Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fighting the inevitable

Book readers are up in arms again. It seems that there's a new trend in mass market paperbacks in the USA, with a move to slightly taller, wider, thinner "prestige" paperbacks, with wider margins, bigger typeface, higher quality paper - but a slight price increase that has everyone worried that this move to a new format is being pushed solely by the desire of publishers to charge a few dollars more.

I just can't see it. Would the many publishers of the USA really plot together to make MMPB books a little bit bigger just so they can charge more money per unit? There must have been some call from the buying public for a "new format". These so-called "prestige" books - which seemingly have whiter, cleaner, thicker paper that won't yellow as easily, plus bigger type, larger cover art, or whatever - are being issued to give the customers a better reading experience. Surely?

More likely, with populations of avid book readers getting older and older, and with failing eyesight, that many people were increasing annoyed by the small size of "pocket" paperbacks. A lot of market research goes into book publishing, marketing and distribution. Many people do judge books by their covers.

I understand that some novel series are changing format in mid-stream, which for those collectors must be Really Annoying. But, if sufficient customers don't like these improved MMPBs, and fail to support them, they'll die out. Certainly in the 80s "prestige" comic books - with whiter, thicker paper - quickly doomed the acid-filled newsprint versions to start to vanish. Most customers were happy to pay a little extra to get something that improved the look of the art and wouldn't turn brittle after only a few months.

Meanwhile, I can't say I've even noticed a new size of MMPB here in Australia yet, although there must be some examples at Galaxy Bookshop, who get a lot of American imports every week. I do know that there has been a trend for many top-selling books to get a hardcover, then trade paperback, and then MMPB set of staggered releases, which again must be Really Annoying for people eagerly awaiting only the MMPB version.

Oh, and speaking of Fighting The Inevitable, I was finally able to gain access to the clever little link that enables me to Change The Dates on my blog entries. Now that I'm finally able to retro date stuff, I'm finding myself shirking my daily responsibilities for writing posts! Dammit.

Mind you, I've managed to have some early nights this week - and feeling much better for it - and Jack's even had some extra walks around the block. I just have to keep disciplining myself to write Every Day. Sigh...

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