Define “Now”

To the folks at EOS Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers:

How do you define the word “Now”? Let me use it in context for you: “Now Available.”

Over the last few years, I have made it a personal policy not to read books in an unfinished series. Thanks to authors such as Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind, I despair of growing interested in a series of books, only to learn that the series will not be complete until long after I am in the grave. In fact, I am beginning to actively seek out books published as stand-alone volumes or trilogies, to avoid being tied up in never-ending series.

Recently, I purchased The Magicians’ Guild at a mall-based bookseller. Not having the convenience of Internet research, I checked the inside-front-cover, and learned that this is book 1 of The Black Magician Trilogy. I made my decision to buy this book based on the words “Now Available” printed directly above pictures of the covers of volumes 2 and 3 in this trilogy.

Imagine my shock and dismay upon searching for these books on Amazon.com. It appears that Volume 2, The Novice, will not be published until April 27, 2004. It also appears that Volume 3, The High Lord, will not be published until September 1, 2004. Willing to give the benefit of the doubt, I have consulted my calendar. As today is April 15, 2004, it would appear that neither of these books are “Now Available”, unless you define “now” to mean “sometime in the future”. How would you define “Truth in advertising?”

When I purchase books in the future, I will be very careful to read not the inside front cover, but instead the back of the title page. To avoid any further deceptive marketing, I will be checking to confirm that the name HarperCollins is nowhere to be found.

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