Not that they will care…

…but I have to tell publishers that I won’t buy “trade” paperbacks. These are the paperback editions which are the size of regular books but which have soft covers. I don’t know if it’s cheaper to produce after a regular hard-cover run – perhaps they can use the same press setup and just bind in soft covers – but I hate them with a passion. I have two or three problems with them.

  • First thing – they don’t fit on my book shelves. I don’t discard books, and I have books dating back to my early buying days when I was a teenager in 1965 or even a little earlier – probably 6,000 to 8,000 books in all. Not all of those are readily available – some live in boxes and see the light of day only once every couple of years – but a large number sit on bookshelves in my basement (which is, luckily, cool and dry). All my shelves are set up to deal with “mass market” paperback sizes, except for a few professional books which occupy no more than forty feet of shelving in my home office. Trade paperbacks have nowhere to go.
  • Second thing, some titles come out in trade but not in mass market, so I miss books I would otherwise read and appreciate. That’s annoying, at the very least, but…
  • finally – they’re expensive. A trade paperback usually weighs in a C$20 or more – double the price of a mass market book. That means I can buy only about 4 in a week without blowing my budget, while I can buy seven or eight mass market books and still buy lunch (and I eat a lot of lunch!). Trade paperbacks, then, are out of my price range.
  • So please, publishers, kick the “trade” habit, and publish more “mass market!”

    There. They’ve been told.

    One thought on “Not that they will care…

    1. And coming back to this with the vantage point a few more years gives…. It no longer matters. Budget constraints after retiring together with technology changes mean I now very rarely buy physical books of any size. Ebooks don’t necessarily have the charm of physical bound copy, but the content matters more to me than does the form (sorry, designers!). Now, if only prices would reduce further in recognition of the reduced cost of creating electronic forms over atomic versions.

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