Tuesday, July 18, 2006
A Pleasant Surprise...
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. The other day a box of books showed up. Simple enough, I know, but the reality is that I not only wasn’t expecting this box, but when I opened it up, I wasn’t expecting this book. You see, this was a box of the trade-paperback edition of Promise of Glory, by C.X. Moreau.
Originally published in hardcover in 2000, this book was published more than two years later as a mass-market paperback. Now, nearly four years after that, and almost six full years after hardcover publication, there’s a trade-paperback.
This presents an interesting lesson in the publishing business. Publishers often struggle to know the “right” format in which to publish a book. Generally speaking, if you think a book will sell and review well, you publish in hardcover. Then you publish in paperback, to get those sales in markets that don’t generally sell hardcovers (airport bookstands, drugstores, many supermarkets, etc.). Trade-paperbacks are often saved for “literary” works or, more often, “backlist” titles.
What’s a backlist title, you ask? Well, that’s a book that publishers feel they can sell a certain number of copies every single year. It may be a cookbook, a book on parenting, or a work of literary fiction. By publishing in trade-paperback, you spend about the same money on paper, printing and binding as you do a mass-market, but you get to charge more and thus make more money. Don’t worry, the author makes more money too, since the royalty earned is based on the higher cover price.
Now, I admit that I was never notified that the publisher was issuing Promise of Glory in trade-paperback, but I’m not terribly concerned. It would have been nice to have been notified, so that I could tell the audio publisher and that publisher could have done a new push to the accounts, but the audio publishers should be reading publisher’s catalogues and have that information, I think. Meanwhile, Amazon and bn.com tend to link different editions together, so users should be able to find them all.
Meanwhile, if you pick up this book and enjoy it, I highly recommend the first book by C.X. Moreau, Distant Valor, particularly since it looks like we might be getting back into a military presence in Beirut!
Posted by Andrew Zack at 5:54 PM