You are here: Home > Resources > Ask John! > Book Features > I can only find paperback editions of a book I'd like to add to my collection. Why aren't hardcovers available?
Dear John:

Thanks for the opportunity to ask about something that's really got me in a spin. In 2006 I purchased a book titled "The Righteous Men" by Sam Bourne (pseudonym for Jonathan Freedland). I enjoyed the book very much and was thrilled to learn he had a new book out titled "The Last Testament" (also referred to as "The Jerusalem Secret" - who knows why). However, I've only been able to locate the new book in a paperback -- and I've been looking for months. I don't want a paperback. I want a hardcover first edition, preferably signed.Was a hardcover edition not released for "The Last Testament"? I believe "The Righteous Men" did reasonably well financially. His new book should also. Why on earth would Mr. Freedland's publisher walk away from a proven money maker? After all he's certainly a known commodity.Your insight into this situation would be greatly appreciated. (Judy, Texas)

John responds:

After checking with the HarperCollins publisher, neither Bourne title is or will be available in hardcover edition (The Last Testament is slated to be available in April of 2009). The editorial review boards of all major publishers determine the format under which a particular book is to be released. Their process focuses only on profitability. They cater to their stockholder, not the book collector community. As such, many stories are never published while others are only available in mass market paperback.

It is frustrating to the collector and to collector based booksellers like VJBooks when this occurs. Many of my favorite authors had long paperback runs before making it to hardcover, while others have had their books demoted from hardcover to paperback format. Noteworthy are several of Jack DuBrul's middle titles. His first two were in hardcover, followed by several (Phil Mercer) in paperback, finally returning to hardcover with the release of HAVOC. Earl Emerson first three books were issued only in paperback.

The Monkey's Raincoat, Robert Crais' first book, was released in paperback and later reprinted in hardcover once he had reached bestseller status. For years collectors had questioned us about a hardcover of Clive Cussler's Pacific Vortex. It was not available until we took the initiative to have it published. Our imprint Norwood Press is working towards having many such paperback originals reproduced into hardcover collector editions in a series we have nick-named "First and Noteworthy."

Ask John at: [email protected]

Read articles about book collecting
Read John's answers to book collecting questions
Receive our Book Collecting PDFs and newsletters

Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Watch our Videos