Trade paperbacks

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Sep 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM9/24/98
Kevin Smith wrote:

>My question is, as readers, how many of you, who were anxiously waiting for
>> the paperback version of new books to come out, will plop down $10, $12,
>> $14, whatever bucks? Will you buy fewer books? Be more selective? Less
>> likely to try a new author? I figure, ultimately, this will mean less books
>> printed by new authors. Am I wrong?

Cristy responded
>In answer to these questions, and the others raised by his email, I
>would like to say that while I will gladly buy hardcover books that
>sound interesting to me, and I will gladly buy paperback books that
>sound interesting, I will not under any circumstances buy trade
>paperback books.

For myself, I prefer hardback books, but will buy a book in any size,
paperback or hardback, if it is by an author I enjoy, or by a new author
I want to try, or if the story looks interesting or....basically I will
always buy books. I love them.
>I hate the size. They aren't small enough to fit into
>a purse, and they don't fit my paperback bookshelves.

I quite like these new size paperbacks.

>I refuse to put
>them on the bookshelf among beautiful hardbound books.

As many walls as I can shelve, floor to ceiling, I shelve. My books are
not just all beautiful hardbacks, they are a hotch potch of all sizes,
and because I am always short of space, due to the number of books I
buy, paperbacks are often stacked flat, and more books are stacked
across the tops of the hardbacks. The walls look like an interesting
>For the above reasons, the new trend in publishing <could> make me buy
>less books.


Joanna Piercy
aka Lizzie Hayes

Doris Ann Norris

Sep 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM9/27/98
It's time for the "2,000 year-old librarian" (that's me) to put in my
2c. If you think trade paperbacks are hard to hold, you should have
tried shelving those stone tablets. Papyrus was a big step forward...but
waiting for those scribes (and in the Middle Ages--monks) to transcribe
all those books was no easy matter. Our reserve list for Beowulf was
outrageous as we had to wait a few decades to get a copy.
But in the more modern times when the price of books doubled in a very
short period, it has become harder for libraries as well as those of us
who buy books like the bookaholics we are. I still have a couple of 25c
and 35c paperbacks on my shelves. Even at a used book store, that's a
low price.
Remember the days of Doubleday's Crime Club? When the price went from
$3.95 to $4.95 for a copy, we were in shock. I remember the first time I
saw the price of a fiction hardcover hit $20.00. (It was a Michener so
we may have been paying by weight. : })
I don't mind trade paper backs although my budget prefers mass market
pbs. They do look better, read easier and last longer. To quote one of
my early heroes, Calamachus (sp), the librarian at Alexandria, "Big
books are a big nuisance." Trade paperbacks are not THAT big.
As long as it's written in some format and I like the author, I will buy
it either personally or for the library (and sometimes both).
I do hope Lev answers Margery Flax's question because the same problem
occurred to me after I read his post. I too have a trade paper of
"Let's Get Criminal" and a hardcover of "The Edith Wharton Murders."
They are now together on my hardcover shelves. (Trade papers do not fit
on the two paperback shelving units I have which were made for me by two
different brothers.) Maybe I'll have to have one of them make some more
customized shelving...except I have no room to put it unless I get rid
of my computer.
There is, however, a couch I'd like to get rid of since that would make
some more room for bookshelves...if I can get my mother to agree. : }
So authors and publishers, make the best decision on format you can and
I will buy!

Doris Ann Norris who was fascinated by all the various places for book
shelves in "One True Thing" which is a great movie. Anna Quindlen, the
author of the book (available in both mass market and trade paper!) was
on C-Span this week promoting "How Reading Changed My Life" and
mentioned reading mysteries and praised Lauri King's Mary Russell

Peter Dillon-Parkin

Oct 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/2/98

I'd just like to add a little to the discussion on trade paperbacks. It's
to do with one thing only - profit margins. I publish Crime Time ("CT is
the best crime magazine in the world--fact, fiction, controversial
opinions--it's always fun and enlightening to read. It's my favorite
magazine bar none." Ed Gorman, Mystery Scene. Ahem...) as a trade paperback
now. I published the first four books from CT Publishing as A format
(standard) paperbacks at what I thought was a good price, but found that a)
to some degree it stopped bookstores taking them due to the lower per-unit
profit and b) I got no display space.
Really (in the UK anyway) this is not about what the customers want, but
about what bookstores and publishers want. If you're a small publisher like
me you actually do better for your authors by publishing in trade and
hiking prices, because the vagarities of distribution and the lack of pull
with stores mean that you're only going to sell a few thousand anyway. But
the market has already been set by the bigger publishers, and this can be
seen in the enormous drop in the price of printing a trade paperback
compared to a few years ago.


Peter Dillon-Parkin
Crime Time

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