 5E player's handbook.
     
  17. DorkBoy [TM]

    DorkBoy [TM] Captain Captain

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    The best thing about the "numbers" is that it makes it really easy to put your shelf in release order and see where the gaps in your collection are. That was really helpful back in the day.

    Especially when I was catching up and buying older books piecemeal from used book stores, etc.

    Of course, these days I just buy almost all the novels as they come out, anyhow. So its really kind of moot.

    When they started doing the crazy crossover series the numbering system really started to break down. When TOS 70, TNG 30, DS9 15, VOY 10 are book 1-4 of a series, it quickly becomes confusing. :) (And, which way do I shelve my collection - do I keep the numbers in order or keep the crossover series together? Its enough to make the OCD part of my brain explode!)

    Anyhow I think we're better off without them. And the recent novels have hardly been as ordinary and "by the numbers" as the numbered era books were. ;)
     
  18. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Easy solution: by all of the crossover books twice and do both. :rommie:

    I'm okay with books not being numbered anymore, although I appreciate it in the case of CoE, which makes it easier to get the books in publication order. And the numbering scheme of the German editions prevented me from picking VGD 2 instead of 1. :bolian:
     
  19. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry to continue on the tangent, but I think the primary impetus for D&D Next was because of the relative failure that was 4E. Wizards of the Coast botched the release of 4E bigtime and never really recovered, and because of some changes they made to the gameplay, they've lost a huge portion of their audience to rival Pathfinder, which uses a refined and improved 3E/3.5 ruleset (which was made possible by the Open Game License published by WotC back during the 3E era).

    To get back on topic, I didn't follow Trek lit back during the numbered era, so I find the whole concept a little awkward. I definitely prefer things the way they are now. Numbering the books would make me feel like I have to buy them all in order to complete the set. I'm sure Pocket would prefer I did that, but I'd rather not.
     
  20. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    On another tangent.

    More generally, this type of behavior sounds very similar to that of a hardcore alcoholic, drug addict, degenerate gambler, etc ... :borg:

    With that being said, as I've gotten older I've had to train myself to avoid jumping onto compulsive collecting type "treadmills". (Especially ones which are long term running or recurring, with frequent releases). Though sometimes I am not successful.

    In recent times, some of the treadmills I jumped onto were:

    - 4/4.5 edition Dungeons & Dragons rpg supplement books
    - dvds/blurays of 1980's and early-1990's action movies
    - television show season sets on dvd (or bluray)
    - Star Trek novels (mostly older numbered novels)
    - various graphic novels of recent limited series comic book titles
    - etc ...

    Over the last year or two, I've found various "psychological" tricks to jump off these various treadmills, such as:

    - a series is complete (ie. older tv shows, limited series comic books, D&D books, older movies, etc ...)
    - heavily restricting my choices to buy (ie. current tv shows, newer movies, Star Trek novels, etc ...).


    For current tv shows released on dvd or bluray, I have largely restricted myself to tv shows released on bluray, where I have not previously watched through most or all of the episodes in a season. (Since very few tv shows are released on bluray, this severely restricts my selection of possible new tv show season sets to buy). Also if I have watched through all the episodes of a particular season of a current or recent tv show, there's no point anymore in buying that season on dvd/bluray.

    For newer movies, I've been restricting myself to only buying ones which are released on bluray and that I think I will watch numerous times. Over that last year or so, I've only had one bluray title which I have watched numerous times: the 2009 Star Trek movie.

    I have too many tv show dvd season sets and movies, which I have not finished watching or haven't watched at all.


    To go back on topic in regard to Star Trek novels, I've largely restricted myself to buying second handed ST novels at book fairs, thrift stores, etc ..., where most of the time I can find older Star Trek books for 50 cents each or less.