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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monstrumologist: a premature burial?

Poe is shocked and saddened to learn that Simon and Schuster will discontinue Rick Yancey's award-winning MONSTRUMOLOGIST series after the third title, THE ISLE OF BLOOD, comes out next month. When this Blogue chose endings for our August subject, we little thought any publisher would make our theme so sadly relevant.

The reason for the series' demise, according to the author's own reports, is that sales were disappointing.

Poe finds disappointment in another aspect of this end-times tale. The series opener, MONSTRUMOLOGIST, won a 2010 Michael L. Prinz Honor Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. The follow-up, THE CURSE OF THE WENDINGO, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Does the literary quality of the book weigh so little nowadays in the decision of whether to continue to publish the series? How many starred reviews and stickers must an author earn before the traditional press feels at least Honour-bound to publish that author's next book?

And if indeed no further paper or shelf space should be spent on this particular series, why cannot Simon and Schuster simply publish the planned fourth and fifth books electronically? Surely the series' readers will buy enough e-copies to repay the cost of editing and formatting them. Does not the Publisher feel obligated to go even to that length?

If you are a lover, or so much as an admirer, of MONSTRUMOLOGIST, Poe urges you to buy the third title, THE ISLE OF BLOOD, the moment it comes available in your preferred format.

But even if monsters are not your cup of nepenthe, Poe urges you to speak out for the value of publishing quality books for young readers. Join the Quest to Save MONSTRUMOLOGIST, organized by Stephanie Oakes on her blog.


One participant will receive a complete set of all three MONSTRUMOLOGIST books, personalized and autographed by Rick Yancey. To be eligible, you need not have read the books, but you must join the Quest before August 25.

Postscript. If Simon and Schuster fail the literary world in this instance, Poe dares to hope that Mr. Yancey will yet endeavour to complete the final books of the series, self-publishing them as ebooks. Sales numbers that disappoint a major press are almost always quite satisfying in the independent market.

Edited to add that you can find an excellent interview with Rick Yancey at


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