Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

When publishers attack:the paperback delay

The Amazon/Macmillan spat is about pricing and control. Macmillan's range of pricing will allow for initially high prices, like hardbacks, and later lower prices like paperbacks. Getting the ebook early is as much of a benefit as getting the nice artefact of the hardback - though maybe not as nice as getting the artefact AND getting it earlier. So far, so Amazonfail. But the two things I've noticed recently are:
1 it takes a long time for books to make it from hardback to paperback
2 more paperbacks are being reissued as trade paperbacks at twice the price

1 I waited about a year for a Sharon Shinn book to make it to paperback. I've been waiting for the fourth book of Bujold's Sharing Knife series, Horizon to get out of hardback since - well, the audiobook came out last august and I think I saw the hardback last spring. This feels like much longer than in years gone by; didn't it used to be 3 or 6 months? 
(EDIT: everyone tells me they think it's always been a year - I guess I've not noticed hardbacks as quickly because it's not felt that long to me before)

2 I've been reading books by Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri for the last year or so, picking them up in paperback as I go - but over the last couple of months, they've all been republished as trade paperbacks at $14 rather than $6.99 and $7.99. I doubt the author gets twice the royalty and the cover art is exactly the same and I'm not getting much advantage from the change - and the old paperbacks are gone so I don't get the choice. Yes, I want the publishers to make enough money to stay in business, and I desperately want authors to stay in business but this feels more like gouging.

Tags: books, business models, rant

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