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Palmfrond
12-03-2008, 11:06 PM
Just got a call from my agent. After I have ecstatically told everyone I know that my novel will be coming out in hardback, all my friends have pre-ordered it on Amazon, and the galleys are done, the publisher has decided it will be printed only in paperback. The contract specifies royalties etc for both hardback and paperback, but doesn't require them to produce a hardback version.

Although I began with extremely meager expectations, after meeting with their publicists and hearing very positive things about how many of their marketing staff had read it and were excited, I had begun to fantasize about reviews in newspapers and radio interview shows and stuff like that. Is there any chance that the publisher (one of the big ones) will push a paperback, or have I been thrown under the train?

JennaGlatzer
12-03-2008, 11:13 PM
I don't know anything about the marketing of novels, so I'll just offer hugs and say I'm sorry for your disappointment. But I think there are plenty of novels that come out exclusively in paperback that do very well (and get plenty of reviews).

dclary
12-03-2008, 11:21 PM
At $25+ a pop I can't remember the last hardback non-textbook I've bought... ever. Well, okay, 5 books for $1 from the Sci-Fi Book club. But other than that?

I can't imagine, in today's digital and space-saving world, how hardbacks will ever survive.

Palmfrond
12-03-2008, 11:38 PM
Thanks, Jenna, for your sympathy. The publisher's publicist still seems jazzed, so maybe all is not lost.

Red-Green
12-03-2008, 11:47 PM
I'm with dclary. I don't like hardbacks and have been known to wait for a book to come out in paperback before I buy it.

Irysangel
12-03-2008, 11:58 PM
What's your genre? Genre makes all the difference, I think.

BarbaraKE
12-03-2008, 11:58 PM
When you say 'paperback', do you mean 'trade' or 'mass-market'?

dclary
12-03-2008, 11:58 PM
Even worse for authors who write series....

I'm tired of waiting years for a boxed set of your books, only to find that the cover version, or style has changed from book one to book three.

Plus, if I LIKE the book, I don't want to wait a year to find out what comes next.

thus, my favorite living fantasy author, stephen donaldson, is going to have to wait before i buy any of the third chronicles of thomas covenant. Becuase once I start that ride, I want to make sure all the track's already been laid to see me through to the end.

Palmfrond
12-04-2008, 12:08 AM
I think that they are switching to trade paperback, not mass market.

It's a literary novel - a coming-of-age story set in prehistoric Africa (the main characters are homo erectus, not homo sapiens like us). One of the themes is the first development of ideas of the supernatural (religion).

dclary
12-04-2008, 12:09 AM
When you say 'paperback', do you mean 'trade' or 'mass-market'?
I have no idea. I don't speak publishingese. Maybe?

illiterwrite
12-04-2008, 12:22 AM
I had a slightly depressing talk with my agent yesterday about the state of publishing. Be thankful you sold your book a year or so ago and not now. Publishers everywhere are apparently very, very cautious about what they're buying these days, especially in literary fiction. And we weren't even talking about the book of mine she's trying to sell right now in the US (which is literary) but about an idea I'd had for a future book. Things aren't looking good at the moment.

That said, I only buy trade paperback, because it's more portable (and easier to read in the bathtub). :)

Claudia Gray
12-04-2008, 12:53 AM
Genre matters a lot, as BarbaraKE said. I write YA, where a hardcover release is far more likely; in other genres, hardcovers are the exception rather than the rule. If your publisher is still giving you other types of support, then you haven't been thrown under the train; chances are they are responding to the weird market conditions rather than to your book specifically.

Irysangel
12-04-2008, 01:28 AM
I've also heard that TPB doesn't have the same kneejerk returns policy that Hardcover/MMPB do. Also, the margin of profit is much better on TPB. So basically, they're trying to ensure your success, rather than your failure. It's most likely a good thing. :)

Tepelus
12-04-2008, 03:05 AM
If I have the choice of hardcover vs paperback on a book, I almost always choose the hardcover over the paperback. The covers don't tear and crease like the paperbacks do, and I just like the look better.

donroc
12-04-2008, 03:22 AM
Just got a call from my agent. After I have ecstatically told everyone I know that my novel will be coming out in hardback, all my friends have pre-ordered it on Amazon, and the galleys are done, the publisher has decided it will be printed only in paperback. The contract specifies royalties etc for both hardback and paperback, but doesn't require them to produce a hardback version.

Although I began with extremely meager expectations, after meeting with their publicists and hearing very positive things about how many of their marketing staff had read it and were excited, I had begun to fantasize about reviews in newspapers and radio interview shows and stuff like that. Is there any chance that the publisher (one of the big ones) will push a paperback, or have I been thrown under the train?

Pamfrond, that is disappointing. I worried about the same thing as I have the same phrasing in my contract with a new small independent publisher.

She is keeping her handshake promise to do my HF, Rocamora, in hard cover first even though it will be expensive to do and will retail for 31.95.

We cut some costs by continuing the chapters rather than beginning a new page with each, which cut the book from about 500 to 400 pages.

I like to think hard cover books are worth giving up a latte or two.

Wishing you best success with the marketing for yours.

Susan Breen
12-04-2008, 04:04 AM
My book came out in trade paperback and I think that's been a great thing. I worried that libraries wouldn't pick it up, but they have. I worried I wouldn't get reviewed, but I did. It makes the book much more accessible to book clubs and for a debut author, sales are very very important. So I'd view it as a good thing. Really.

KTC
12-04-2008, 04:39 AM
I think that they are switching to trade paperback, not mass market.

