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Jason commented on our Book Collecting 101: Remainder Marks video:

Publishers don't want hardcover and softcover competing? This is why it's hard to get new hardcover editions of books I love. such an antiquated way of doing business... If I buy a physical book, I want it to be a beautiful object for my bookshelf. If I want cheap reading, I'll download an ebook. Yet when I walk into a book store I see endless rows of mass market paperbacks.

John Replies:

Hey Jason.

Thanks for the feedback. As an early collector everything got put on my shelves, but now (like you) I view my library as a place for "objets d'art." It is hard for me to give up the real estate for paperbacks. However, my attitude had to change when many of my favorite authors moved to self-publishing or other trade paperbacks. Consider for a moment: Blake Crouch, Paul Kemprecos, J.A. Konrath, Russell Blake, Lawrence Block and many others, who have titles only available in paper. I now slip those books into comic book bags and display them proudly on my shelves right next to their hardcover companions. It's not ideal, but it sure beats not having them.

The New York publishing houses care little (or not at all) for the desires of the collector. They are about profits - cut and dried. Decisions made concerning formats are strictly financial - what and how to maximize return on a particular title. Once they had run a title through the grinder, first hardcover release, then a year later, paperback release, the story and for the most part the author become disposable. Remaining books are remainder marked and dumped for pennies on the dollars to wholesalers who re-market them as "bargain books."

Things are a little different in the UK where first release fiction usually comes out as a trade paperback, with most hardcovers intended for libraries and other multi-use locations. This made finding UK hardcovers of some titles a bit of a problem. Recently UK publishers have increased the number of hardcovers produced and release them at the same time as the trade paper. Mass markets follow about a year later, similar to US titles.

Hope this help shed a little more light on the subject. My advice, "make room for trade paperbacks." They are here for keeps.

Thanks again.


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