Stories, 2.0 versions. On the revamping and re-issuing books

Short stories, who doesn’t love them. In anthologies and stand-alones. Don’t you just love it when the short stories get expanded on at a later date by the author? I do for one.

Now imagine: what if an author took a published story and then revised the story completely. Changed scenes and parts of the plot, but essentially it’s still the same story. Then published it again. Would you still buy the book? 

That’s what today’s discussion is about. Stories that get completely revised and revamped after the reversion of rights. Stories 2.0. 

keep-calm-and-start-the-discussion

I could make a long post about the reversion of rights and re-issuing, but no one will be wanting that. Let’s look at the short and sweet version. When an author publishes a book with an e-publisher there is a clause in the contract about the reversion of rights and if the author was smart he/she negotiated on that to make it as clear and detailed as possibly. 

It’s what happens after the author gets the rights back that is the real topic here. In the last year or so I have noticed a trend that when authors get the rights back to their story, they completely revise it. Make a 2.0 version of the story so to speak. Then self-publish it or publish it with a different publisher. 

Note that I’m not talking about those stories that get tweaking for spelling/grammar mistakes and then self-published by authors!

It makes for an iffy discussion, because I know many an artist that is never finished with his/her work and the same goes for authors. It could be said that an author is allowed to do whatever they want with their story to make it the best it can be. If a reader doesn’t agree with it, then don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that and as a rule I very rarely buy revamped second editions of e-books, but that is just me. 

On the other hand, and particular from the reader’s point of view, you have this story that you absolutely loved and maybe it even changed your life. Then suddenly there is a completely new version in which the story was added too immensely (can be a potentially good thing as often seen with short stories), but the plot was also drastically changed. Or the story was just transformed or with a different ending, or the characters suddenly ends up with someone else. I’ve seen the different possibilities. And no, don’t get your knickers in a twist I’m not naming titles just to point fingers. 

The question is, is that fair to the reader? Especially when, to read the new version, you have to buy the same changed book again. 

This also adds the possibility of: how many times is an author going to change the story? I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s not outside the realm of possibilities for a story to get a 3.0 version. 

Basically, I’m fence sitting. When a story is published, it’s finished to me. It’s the finished product. It’s should not get a 2.0 version where suddenly scenes are added or the ending redone. It’s a bit like fanfiction for the author to me. On the other hand I can understand not being entirely happy about a story and wanting to change it, to make it better. Authors are artists too. 

What do you think? Where do you stand on this?

2 Comments


  1. // Reply

    It’s a story by story thing for me. I certainly wouldn’t say an author should never rehaul a story, I’ve done it plenty, though it’s with stories I probably wrote before I was good enough to do what I tried (Lost Gods most notably) and I wanted to make them actually good. But I don’t think I’ve ever done something as drastic as change the love interest or the ending (unless it was Prisoner, where I added smut, which was such a minor change I don’t know that it counts).

    I do know sometimes publishers make authors do/not do things, and once the contract is signed and those unpleasant demands come after, some authors have their hands tied. So I can appreciate them making heavy changes when they finally get their story back.

    Also if I have changed a story heavily, I’ve told readers that if they bought the old version and want the new, I’m happy to give it to them (Dance with the Devil I’ve given to several people). I change stuff where I really feel I let myself down, or I though the book had problematic elements I didn’t see the first time around.

    Mostly, though, these days I prefer to leave stuff alone and move on to new stuff.

    Moving to stuff not mine, there was one story I love to death when I bought it at the first publisher. When it came out again at a different publisher, I liked the book and author enough to buy it again even though nothing had changed. Then that second publisher split off their LGBT stuff and the book was released again… this time with an added epilogue, and that kind of annoyed me, and much as I love the book and would kill to read the epilogue, it felt kind of like a shitty thing to do.

    So TL;DR, it varies by book/author. Mostly I don’t mind, stories aren’t set in stone in my head. I can always read the old version if I don’t like the new. But sometimes it does get irritating, so I never fault a reader who turns and nopes the hell away :3


  2. // Reply

    I do not read them most of the time. I don’t see the point. Proper tags are a good thing though.
    Might be tempted by the Prisoner 2nd edition, my version is all fade to black 🙂

Leave a Reply