I wanted to talk about hardcovers and paperbacks because I’m interested to know people’s thoughts on the topic and because Australians do things a lot differently to the rest of the world. Most books (outside Australia) have a hardback release and normally about a year later the paperback comes out. Obviously paperback release often changes and it does depend on popularity and many other factors. Why release a novel in paperback if we can charge more for the hardback edition?
Here in Australia most publishers have rejected this method. There are some hardbacks and there are normally special editions or if you are an author like Dan Brown or Ken Follett they may choose to adopt the same method as the rest of the world. Most releases in Australia come out in trade paperback (for their initial release). Trade paperbacks are the higher quality paperbacks that are normally the same size as the hardcover. Mass-market paperbacks (also known as B format) normally come out a year or more later, but the majority of books remain in the Trade paperback format.
I’m not sure why Australia does it this way but I prefer it. Sure hardcover books look better on the shelf but if I had to choose which I prefer to read I would pick Trade paperbacks. I just think they are more comfortable to read with, not too small and a little more flexible. I like the way Australia does it because really the whole hardcover-to-paperback method is slowly dying and it seems to work better for an indie bookstore. No longer do they have to get two lots of the same book, they just order what they think is the right amount and if it doesn’t sell as fast as expected that’s ok.
Let me know what you prefer and if you have more insights into the hardback/paperback marketing method. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days and honestly I think it is a dying marketing ploy. I just thought I would express my opinion, let people know how Australian publishing differs and hopefully create a discussion in the comments.