Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Tuesday Twaddle with Leigh.

It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for The Tuesday Twaddle. Hooray!  For those uninitiated this is where I basically talk complete and utter nonsense on all things random, well random in the Land of Leigh.
And what’s going on in the Land of Leigh? Amazing things I tell you, amazing things.   I’m sure you’re well sick of hearing about the Land of Leigh so I won’t harp on about it.  But what I will harp on about is something a little close to my heart.  The hardback, trade paperback, and Ereader Download debate.
I've mulled over this very question myself, and have been doing some researching on the internet to find out what the to-do' is all about.
Hardback is the 'old fashioned' publishers bread and butter.  The publisher and the writer make more per book sold in hardback addition.  But, and there is always a but, hardback is falling out of favor, and quite rapidly.
 Many see the Hardback as too expensive.  A hardback comes out at approx.  18.99, whereas the humble paperback comes out at approx. 8.99 - same book, same story but $10 cheaper.  The truth of the matter is that most people (myself included) hold off for the paper back to buy the book, as hardback is too expensive, clunky, and heavy.
 As far as I can see it it's a snobbery thing.  Authors like to see their book in hardback, but things are changing.  In the UK and Australia, paperback is becoming more and more the norm for first editions and this has some major positives.  Firstly, you are going to sell a hell of a lot more books.  You are going to reach a far wider audience and be sold in major chains other than bookstores that specialize in high-end lit.  I was recently asked what format I would want my first book going out in. Firstly, let me say, I don’t get a choice.  The publisher decides, but if I had to answer my brain would say ‘first edition trade paperback’ and my heart would say ‘are you crazy, hardback, hardback, hardback’.  I think every author would like the kudos of hardback, but sometimes that’s just not a realistic goal.  However, with Trade paperback you get the kudos of the trade (with some of the perks) but the exposure and mass market appeal of the paperback price.  Yes, I know as an author you're going to make less on the sales, but really who cares?  At this stage it's all about establishing yourself as an author, getting a loyal following and most importantly keeping your reading public happy with recession proof pricing.
 There's also the big deal about ereaders! These make the hardback practically obsolete!  You're only going to pay a set price for a book on ipad, nook, or kindle regardless of what format the paper edition was published in, and that's key - and the future!
There is definitely a market for the Hardback, there are books that I Iove so much I demand to have them in hardback, but to me, it makes more sense to have the hardback come out as a second edition, after the book has sold well in ‘trade’, reached its full market potential, and found an army of followers who will want to spend the extra to get a hardback copy.
These are just my personal opinions, and I know the publishers are ultimately the ones that make the decisions on what format each book is published in, but it is certainly food for thought.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this issue, as it is something very close to my heart at the moment.
So tell me, what do you think is the perfect printing format and why?


  1. Thank you for writing this, Leigh!
    As a reader, I won't buy a hardback unless it's a book that I've been absolutely dying to read. But as a writer, it's easy to feel offended and disappointed if that dream offer finally comes and they only want to start out as a trade paperback. Ironic, huh? Well, these times they are a-changing. :)

  2. I, personally, like hardback better then paperback, mostly because it'll last longer. I know that hardback is more expensive, but there is a reason for that, and I think it's reasonable.

  3. I've only bought hardback copies of books that I love. If I'm not sure about a book and it's only out in hard back, I'll usually get it from the library. I think there is a certain amount of prestige if your book comes out in hardback, but that's not always the case. I've read a lot of first edition trade paperbacks over the last year. The e-books I buy are generally backlist titles and are usually $9 and under.

  4. Like you said, Aussies often go straight to paperback, so it's not much of an issue for me. I was excited when they brought Harry Potter out in hardcover here but charged paperback price for it. Also I was glad that the copy of I Am Number Four that I won was hardcover as my son's reading it and he had a stretch while holding it and put it in the fan (he's had a growth spurt). So happy that the hardcover = book intact after fan incident. I haven't gotten into ereaders. I prefer to hold my book in my hands and have pages to turn.

  5. If I love a book, then I love to have it in hardback, but I like to read on my kindle, so the e-book is my format of choice. I'm also restricted on how many books I can have due to the fact that my hubby is military and we move a lot. I only get the books that I absolutely adore in hard back, since I am only allowed one book case. It's so nice to have my entire library on my kindle and am able to take it everywhere with me. On a side note, I can't wait to have Leigh's beautiful hardback sitting pretty on my top shelf ;) When you do your tour, I will be out to get it signed!

  6. If I was having my own work published I would love to see it in Hardback, however when actually reading I do prefer paperback as it is easier to handle. I especially love sustainable reading books, they are so soft and kinda floppy but feel so lovely and velvety. Not explaining myself too well here sorry! I am currently reading a book published by Harper Collins and it is a sustainable reading book so they could show you what I mean if you have never handled one! I am not one for the e-readers either as I love actual physical books. However I would find it handy for those books I read in between heavy going books, just for light reading when I am trying to recover from a heavy read, I always have to be reading something but cannot go from heavy to heavy!!
    Take care.

  7. I like the cost of paperbacks, but hardcovers are a little sturdier and sometimes just plain prettier, haha. I'm not an e-book reader, mostly because A) I don't have an e-reader and B) I have enough trouble reading through my manuscripts on a screen. But I don't really have a preference in regards to paperback or hardcover. I do know, though, that I like being able to go and pick out a book in person, and hold it. :-)

  8. Reading wise, I like reading paperbacks better. They're easier to handle and carry around (not counting eReaders). There are certain books I want in hardback. Books by my favorite authors, for example.

    I LOVE having my eReader mostly because of convenience.

    As a writer, I think I will be happy just to hold my book no matter if its paper or hard.

  9. I'm the same way. I have a whole list of books that I want to read and when their paperback release is. Being a teenager who's source of money comes in the form of occasional allowance, I think "why buy this one book in hardback when I can buy two paperbacks?"

    However there are some exceptions. Series I love and books I just NEED. For example, as soon as this stupid snow stops I'm going to borders and grabbing DELIRIUM.

    I haven't gone eReader yet... and honestly I don't plan too. I don't know, I just love the book itself. Collecting them and such. Not reading them on a screen. The only reason I'd ever get one is because they're just so much more convenient in today's world.

  10. Thanks for all your comments guys. It's interesting to see all the different answers.

  11. Its a funny one really, isnt it! For example, for myself, I would rather a paperback- but as you say, for the "must have" on my shelf, I would prefer the hardback, more special version.

    For a gift, I would strive towards buying a hardback- but then that too is going down the road of knowing that the person I am buying the gift for would consider it a "must have" for thier own shelf.

    Excellent piece, nicely done!

  12. I've never liked hardbacks. Love my ereader. I read fast but there's no way I'll run out of books... Just money.

  13. Call me old fashioned but I much prefer holding a hardcopy of a book than an ereader. Also, if I had to choose between hardbacks and paperbacks I would choose paperbacks every time. Easier to handle!