I’ve read The Eye of the World so many times now that it’s very difficult to remember what my impressions were the first time. I know where I was when I first saw it, oddly enough. I remember the bookstore, the shelf it was on, and how awesomely big it looked. I don’t remember reading it, though I remember finishing it and being blown away. I was very eager for the second book to come out.
When the second book did arrive, my bookstore got it in both a trade paperback and a smaller mass market. I could only afford the mass market, but I remember feeling a (what now seems odd to me) sense of pride in my own good taste. You see, I took the fact that it arrived in trade paperback this time (when I’d only seen mass market the first time) to be a sign that this Robert Jordan fellow was getting popular. When the third book came out in hardcover, I went all proto-fantasy-hipster and told everyone that I had picked him way back when to do well.
Little did I know that both the first and second books had indeed had hardcover print runs. While the books did explode in popularity at about that time, my indicator — the printing of the book at my little bookstore — had less to do with what the publisher was putting out, and more to do with the fact that the bookstore had decided to start carrying hardcovers. (When they hadn’t before.)
Brandon Sanderson is the author of Elantris, The Mistborn Trilogy, and, with Robert Jordan, the New York Times bestselling The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and the forthcoming A Memory of Light, the final volumes to the epic Wheel of Time.