Sunday, 7 July 2013

Freak out Fangirl Feature #3: Rip-offs

So I haven't done one of these in a while, but I've been noticing that most of my reviews are starting to take a pattern. While I'm not discussing rip-offs exactly, I'll touch on how it affects the way I read and view books.

(seriously I'm like a pround mama with these thingies)

So I've been reading a lot more books since I started this blog, and after a while, I think I need to set some things straight when it comes to authors drawing ideas (copying off in some cases) from other, more successful authors. This is also sort of an explanation of why my review grades are going down. I'm working on it, I promise.

Basically it's been a thing since, well, people started writing, that when one super cool, original book becomes a massive hit, it is ensured that there will be a ton of books similar to that that will start being published. Like a fad. Actually I could rewrite that.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the success of a single book must be followed by a wave of similar books."

But eventually many "similar" books turn out to be rip-offs.

Definition of Rip-off:

rip-off (rpôf, -f)n. Slang 

Something, such as a film or story, that is clearly imitative of or based on something else.


The key word is clearly. In a lot of cases, some books lend a lot of inspiration from other books, but manage to divert the attention from the fact so that it's successfully pulled off. And for those people who do that, I applaud you. Really. Do you hear the applause? Beautiful.

In my point of view, there are a few levels of said "rip-offs"

The first level is the book that is in the same genre and utilizes certain elements of a popular book, but otherwise is pretty unique and has it's own story and stuff. This kind of book makes me really happy. Really. Really. Happy. It's the perfect kind of book if you like a certain book and want something similar but with new material.

The next level is a bit more obvious. It definitely borrows certain elements, and it might even be obvious enough that people notice the similarities even when they're not looking. This book is still alright in my POV. It's fine. Keep going bruh. These books usually have some originality and usually a far different ending.

The last leve are that that are so obvious about it. I'm not going to use any book titles, but let's talk about book X. Book X was published a year or so after the overwhelming success of Book A. Somehow, a review from the writer of Book A, or even a review from another writer of a best-selling book, was printed on the cover. And on the back, the editor describes Book X with the exact same description used to describe Book A.

And the reader opens it, eagerly anticipating.

And the reader just. Cries. Her. Eyes. Off.

Because Book X is almost exactly the same as Book A, and the similarities and failure of the book just cause the reader pain. Well it causes me pain.

But here's the thing. If the book is sold as "similar to Book B" instead of Book A, even though it is actually similar to book A, then the audience of the book, who picked up the book because it was "similar to Book B", may not have read Book A, so fewer of them would notice the obvious rip-off qualities of Book X. I admire writers/editors/publishers/idk whatever who do that. Very smart.

Then there are books who are ripped-off. Basically in the previous scenarios, Book A. Book A eventually loses its status as a wonderful original book, because everyone is sick of the rip-offs, and eventually people just get sick of the book itself. And I hate when that happens to a book.

I have no idea where I'm going with this. I guess this is a sort of note to writers out there. If you want to sell a book, be smart about the advertising and promotion of the book. Don't devalue the original book. I'm not discouraging, mostly, because I love some books that seem rip-off-y. But I guess to each his own.

Notice that I didn't name any books.


So yeah.

Since I've started reviewing books, I've been exposed to many "rip-offs", mostly from levels 2 and 3. Books from level 1 I hardly ever categorize as a "rip-off" in my mental list, but I might take note of the similarities. But reading so many books has made me a bit oversensitive and I tend to overreact, especially to books in Level 2. So I've taken a bit of a break from reading, in order to read some fanfics and reset my first judgements.

I really shouldn't be typing this in the middle of the night without my glasses.

What do you think about books that copy each other or something? Let me know in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree Jeanne!
    It's okay if certain book borrows elements from another, but it's NOT okay when it becomes so obvious that you want to facedesk all the time.
    In reality, there are so many authors copying the concept of each others' novels, that it's really hard to find something that will stand out from the crowd, and it gets frustrating.
    Great post Jeanne! :)


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