The Hunger Games has by now become a pop culture phenomenon the likes of which we have not seen since the days of Harry Potter, and it is already far easier to get your hands on the Kindle Editions. I’m forgetting the Twilight series on purpose here, mostly because I wish I could. Anyway, as with any such popular series, the fans are interested in taking things at their own pace. When those fans primarily interested in the movie versions of the young adult series (or just those who are behind on/late with their reading) are exposed to major plot details relevant to the as-yet unreleased second movie, it is understandably upsetting.
Amazon dropped the ball slightly on this one and ran an ad in the Washington D.C. metro that throws these details up on a billboard for all to see. Meant to highlight the availability of the series on the Kindle and play to up the association with the anticipated second film, the billboard shows off the first page of Mockingjay (Hunger Games Book 3) in plain, easily read text displayed on the screen of a Kindle. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but Collins opens that book with some fairly key points about the plot that amount to major spoilers for the second book, Catching Fire.
The ad has received huge amounts of attention through Twitter and Facebook, with many expressing disappointment or outrage over Amazon’s carelessness. While understandable, it is hard to get too upset. Many fans might only have recently become familiar with the series thanks to the movies, and might even be exclusively interested in the movie adaptations, but Mockingjay was released in 2010. To expect ongoing self-censorship on a huge scale for years at a time is a great way to be disappointed.
It is unlikely that Harry Potter fans, to re-use the comparison, were able to wait the four years between book release and movie opening before learning about the way Snape and Dumbledore interact in the sixth book of Rowling’s series. If you want to be safe from this kind of exposure, I wish you the best of luck despite the difficulties. The Kindle advertisement in question can be found on the Blue Line of the DC Metro.
Amazon has not responded to any of the inquiries about the unwelcome revelation so far, but the fact that it caught sufficient attention to make people think of the Kindle and The Hunger Games in the same context probably makes this a win for the marketing team. While it would be incredibly bad for the image of the Kindle line in general if this sort of plot spoiler was used as a regular advertising gimmick, one instance is unlikely to be enough for public apologies and the tearing down of a billboard.