It's a literary novel - a coming-of-age story set in prehistoric Africa (the main characters are homo erectus, not homo sapiens like us). One of the themes is the first development of ideas of the supernatural (religion).

It sounds fascinating. Let us know when it is released.


PS...I LOVE trade paperbacks. I always have. I consider it my favourite option in the bookstore. There are people who can't stay away from them...trust me. I buy a hard cover if it's a favourite author and I can't wait to read it. Otherwise, I hope and pray it's in trade paperback.

All the best of luck to you.

BarbaraKE
12-04-2008, 05:50 AM
Overall, I think this might be a good thing. I personally think hardback books are much too expensive - I almost never buy them. So I think it coming out in paperback will contribute to better sales.

CheshireCat
12-04-2008, 06:27 AM
I think that they are switching to trade paperback, not mass market.

It's a literary novel - a coming-of-age story set in prehistoric Africa (the main characters are homo erectus, not homo sapiens like us). One of the themes is the first development of ideas of the supernatural (religion).


Literary novels do very well in trade paperback and, yes, publishers most certainly do get behind them. Your print run will likely be higher, you have a better shot at making one or more of the bestseller lists (making it in hardcover is much more difficult), your royalties will be nearly as good per copy -- and with people tightening their belts and pinching pennies, readers are more likely to try a new author in paperback than in hardcover.

Not really a downside in today's market.

Soccer Mom
12-04-2008, 06:31 AM
Add me to the list of folks who rarely buy hardbacks. Why buy hardback when I can buy multiple paperbacks for the same amount? I love trade paperbacks. :)

Palmfrond
12-04-2008, 06:44 AM
Thanks to everybody who has reassured me that switching to a trade paperback is actually a good thing! I feel much better about the change.

MissLadyRae
12-04-2008, 09:03 AM
I've heard a lot of readers complain when their fave authors go to hardcover so yepper it seems much better for books to be released in paperback nowadays. I only buy hardcover for certain books myself especially when they're released in omnibus editions, if it's a series. Saves cash to get em all at once. :)

But for standalones, I loves the trade paperbacks and it seems to be popular with a lot of readers.

Congrats on your upcoming release Palmfrond!

Darzian
12-04-2008, 09:12 AM
I almost never buy hardbacks. I only buy them if I really really really want the book right now and the publisher had only released the hardback. The last one I bought is Harry Potter 7.

And considering the economic problems, people may be more inclined to buy paperbacks.

eyeblink
12-04-2008, 10:15 AM
I don't tend to buy hardback either - only if I have book tokens to spend, or if it's discounted so much that it's paperback price anyway. I do like them, but I don't have an unlimited budget to say the least, and they're heavier and bulkier to take to work and back.

tehuti88
12-04-2008, 07:17 PM
I buy hardcover only if it's the only thing available and I fear the store I'm buying it at won't pick it up in paperback. Otherwise, I prefer paperback. It's cheaper and easier to handle, and I don't feel quite as bad if it gets somewhat battered. (With hardcovers, I just feel I have to be more careful because they look so nice. Weird, I know.)

Haven't even bought the last Harry Potter book yet because for some reason they don't have it out in paperback, which confuses me.

I find trade paperbacks to be especially interesting if only because of their unusual size. Something about them seems very artsy. They stand out.

Dave.C.Robinson
12-04-2008, 07:34 PM
As I get older, I like trades better. They're cheaper than hardcovers and easier to read than mass market.

James81
12-04-2008, 08:20 PM
< is part of the crew who will wait for a paperback to come out before he buys it.

Unless it's a book that I have been waiting for for so long and am antsy about it.

DeeCaudill
12-04-2008, 09:46 PM
I wouldn't worry much about libraries passing up on a book because of a lack of hard cover binding. There are jobbers out there who can take paperbacks and re-case them in hard-cover bindings for libraries. We often use them at our library on academic press titles where the cloth binding is $50+ more than the paperback.

A lot of the hard-covers being sold these days are perfect bindings anyway, so they're not much different from a paperback in terms of long-term durability.

James81
12-04-2008, 10:13 PM
I wouldn't worry much about libraries passing up on a book because of a lack of hard cover binding. There are jobbers out there who can take paperbacks and re-case them in hard-cover bindings for libraries. We often use them at our library on academic press titles where the cloth binding is $50+ more than the paperback.

A lot of the hard-covers being sold these days are perfect bindings anyway, so they're not much different from a paperback in terms of long-term durability.

As an author, I would think you wouldn't want libraries to have your books anyway. That's a lot of free reading (aka loss of sales for YOU the author).

willietheshakes
12-04-2008, 10:28 PM
As an author, I would think you wouldn't want libraries to have your books anyway. That's a lot of free reading (aka loss of sales for YOU the author).

Well, there are a number of factors here.
First off, library sales are a HUGE factor in the sales of a book, period.
Plus, every person who reads and likes your book from a library contributes to the word of mouth on it, the importance of which can't be understated.
Plus plus, some countries have public lending payments which actually issue "royalties" (for lack of a better term) to writers based on their presence in the library system.

scope
12-05-2008, 01:02 AM
I'm strictly a hardcover reader. Actually, I dislike reading paperbacks and could count on one hand the number of times I have bought one.

Atlantis
12-05-2008, 01:30 AM
At $25+ a pop I can't remember the last hardback non-textbook I've bought... ever. Well, okay, 5 books for $1 from the Sci-Fi Book club. But other than that?

I can't imagine, in today's digital and space-saving world, how hardbacks will ever survive.

Hardbacks cost $55 in Australia. I almost never buy them directly from the shops unless I have a discount coupon or I really, really, want it. Most of the times I get my hardbacks second-hand from Amazon.com.