J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” — Prices Slashed

Got it! A first-edition hardback of “The Casual Vacancy,”  by J.K. Rowling, published in the U.S. and Great Britain this week. The 503-page tome comes with a cover price of $35 ($36.99 in Canada), but Walmart has it on deep discount at $24.50.

The Casual Vacancy may signal a turnaround for quality in popular fiction. Where can it go but up, after Hunger Games and “Fifty Shades of Grey?”  Talk about your lowest common denominator!

I plan to do one of my serialized book reviews for Casual Vacancy, with updates posted every few days, as I read.

To my surprise, Barnes & Nobel‘s Website offers the hardback at a lower price, $21! And Amazon undercuts B&N by 10 cents, at $20.90. But you might have to pay shipping fees in both cases.

The best deal is the eBook price, $17.99 for the Nook version, and an identical $17.99 for the Kindle eBook.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...

J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Public Domain Photo via Wikipedia)

The Oprah endorsement was, until recently, the most coveted award in American letters. Now the trend-setter for popular fiction is the Walmart endorsement. Only a select few novels find space on the shelves at Walmart. Inclusion in the collection means healthy sales for the book and celebrity status for the author. Can a movie contract be far behind?

Walmart isn’t taking much of a chance on J.K. Rowling. She’s the famous creator of the Harry Potter phenomena — a series of seven books written for children but widely enjoyed by adults. Millions and millions sold! Plus eight Harry Potter films!

The Casual Vacancy was written for an ADULT audience. The word, “adult” comes freighted with meaning. The most prominent feature of the red dust jacket, besides the author’s name and title, is a big, black X. What, exactly, does that mean? Fifty Shades of Grey may have changed expectations regarding what constitutes an “adult” book.

I’ve told you all I know about Casual Vacancy until I read it. But I expect better writing than in Hunger Games or Fifty Shades. The Hunger Games story was pretty good, but originally intended for an unsophisticated “young adult” audience. Fifty Shades was apparently written for an extremely adult audience. Somehow, I doubt that Casual Vacancy, however adult it may be, will resemble either book.

Full disclosure: I read Hunger Games all the way through, and found it mildly interesting. But I discarded Fifty Shades after a few pages. Possibly I didn’t give it a fair chance. Haven’t read the follow-on books in either trilogy, but I’d like to see Hunger Games, the movie. Movie rights to Fifty Shades were sold earlier this year.

The cover promo for J.K. Rowling’s new book offers the following summary:

“A big novel about a small  town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.”

EVERYONE’S curious about J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy.”

Can’t wait to get started on Casual Vacancy. My yellow highlighter is standing by. Sensible critics write a review after they’ve thoughtfully digested the entire book. BORING. My read-along, blog-along review is more of an adventure. Who needs a polished review with all the anticipation sanded off?

Your first installment on Casual Vacancy will be available in a day or two. Watch this space.

— John Hayden

7 thoughts on “J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” — Prices Slashed

  1. I’ve seen the JK Rowling book on sale locally, but haven’t gone near it yet. If it’s bad, then what a waste of money, if it’s good, well, why pay so much for one quick gulp. I’ll wait until I see it second hand.


  2. Agree with you entirely on the low quality of current “popular” fiction and I don’t think I’m a book snob. I just love a good story and good writing. Haven’t read “The Hunger Games” but don’t generally read YA fiction (except for the Harry Potter series). Read 50 Shades because of the conversations I kept overhearing and was so appalled by the poor writing that I nearly tossed my Kindle across the room. The story line was uninteresting to me, as well. No “adult” scenes could help that.

    I am looking forward to reading J.K. Rowling’s new book. I fervently hope that she is able to break out from the HP series, because she’s a great storyteller. I suspect her fervent fans may be less forgiving.


  3. Pingback: J.K. Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy,” Book Review, Take 1 « Work In Progress

  4. Pingback: J.K. Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy” Zooms to Top of Lists « Work In Progress

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