Previous to the release of Winter’s Heart, it had been Tor’s tradition to post the prologue of the upcoming WOT book online as a free preview. “Snow,” by contrast, was the first of the WOT Prologues to be sold as an e-book instead. Which, naturally, completely outraged the fanbase. And I was initially going to be derisive about that, but some poking around in Ancient Internet History brought me the surprising information (even though I obviously must have known it at the time) that upon initial release, “Snow” was being sold for $5.00 a pop.Whoa.Not to put too fine a point on it, that’s bonkers. Even for a monster of a prologue like this one, the sheer length of which (amounting to 10% of the entire novel, if I’m not mistaken) leads me to suspect was part of the reasoning behind the decision to start charging for the prologues rather than releasing them for free in the first place. It’s even wackier when you consider that full-length novel ebooks are being sold nowadays for an average of about seven to nine dollars, give or take. So, perhaps the outrage was not all that misplaced, at that.But in defense of… whoever made this decision (and it was probably not Tor, as the rights had been sold to Simon & Schuster), the commercial ebook Thing was a brand spanking new concept back in 2000, and like any emerging market there was initially an enormous amount of debate/controversy/bitchslap fights over how much it should cost the consumer.
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