Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Trade Paperback 'Curse'

Literary Management Dystel & Goderich had a blog post the other day about the 'curse' of trade paperbacks which seemed like a reasonable topic to me. Yet what surprised me about the article was the fact that it talked about trade paperpacks as viable alternatives to hardcover - an alternative that wasn't being taken seriously by a lot of people in the publishing industry, especially for new authors.

Not where I thought this was gonna go, let me tell you.

Whenever I think about trade paperback my mind goes 'oh no'. I hate having to purchase something in that funky size for that price. I mean - I know you're going to sell it to me as a mass market eventually. Why are you messing with me and trying to get me to buy if for $15? Most of the time I'm really only interested in one story and it pisses me off that you're taking even MORE money from me for that one story.

If I end up buying that trade paper at all - which is really what happens in that situation. If I only have the option of buying something in trade paperback there's a lot of back and forth in my mind about just getting it from the library because I feel cheated whenever I contemplate the book itself. My favorite author only has a story about 20-30 pages long and you're charging me twice the price of a full length mass market. Why does anyone think this is a good deal? Especially when you're doing 1 big name with 2-3 smaller/new names with them. Why don't you give those other authors a chance in hell of being successful on their own and publish the titles as mass markets? I think as a whole, especially in this economy, publishers have a much better chance to grab the reader if they stick with a wholeheartedly embraced form like the mass market. Because let me tell you if I from the beginning have only one author I love and don't even recognize the rest? It's that much less likely that I'll buy it.

Additionally, on a more personal note, trade paperbacks mess with my bookshelf aesthetic. It's an awkward size and it makes keeping a series consistent much more difficult. I know that sounds ridiculous but it makes a difference to me! 

So the point is I don't disagree that there's a curse on trade paperbacks. I just think the curse is for different reasons entirely.