Welcome to The Over/Under of 2012

Over Under 2012 FINAL crop

What is the Over/Under of 2012, you ask? Why it’s a new annual series where we at The Yurt ask some of our favorite book peeps to espouse their 2012 picks for – well, anything, really, be it criminally underrated reads, overcooked tropes, overlooked gems, or what have you (and a HUGE thank you to everyone who responded to our spectacularly last-minute call to blogging-arms this year!)

And so, given that it is New Year’s Eve, we Yurtites decided to kick off the Over/Under by getting a few things off our chest before we ring in the New Year – to clean out of the cobwebs of our brains, if you will – and so we give you our Over/Under of 2012:

The Underwhelming

McKayla is not impressed

And I’m afraid we have to start off with the rather endemic nature of Publisher Website Fail (AKA why it’s been so easy for Amazon.com to kick the big six/five/four’s collective derriere online).

Big Publishers, I hate to break it to you – and I mean this in a loving way – but your websites are pretty…terrible. As in, well, there’s good reason we all browse on Goodreads and tend to buy at Amazon and B&N.com.

Let me illustrate the nature of the problem: so in the spirit of holiday shopping (and admittedly lured by a coupon), I headed over to the Penguin website to buy my sister some books for x-mas. And so merrily I typed the name of the author I was looking for into the search box, like so:

Penguin Search CLEAN

And surprisingly, I got this:

Penguin Fail CLEAN

Which left me rather flabbergasted, seeing as I knew for a fact that Nancy Springer was indeed a Penguin author. And so I persevered, digging through page upon page of alphabetized names under the “Authors” tab, to at last arrive at:

Penguin Fail 2 CLEAN

In the tone of Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid: Pathetic.

Really, guys – and I mean all of you Big Ps – you could probably make a fair dent in the Amazon.com evil empire just by making your websites searchable, and easy to navigate – and you know, it’d be great if you could link all your disparate websites to your main site, for easy cross-navigation (I’m looking at you, Epic Reads, etc). And guys, Facebook ain’t what it used to be – you prob should put some marketing eggs in other baskets, ’cause those gazillion Facebook pages you like to put up are easy to miss.

And P.S., Tor.com you know I love you, but wouldn’t it behoove you to add links to where people could go to actually BUY the books written by all those authors you’re doing such a lovely job introducing us to via short fiction?

All in all, Big Ps, I guess what I’m saying is maybe y’all won’t find yourself quailing in your boots the next time Amazon.com flexes its muscles if you’ve built up a cadre of people comfortable with buying direct from your websites, eh?

And while I’m on this particular soapbox, can I just ask why on earth haven’t y’all exploited your resources better? Why not offer buyers exclusives we can only buy direct – say BUNDLES, where we pay a bit more for a hardcover with a digital download included, DVD-style, or even better, the option to custom-order whichever cover we so desire for a book, be it the newest or the oldest? I seriously can think of at least five books off the top of my head that I would buy again in a heartbeat if I could buy them with their classic covers.

So in the end, I guess I’m just saying this – it’s a Google world out there, and you kids definitely have some catching up to do.

And now on to the next item on our Underwhelming List:

Pepe La Pew

Female protagonists who fall for/stay with the guy who treats them like shit

Much has been said on this topic already – notably by the wonderful Foz – so we’re not going to belabor the point other than to say this: Ladies, I don’t care how “drawn” you are to the lad, if he treats you like shit you need to recognize that you’re worth more, you deserve better, that nothing, no matter how “inexplicable”, is worth being abused for, on any level. I hate, hate, hate this endemic helplessness (in YA in particular), this weird victimization of romance – the “but he loves me!” defense. So let me say it again – ladies, you deserve better. Believe it.

And now we’ve come to the last and greatest point of our Underwhelmage:

Agree to Disagree CROP

The Utter Lack of Agreeing To Disagree (aka Stop Making It Personal).

Wow has there been a lot of online hate in the book dot world this year. Guys, please remember that it’s a subjective world out there – I probably love things you hate, you probably hate things I love – and we book people just need to take a deep breath, calm down, and remember to respect the fact that it’s a diverse book eco-system – and different points of view are what make reading awesome, remember?

We actually caught ourselves teetering on the verge of such ridiculousness just recently – we read a review (from a book blogger we know, love, and tend to agree with probably 96% of the time) wherein said blogger utterly hated on a book we had rather loved, and it weirdly felt like a bitch slap. For a second there we felt, well, betrayed, hurt and angry, to be honest – and then we shook it off and told ourselves to get a grip, because we were being utterly ridiculous. The review wasn’t about invalidating us, or insulting us, or about us at all – it was just an honest option. And hello, it’s GOOD/HELPFUL/SMART to listen to the POV of someone who DISAGREES with you! (Smacks back of own head.)

So I guess what I’m saying is, hey, we all invest in the things we love, but can we please save all that ideological purity crap (the only people worth listening to are the people who 100% agree with me! And if you disagree with me I HATE you!) for the political realm? I guess I like to believe that, by and large, we book people are smarter than that.

Or in other words: Be Cool, Soda Pop.

Sooo there you have it, our Underwhelmage of 2012 – and phew, that’s a load off our minds (and might possibly be the longest post we’ve written in the history of Bookyurt), but now we’re ready for 2013! Bring on the bubbly and books!

So have a very Happy New Year – and please let us know what you found Underwhelming in 2012!