What do you think? Should Jill be updated?

I posted news of Jill's republication on the Saddle-up boards, and some people there thought that the prices in the Jill books should be updated, so I wondered what readers of this blog thought. (At first I thought they meant the original cover prices should be kept too, which strikes me as an admirable idea: after all, the initial Armada paperbacks were 2/6 (12.5 p to those of you born post-decimal) and that seems a darn fine price to me, though I can see that Vanessa at Fidra might not think so....)

But anyway. From one point of view, I can see what they mean. When I read a book in which the pony is bought for £15, it obviously reads oddly, particularly if that's the only mention of price in the book. On the other hand, if the characters have been talking about buying sweets for 2d that puts it in context - the more the prices are put in, to me the more normal it seems.

And the major problem about updating prices is of course that they will very soon be out of date - whether the price of horses crashes and you can get a cracker for £100, or whether it disappears into the stratosphere. I wonder if there's any case for removing pricing altogether? Though it's difficult to see how this can work in Jill's Gymkhana, with the Bring and Buy Sale.


Unknown said…
The rest of the book isn't contemporary, so having modern prices stuck in always looks odd. And as you point out, values that a current now will be wrong in ten years' time.

Why have modern prices if Jill's mother is using a typewriter instead of a computer ?

People, including children, who read period books, know they are reading period books, and aren't going to get too upset about shilings and pence. They might even learn something.
callmemadam said…
What price (ha ha) The £1,000 Pony by Veronica Westlake?
haffyfan said…
I can't believe people would want them updating......they are classics....I suggest they are politely (or not!) told to stick to Heartland, Throughbred or whatever modern 'rubbish' they currently read.
Vanessa said…
We're not updating prices. Or anything else for that matter. So there.

I haven't see the discussion - maybe I should subscribe to Saddle Up..?
Some editions of the Jill books published in the 1990s did actually update the prices of the ponies, but some did not.

The first 2 books of the Jill series in my collection are a combined volume (published by WHSmith) and at the end of the second book, Jill's mother tells her about a pony she knows for sale, for £30 (through various methods Jill got the £30). However my copy of the 3rd book, published by Knight, changed the £30 to a more realistic price of £1000. All my Jill books are childhood, bought around 1992/3.

To me, as a kid, it didnt matter if Rapide's price was £30 or £1000, there are other factors in the book which make it an brilliant book (and a fine series). Minor things like the 11+ exam, and the fact that 11 year olds didnt have to wear a hat on the roads didnt bother me at all.

I was reading a foreword to a book which contained 3 pony stories chosen by some author (none of them Jill books) and it said that there was a case for updating some sectors of the original books. One of these stories was KM Peyton's Fly By Night, which of course, mentions £15. The person who chose these books mentioned that you cannot no longer buy a pony for £15 any more, but she left it intact as it would spoil the essence of the story.

I think that the Jill books should be left intact. If 11 year old can delve into the world of witchcraft and magic like Harry Potter, what is to say that they cannot delve into the 50s (or whenever the book was set)? Besides, if we tried to update every single pony book that was reprinted, it could spoil the story and a dangerous presidence (sp?) could be set. If Black Beauty was updated for example, then not much of the original charm of the book would be left.
Jackie said…
I loathe when prices etc are updated, it always sticks out like a sore thumb - as a previous commenter has said, children are not stupid!
Jane Badger said…
I do still think 12.5p as a sale price for the books would do more than anything to make people read them.....

But I agree with everyone on the pricing issue. I remember when I was quite small being shown a farthing and being told that when its elderly owners were little, that farthing would buy sweets, which made complete sense to me. The thing that puzzled me more was that it was such a lovely coin (had a wren on it, I think) it seemed odd to me it hadn't been re-badged, as it were, with a higher price.

And as Gillian said, there's an awful lot more that would have to be updated than just prices. I think the era in which books are written is part of them: you can't rip that away without destroying something of the world the author has created.

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