Hard Times Send Books Straight to Paperback

Cheaper books lose 'second-best' reputation

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 21, 2009 10:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – With customers watching their wallets, publishers are pinning their hopes this year on trade paperback books—not super-cheap mass-market paperbacks, but not hardcovers either, USA Today reports. And critics and authors who once disdained the format are warming to it. “I realized that I really want as many people to read the book as possible,” said one first-time novelist.

While hardcovers usually sell for about $25, trade paperbacks go for about $14. For readers who aren’t committed to an author yet, they make a great low-risk introduction, says a bookseller. Plus, “if we want to appeal to a twentysomething audience, we have to do it at an affordable price,” says a rep for HarperPerennial, which is publishing 100 paperbacks this year, a new record.

Richard Russo's first book was published in trade paperback, USA Today reports.
Richard Russo's first book was published in trade paperback, USA Today reports.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.   (Shutterstock)
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.   (Shutterstock)
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