I didn’t quite realize this problem was a pandemic (bigger than an epidemic; I’m doing a school project on
zombies infectious diseases). The problem is that readers decide to skip to the last page of a book before finishing the rest. If you have done that, shame on you!
Alcatraz often makes fun of such readers in his books. He even puts false last pages in his books to confuse the sneaky last pagers. Still, I naively thought, No one really does that.
I mean, I’ve been tempted to peek at the end, but that’s bordering on sacrilegious to spoil a good story that way. At the very least, it’s some form of cheating. (Yes, I’m judging you, you last pagers! Those last pager police will catch you eventually!)
Then, this month, one of my pastors asked the church congregation how many of them skipped to the last page of the book. There were probably 3 or 4 people who raised their hands. This may not seem like much until you remember that not everyone is a reader, and I expected the number to be more like 3 or 4 people in the entire CITY, not 3 or 4 in a room.
Suddenly, I’m a frantic author who checks her books’ last pages. Do they give everything away? Er, sort of. Do they entice the reader to plow through the entire book for an engaging story? Er, I’d think so. Do my last pages even make sense to someone who hasn’t read the rest of the book? Er, not really.
Am I losing 5% of potential readers because my last pages weren’t constructed with last pagers in mind? Other authors, what do you think? Have you encountered such readers, and how do you prepare for them?
Then, I decided I didn’t care. Those silly last pagers will just have to deal with vague and complicated situations at the end of my books. I didn’t write the last page for them. I wrote it for the readers who actually enjoy the first 400 pages first.
Besides, books aren’t like comic strips. There aren’t hidden punch lines at the very end of the novel. If someone told me they skip to the last page of a book, I’d imagine it’s like trying to skip to the last bite of ice cream first.It just doesn’t work.
It just doesn’t work. (I tried Tillamook ice cream for the first time this week. Mmm. I waited to eat the last bite last, too.)
Besides, what about books without pages? I’ve mostly been reading audiobooks lately, and it’s hard to skip to the last page (last minute?) of an audiobook. Last pagers must be medium-bound to print copies, which makes them sound biased, which means their form of reading must be inferior. It would also be difficult to quickly check the last page of an ebook, what with end content. Plus, Amazon offers the first 5% or so as a sample, not the last 5%!
More ice cream for the rest of us, I suppose.
(I’m fairly certain some of the reviews I’ve read are from last pagers who never finished the middle of a book. If so, shame! Also, can I have your ice cream?)