I love books. I think that much is rather obvious when you read this blog. And I'm going out on a limb here, but I'd like to assume if you ARE reading this blog, you love books too! And I covet my hardbacks. All my favorite books I buy in hardback. I have all of Stephen King's books in hardback. Same with my Harry Potter's, Anne Rice, Jodi Picoult, and a few others that I plan to keep. I like the feel of them. I love the look of them. I even like the smell of them.
But I also have a bit of a money crisis at the moment. And while I do buy some books in hardback, most of the time I wait for the paperback version to be released. It's not that I like them better. Just cheaper. (Although I do prefer Trade Paperback to mass market paperbacks. Even those new bigger mass markets.)
But today, I read an article in The Guardian called "Publisher's Plan Could Spell the End of the Literary Hardback". It seems that Picador Books, an imprint of Pan MacMillan, will be launching all their new books in paperback. Some of the authors that publish with Picador are Helen Fielding, Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy.
"The decision to scrap the system of selling a hardback a year before releasing the paperback has created waves in the publishing world, and is seen by some as the beginning of the end of the format in literary fiction."
The reason? Why the all-mighty dollar, of course. It seems that unless there is a "guaranteed profitable hardback market", then all books that are launched will now be in paperback format, and Picador is estimating that at least 80% of books will be released this way.
"Hardback then paperback has been the model for 60 years," said Dan Franklin, the veteran publisher at Jonathan Cape. "I would be worried about the call to Cormac McCarthy to tell him he's going straight into mass-market paperback. I think he'd say no thanks."
I think a lot of authors would agree with that assessment. At least many veteran writers. To me, I think it's an honor to have your book published in hardback. I know a lot of authors start out with their books published in paperback. It's easier to hit the markets that way. For example, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series started out in mass market paperbacks. When they became a hit, the later books were released in hardback. And now they are going back and publishing his first books in hardback. It's a sign that he is doing well.
Like I said earlier, I have money issues. That is my reason for waiting for many books to come out in paperback. I treat myself to the occasional hardback. And I love them! In this digital world we live in, many people think books are obsolete anyway. Of course, those people aren't really book people. They just don't understand the love I have for my books. And I think that is sad. To feel the cover in your hands, and how your fingers brush over the pages as you are reading. I would never trade that for an e-reader.
What about you? Do you think this would be a good thing or a bad thing? I'm curious to find out.