Poke the Publisher: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Movies based on books are tricky to pull off. Due to the differences between the two mediums, you almost have to jettison quite a bit of material when porting a story from the written page to the silver screen, and while your film may not suffer as a result, it almost certainly will be very different from the source material by the time it's finished.

Then again, every so often you watch a movie only to check out the book afterward and realize that - at least in places - the movie was a direct word-for-word port. This is what happened when I watched "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" this weekend and then immediately snapped up and read "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Vol. 1)".

The Scott Pilgrim series is a hilarious 6-volume series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley. They deal heavily in classic video gaming and pop culture references, as seen through the eyes of us hopeless nerds born in the 1980s and who still enjoy playing classic Final Fantasy games (as well as explaining to people why the classic Final Fantasy games are obviously so much better than the modern ones). The series was spun off into both a video game and a movie, with the movie remaining remarkedly close to the source material - or at least, the Volume 1 source material; it's my understanding that the later volumes get glossed over due to time constraints and adaptation distillation.

It's also a surprisingly deep series, or at least a series with a lot of twists and turns and reinterpretations of early material later in the series. (See the extensive TV Tropes page!) Whereas the hero and heroine (Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers) seem to start off as the classic, cliched, and oh-so-tiresome Nice Guy and Manic Pixie Dream Girl, as the graphic novels progress it becomes clear that both of them are seriously selfish, flawed individuals who are (for the most part) legitimately trying to turn over a new leaf and become mature, caring people.

What's surprising to me, in all this, is that even with a relatively successful movie spin-off, the series isn't available in eBook form... sort of. From extensive web searching, it seems that it was in eBook format, and even available in iPhone/iPad/possibly-also-Android app format, but astute fans noticed that the publisher skimped a bit on scan quality and the electronic format result was quite a bit worse than the old-fashioned paper copies that everyone had at home. Apparently - and this is me speculating here - the publisher decided after a few disgruntled refunds to just scrap the whole project rather than, you know, fix the scans and make oodles of money.

I really don't understand publishers sometimes.

Based purely off of Google searches, it would seem that at this point in the eBook-adventures an annoyed and disgruntled fanbase ripped their own paper copies apart to made proper scans to then host on various download sites, but these aren't distributed with a proper license or fees that would benefit either creator or the bafflingly blase publisher. (You'd think at this point, the publisher could download one of the high-quality bootleg scans and just sell that, but no, we're apparently committed to not-making-money at this point in the process.)

Well, this is the day that we let our voices as readers be heard! I'm calling upon each and every one of my approximately 60-and-a-half subscribers to feel free to visit the Amazon and B&N listings for the Scott Pilgrim box set and click the button that reminds the publisher that pirated eBook copies earn them nothing but selling eBook copies can earn them quite a pretty penny.

The Amazon.com listing is here.


The Barnes & Noble listing is here.


Bonus points will be awarded for contacting publisher Oni Press to politely express your interest and/or for contacting author Bryan Lee O'Malley to gently point out that American money is just as sweet and lovely as Canadian money, if slightly less colorful.

Remember: Readers who post in the comments that they've poked the publisher via any or all of these links will be mentioned in a subsequent "Poke the Publisher" entry, which is at least as valuable as getting a Nobel Prize in mathematics.

Also remember: By poking the publisher, you are not indicating that YOU are waiting to buy this book in eBook format, but rather that your dear friend Ana is waiting to buy this book in eBook format to review, dissect, deconstruct, and otherwise desecrate for your reading pleasure. And buy it I shall, just as soon as it comes available in the U.S. of A. (There are U.K. sites selling the first two volumes, but they claim to be unable to sell to me due to publisher restrictions. Plus, volumes 3-6 would still be sadly missing.)

Credit for last week's poke-the-publisher must go to

18 comments:

cmerced said...

"...
both Sarah and C. have personal magnetism and dazzling beauty in excess of one Cullen Unit, which was previously believed to be a purely theoretical limit."

This is TRUTH.

Matt Smyczynski said...

[down] [down-forward] [forward] + [heavy punch] ------- PUBLISHER POKED! (via Amazon and B&N)

J.D.M. said...

This comment has absolutely nothing to do with the above post....wait...80's babies RULE! (oh, and consider the publisher poked)...now it does.

Anyhoozit, Matt Smyczynski , your last name is oodles of awesome. How do you pronounce that?

Matt Smyczynski said...

Smuh-CHIN-skee. Polish "cz" is like English "ch", and each "y" is functioning as a vowel... so there is actual logic behind the madness :)

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