Robert Jordan's ‘A Memory of Light’ Number One Despite Protests

'A Memory of Light’ Number One

GalleyCat reported yesterday that A Memory of Light, the final installment in the late Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series Wheel of Time, debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. This despite online efforts to trash the book with one-star ratings on Amazon over a delayed eBook release.

Seriously. Though the hardcover is available now, the digital edition won't show up until April, igniting the ire of some 270 reviewers. Here's an example:

A good comparison of not publishing in eBook format is "withholding of newer drugs, by drug companies till patents of the older drugs run out". Definitely not buying the paper format. I waited patiently till January despite knowing Sanderson had finished the book back in July 2012, I can wait till April.

Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, who took over the series in 2007 at the behest of Jordan's widow Harriet McDougal, explained the digital delay:

This is not my decision or [the publisher] 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.

I don't think McDougal should worry about her late husband's legacy, and there still might be more to the story than meets the eye, but that's not the point. Digital or paper, it's just a preference. I understand that if you prefer eBooks and you don't have that option yet, some frustration may arise. Cool. Gripe a little to your friends, and then either watch the calendar pages flip until April or just read the hardcover. I'm guessing most of these one-star reviewers will probably do just that.

But, hey, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. Anyone else care to weigh in?

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Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this January 18, 2013 - 11:26am

I find it pretty hard to feel bad for either side here. 

The wife is trying to game the system, which is silly. 

The fans are being a bunch of babies, which is silly. 

No one wins. 

JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life January 18, 2013 - 11:32am

Who cares, I am fucking hyped to read the end! Been waiting, oh, I don't know, about a bazillion years.

I knew a few people who own all the books in hardcover, and I know they bought it. I will buy it just to read it now, even though I'd rather have the kindle version.

Kevin Koperski's picture
Kevin Koperski January 18, 2013 - 11:54am

It's a silly thing to give a one star review for something like that. I read everything on my Kindle these days, but not everything is available. Sometimes I instead read the physical book, sometimes I wait.  I read the first 10 Wheel of Time books in hardcover, so why not read the last one in hardcover?

In fact, I'm reading it in hardcover now. I'm not planning to give up my Kindle any time soon (it's so much more convenient, especially with 900 page books), but part of me is enjoying the experience of reading a big thick hardcover book again.The smell is lovely.

In any case, people have a valid complaint, but availability has nothing to do with a book rating, so they should express their displeasure in a better way.  On the other hand, with the attention they've received, it's entirely possible their methods will be effective and serve as a cautionary note to publishers who might consider similar tactics in the future.

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep January 18, 2013 - 12:03pm

I'm with the side that's just happy to finally read the end! I think I'll probably go for the hardcover, simply because that's the way all the rest of mine are. I need an Ultraviolet-like service for my hardcovers, so I can pay some reasonable "upgrade" price and get the Kindle version. Maybe when it comes out in paperback. ;)

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... from I'd prefer it if you didn't know. So would you, only you don't know it. is reading whatever he makes time for this week January 18, 2013 - 12:30pm

The fans are being a bunch of babies, which is silly.



This seems to epitomize the "me want now" mentality that irks you so, Rob, at least when it leads to piracy. According to Wikipedia/Media Bistro, some "have threatened to download a pirated ebook unless the official ebook was available at launch."

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts January 18, 2013 - 4:29pm

Isn't this how it's supposed to be, the staggering of different format releases? How long is the usual wait before a book is released in mass-market paperback? Let's just ignore those 270 assholes on Amazon. They should really reconsider calling themselves fans if they're not even willing to buy the fucking book.

David G's picture
David G January 19, 2013 - 6:36pm

It never ceases to amaze me how petty people can be.

Be thankful the series was finished at all. How many are never completed because the author dies?

Stop whining and just wait till April.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 19, 2013 - 7:35pm

From the sales studies I've seen a digital copy wouldn't have that much of a change on the hardcopy sales. Not saying it is right, but it seems like this is just encouraging piracy.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 19, 2013 - 8:42pm

I wish I were that into a book series. Even if it were so, I wouldn't rage out on the amazon page; but it'd be nice to care so deeply about the calendar date of a book's secondary release.

Dre Sage's picture
Dre Sage from Florida January 23, 2013 - 11:10pm

If the eBook isn't out yet then where did the eBook that is floating around in torrents come from?

Great book btw. Did not end how I expected.

I think that she shouldn't have held back the eBook's release. Stuff like that encourages piracy.

I've never seen this website before but after reading the article I signed up.

Kyle D Lloyd's picture
Kyle D Lloyd February 4, 2013 - 10:51am

I liked the last book ok. I'm not sure how much i like it though. Not to do any spoilers for people who havent read that final book yet, does anybody want to talk about it? It would be great to grasp a better understanding of some parts that I may misunderstood.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 4, 2013 - 12:19pm