Q&A with Beth Groundwater discussion

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Hardcover or Paperback?

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth | 216 comments Mod
More books are published in paperback than hardcover, and the choice is usually the publisher's, not the author's. Often this decision is an overall one for a publisher. They may only buy hardcover or trade paperback rights for all their books and leave it up to the authors (or their agents) to sell the paperback rights (along with audio, electronic, large-print, foreign, etc.) to other publisher(s). This is the case for Five Star, an imprint of Gale and my publisher. They only buy hardcover and large-print rights. So, my agent is shopping the paperback rights for my gift basket designer mystery series to other publishers now. We're not picky--we'll take either trade or mass market, anything to get the price point of a copy down. :)

When a publisher buys both hardcover and paperback rights, the choice of whether or not to bring a book out in hardcover first, then to follow that some months later with a paperback edition, is based purely on sales forecasts. Often a publisher will publish a new mystery author in paperback for his/her first few books in a series until a following is built up, then bring the fourth or fifth or whatever book in the series out in hardcover first. If that goes well, they'll continue to bring the mystery author out in both hardcover and paperback until or unless the sales numbers go down again.

Does that answer the question? I had a recent discussion about book formats with fellow Colorado Springs author Barbara Samuel (and now Barbara O'Neal). We agreed that trade paperback and electronic formats were growing in popularity faster than the hardcover and mass market paperback formats, though those two formats are probably still the most prevalent.

So group members, what format do you prefer? Do you prefer to listen to an audio book, read a book on the Kindle, crack open a hardcover or what?


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth | 1 comments I love the feel of an actual book, especially a hard cover. My budget prefers whatever is on the shelf at the library.


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenvwrites) | 4 comments I prefer softcover or paperpacks as they are light portable and easy to read in bed. I will by a jhard cover if its a first edition of something I want.


message 4: by Beth (new)

Beth | 216 comments Mod
Shel,
I'd love to see my books in e-formats, too--all of them. My agent has selling the e-rights on her to-do list, but there are other things she's doing for me that are higher priority right now, like selling the paperback rights for the series. I hope to see the Claire Hanover books in paperback, audio, and e-format soon, but for now they're only in hardcover and large-print. Sigh!


message 5: by Beth (new)

Beth | 216 comments Mod
Yes, Shell, some folks do self-publish their e-books. However, some publishing houses like to buy a bundle of paperback, foreign, and electronic rights, for example, and if any of those are not available for purchase, that queers the deal. This is where having a literary agent who knows about contracts, rights, and what publishers want is very useful. Publishing a book electronically before you've found a buyer for the other rights for that book can be penny-wise and pound-foolish.


message 6: by Magpie67 (new)

Magpie67 | 27 comments Hardcovers just because I love the feel of them and the pages in my hands.

I like paperbacks/softcovers because I can throw them in my purse.

I don't like reading them electronically.


message 7: by Barb (new)

Barb | 9 comments Beth wrote: "More books are published in paperback than hardcover, and the choice is usually the publisher's, not the author's. Often this decision is an overall one for a publisher. They may only buy hardcover..."

My favorite is the hardcover. I collect them - so when I find series I like - I try and get them all in hardcover.




message 8: by Magpie67 (last edited May 04, 2009 06:34AM) (new)

Magpie67 | 27 comments Me too! Unless I started the series in the paperback. Or............ they are really old copies of a series I just found and then I pick up whatever I can find. :-)

My daughter wanted the first book in the Little House on the Prarie series..... She grabbed the hardcover instead of the soft. LOL! She will be 9 this Wednesday.


message 9: by JSWolf (last edited May 09, 2009 04:10PM) (new)

JSWolf | 2 comments To me, trade paperbacks are just a way to get more money out of us. I hate them with a passion. They are ungainly in size, don't normally fit on the bookshelf, and look and feel awful. If a book in in trade paperback where mass market would have done fine, I will not purchase.

If I do purchase a paperback book, I purchase mass market where appropriate. Please please do not allow your books to go trade paperback.

That said, I would prefer eBooks. But, please do not price them absurdly. They should be less then the pBook edition and if the price is based on a trade paperback or hardcover edition and is more expensive then a mass market paperback edition, then I won't buy it.

Trade paperback = no way at all
mass market paperback = OK
eBook = OK if priced like the mass market edition with some sort of discount to bring the price down to about $5-$6.

And for the eBook editions, the formats that should be supported are AZW (for the Kindle), BBeB (For the Sony Reader), ePub, Mobipocket, MS Reader and eReader. Dp not let Amazon rope you into an exclusive deal. That will only hurt your sales as a lot of people who like eBooks but do not have a Kindle will not bother even with the pBook version.



message 10: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 2 comments Shelly wrote: "JSWolf wrote: "To me, trade paperbacks are just a way to get more money out of us. I hate them with a passion. They are ungainly in size, don't normally fit on the bookshelf, and look and feel awfu..."

I apologize. I totally missed MS Reader format. I'll go edit that in now.




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