Adverse Book Sizes

I’ve got a little bone of contention to pick with book marketers. You see, my wife gave me a gift card for Barnes & Noble for Christmas. Perfect opportunity to knock some of those titles off my “Must Buy” list, right? Well, it’s a nice theory.

One set of books I’m interested in is Nick Sagan’s _Edenborn/Idlewild/Everfree_ trilogy. The first two, at least, are in paperback now; I’d seen them on shelves not too long ago, and I found them again today. Standard price for paperback novels is between $6.99 and $7.99, right? Not so. Apparently, it’s a popular idea nowadays to take a novel from a $25 hardcover and then dress it up in a $15 paperback that is taller than your standard 7-inch paperback. Both the price tag and the size are awkward. Obviously, some genius thought this would be a great way to milk consumers for a few extra bucks, and it must work, since they keep using it. It’s just my ill fortune to be interested in some books that are still new enough to only have a couple of editions printed, none of which are cheap enough for me to maximize my financial resources. Unfortunately, I bypassed Nick’s books this time around, choosing instead to wait until the next – and smaller, cheaper – edition is printed. I also passed up Orson Scott Card’s _Magic Street_ for the same reason – the smaller $7 version wasn’t available yet.

If this is a marketing technique that works, it works on someone else. _This_ consumer refused to pay $15 for a paperwork that he’ll be able to get later for $8 cheaper – and he’s patient enough to wait for it. I’m disappointed, of course, but $20 will only go so far. I’d rather get _three_ new books, rather than settling for just one or two.

Update: Turns out, those larger versions are called Trade Paperback Editions, and they follow immediately after Hardcover Editions. The types of paperbacks I apparently prefer are called Mass Market Paperbacks. You learn something new everyday.

5 thoughts on “Adverse Book Sizes”

  1. I also hate the Tradeback edition.

    My pet peeve is the cover design change. I have bought the first book of an author with one cover design. Then the publishing house changes the design of the cover when the author comes out with more books in the series.

    If I want my books to match I have to rebuy what I have already obtained. As a result my bookshelf have a very patchwork ook to them because I refuse to do it.

  2. I completely agree, Dave. I like all my books to look roughly the same, so if I’m going to go paperback, I actually prefer the mass market version. I’ve actually held off buying a series until all three in said series hit mass market just so I’d have a matching set.

  3. When I managed a bookstore, I spent a lot of time looking at these books. There is a big difference between hardback and paper– the cover, duh. The cover acts as a protection for the book. There is also a big difference between trade and mass market– the paper quality. The trade publication uses a better quality paper like the hardback. The mass market uses a paper closer to news print. The paper turns yellow (and eventually to dust) much faster than the trade and hardback quality papers. The mass market papers also tend to absorb the oils from your fingers. If it’s a book I want to keep around for a while, I typically go with the trade.

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