David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

what's with the paperback size changes?

I've mentioned before that I hate the trade paperback format with a passion. With books, that is, as opposed to comics. It combines the worst features of the hardback and the paperback and the best of neither. It's as if the publishing companies sat down and said, "You know what the market needs? Something with the inconvenient size, bulk, and cost of a hardcover, with all the durability of the paperback, that costs twice as much as something in paper."

I can see why they'd want to sell it to us, sure, but there is no reason in the world for me to want to buy the damn thing. The only reason I do is that a lot of the books I want to buy, particularly in nonfiction, never make it to regular paperback, and I can't get them any other way.

Lately, though -- for certain values of late; I've been meaning to post about this for a good while -- I've noticed a new and annoying wrinkle: they're changing the size of paperbacks.

That's two books by Richard North Patterson, as photographed by my crappy cameraphone. THE RACE, on the right, is maybe a quarter of an inch taller than SILENT WITNESS, on the left. They're the same width. The difference is small, but it's off-putting visually and tactically, and it makes the book harder to open, especially around the middle. That extra quarter-inch is pricey, too: SILENT WINESS runs $7.99, the typical price for paperbacks, but THE RACE is $9.99.

I can understand having to raise prices; I can even understand charging more for your most successful and in-demand authors. But for the life of me, I don't know why they're screwing with the book size to create a product that is less comfortable to hold and read, and looks untidy on your paperbacks shelf, and charging the consumer more for the privilege.

Anybody have any ideas? And what's the name for this new paperback format?
Tags: books

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