Written by Literature

The Rush To Paperback

I was wandering around Borders the other day, just to see if they had any interesting books in the London branch that hadn’t been in the Norwich branch. Not that I need any more books.
Anyway, they did have the hardback of Restless by William Boyd on sale at half price. Now I love William Boyd and have read nearly everything he’s written, but never in hardback. Still half-price is always tempting for a novel that was only released in September.
While I was umming and ahhing about this, I noticed the same title in paperback on the big 3 for 2 table.
Wow – that’s a quick sprint to paperback I thought. You might get a trade paperback at airports or available through the book clubs, but surely the mass market paperback shouldn’t already be available.
Then I saw the other sticker on the cover. The one that didn’t say “3 for 2”.
The Richard & Judy Book Club. I don’t know exactly what the rules are for it, but I think your title has to be in paperback. And in any case, if it gets selected, you rush out a paperback edition as quickly as possible almost certainly achieving, even in a popular author like Boyd, substantially more sales than you would otherwise.
I’ve noticed that in the past, Arthur & George and The Shadow of the Wind both published trade paperback sized titles to “qualify” for appearance. Maybe the rules have been tightened, or maybe publishers figure that they’ll generate even larger profits from the mass market edition.
The Independent has the other titles that’ll be clogging up the top of bestsellers list (and supermarket shelves) for the rest of the year (via Booktrade.info).