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.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.   (Shutterstock)
Publishers are turning to trade paperbacks in tight times.   (Shutterstock)
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