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Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

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Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Old 05-25-10, 11:40 AM
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Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

I'm seeing this phenomenon more often these days, and wondering why. Recent books such as Choi's HELLO KITTY MUST DIE and Wells's I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER reached the market this way. It's a confusing model. I also saw it with the recent Pulitzer winner TINKERS. And Robert McCammon's QUEEN OF BEDLAM. There are others that aren't occurring to me right now...

In all cases, the hardcover seems to be a limited entity, harder to find, and the TP seems to be the mass market edition. But what is the motivation for this kind of model? Cheaper printing costs? Seems publishers would lose the potentially much-heftier hardcover profits this way, except selling to the collectors among us...

Anyway, I find it annoying.
Old 05-25-10, 11:47 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

At a guess, the publishers may have decided that the book isn't going to sell enough hardcover copies to make it worthwhile doing a separate hardcover release. But instead of doing the traditional route of paperback only, they're printing up a small run of hardcovers for the collector's market (you).
Old 05-25-10, 11:49 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

One thing I've noticed is that, with some anyway, the HC is only available through online orders. For example, HELLO KITTY MUST DIE. I've never seen the HC at B&B stores. If you check Borders.com, it states that the HC is available only online.

For TINKERS, I believe the publisher only made a handful of the HCs, and those were only available at independent book stores.

If you look at something like FINAL TARGET, it was released as a MMPB the day a small press HC was released.

Not sure what it all means. I can only assume that publishers are testing the water with new writers, or they're making the HC limited and available for those who want to search it out. Regardless, I'm sure it has to do with money. It always does.
Old 05-25-10, 11:51 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Originally Posted by Nick Danger
At a guess, the publishers may have decided that the book isn't going to sell enough hardcover copies to make it worthwhile doing a separate hardcover release. But instead of doing the traditional route of paperback only, they're printing up a small run of hardcovers for the collector's market (you).
That may be the case, but for this collector, the cool thing about the hardcovers is that they typically come out a year earlier, making them the first printing of a particular book. It's not the "hardcover" we're hunting for, it's the first printing in whatever state. So when both come out at the same time, well, that muddies the water a little.

Of course, we can always call the publisher and find out which one came off the press first...
Old 05-26-10, 08:30 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Damn, I just got stung again. A big culprit seems to be this new press, Tyrus Books, which did HELLO KITTY MUST DIE. It also did Victor Gischler's THE DEPUTY, which I bought without realizing there was a hardcover. D'Oh!
Old 05-26-10, 11:46 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

They need hardcovers to sell to libraries and collectors.
Old 05-26-10, 11:56 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

But there have been thousands of trade paperbacks that never get consumer hardcover releases. Just seems like a recent phenomenon to me ...
Old 05-26-10, 12:03 PM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Certain small presses do this. (Tyrus does all their books this way.) Basically the paperback is the regular edition, while the hardcover is a limited edition published in small quantities, mostly for the collectors market. It's a way for the publisher to make a little extra money off the hardcover, as opposed to just doing paperback (which is what they'd otherwise do).
Old 05-26-10, 12:23 PM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Is it spreading to larger presses? Maybe I'm just noticing it more. But McCammon's book was from Pocket--same model.
Old 05-26-10, 09:19 PM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

And I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER is from TOR.

Anyway ... oddness.
Old 05-27-10, 10:47 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Do these small publishers actually make extra money from collectors? I can't imagine there being that many of us out there. At least, not enough of us who actually search for a hardcover instead of just buying the paperback they find at B&N or on Amazon.
Old 05-30-10, 09:37 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

I believe the hardcovers are also for the library market. We're talking pretty small print runs, probably only a couple hundred copies. So I assume they make money off it (or else wouldn't do it).
Old 06-01-10, 03:14 PM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

Found this interesting interview snippet with the publisher of a smaller house:

"What used to happen is, we'd publish these brilliant novels in hardcover, books by new authors who don't yet have an audience, and they'd sell a few copies. A year later we would release the paperback, but bookstore buyers would look up the low hardcover sales numbers and decide not to order the paperback. Or they would order fewer copies than we'd hoped, because the hardcover numbers were low. In theory, a paperback release should give a new author's book a "second life" after the hardcover. But this doesn't work because the low hardcover sales numbers end up reflecting badly on the paperback and the paperback doesn't get ordered.

"So this was our dilemma -- How do we break a new author? How do we get these books out there and into the hands of more readers? Because that's what it's all about. We couldn't go with trade paper original because there's an automatic implication within the book trade that this signifies a lower-quality book. But, bookstore buyers are actually much more inclined to order paperback originals, and readers like to see a paperback."
Old 06-03-10, 07:58 AM
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Re: Simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback releases--why?

That makes sense.... Although I'm not sure about the idea that trade paper originals have more of a stigma that mass market originals.

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