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Rip off new Penguin editions?
on 12 December 2013
Although it's great to see Simenon's Maigret series finally appearing again (especially in Kindle format), I can't help feeling that Penguin is ripping us off slightly here. The Maigret books are so slim in terms of page numbers that either the price for the print version could be lower, or they could release more titles at once and bundle them into more 'omnibus' style releases. £3.99 is just about okay for a Kindle version, but they could still be cheaper - and look at some of the foreign editions that are appearing and you know it can be done.
Either way, bringing out one title per month is going to be a long-haul for even the most patient Maigret fan, so Penguin should perhaps review the approach they are taking if they are serious about giving us all 75 novels. Six years and counting....
As far as the story goes, the early Maigrets always were a bit hit and miss. This one darts about all over the place and is quite ragged in terms of style, plot and narrative, but every writer has to start somewhere, and Pietr The Latvian is one of a handful of titles that Simenon rattled off for publication in 1931. Not sure what makes the new translation so "gripping" to be honest. It perhaps captures the raw nature of Simenon's early - slightly rushed - writing, but apart from that, hard to see what new insights it offers.
Padding the Kindle edition with a lengthy excerpt from the next title to be released really is taking the biscuit (and yes, Penguin repeat the trick in that one as well to beef up the content), and with no page numbering there is still clear room for improvement in how the publisher releases e-book versions of their texts.
So, good to see the books appearing, but we'll have to dig deep in our pockets to get the full set - and grow old doing it. Poor marketing, guys.