Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Going Straight to Paperback

What's a writer to do? To quote:
I felt that I was at a crossroads between a literary route, sanctioned by the review establishment and therefore desirable, and a commercial one, outside the purview of traditional booksellers, which might sell more copies but would change people's perception of my work.

So I began to do some research. In Europe, I found, paperback originals have been standard for years. In the 1960s, Beat writers in the United States were published only in paperback; I was surprised to learn that "Interpreter of Maladies," by Jhumpa Lahiri, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1999, was published only in paperback by Houghton Mifflin; "Cloud Atlas," by David Mitchell, was a Random House paperback original.

These books were the exception to the hardcover-first rule, but things are changing. Major national publications routinely feature paperback originals these days.

Book clubs, both online and in person, have become a large percentage of the reading public, and many of them won't consider reading books in hardcover. (Convincing people to shell out $25 for a hardcover book they've never heard of is very different from asking them to spend $12.) And they spread the word to an enormous engaged online community of readers via sites like Goodreads, She Reads, LibraryThing and Shelfari, not to mention Facebook and Twitter. Having the book-club army embrace you is a gift that keeps giving for years. (Read entire article.)

1 comment:

Proverbs Thirty One Woman said...

I don't want to come off as rude, but the author is living on another world. Hardback vs. paperback? How about ebook vs. paper book? Authors are really coming to learn that traditional publishers aren't offering them much and are moving on the the ebook world where they have more control over their book - and earn more from their books, too.