Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Price of Books

There's an interesting series on about the price of literary fiction and the format in which it is published. Go here to read: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3. Although I work in publishing, my department isn't involved in decisions like this. That's decided before we even hear about the book. So I generally only learn about these things in a scattershot manner.

Personally, I don't really like to read hardcover books because I like to always carry a book with me, and hardcovers are a bit awkward, no? But I love hardcover books despite that. I love the way they look on a shelf and the way that they feel in your hand. They have a weight and solidity that paperbacks just don't have. A truly well-designed hardcover can be a thing of beauty in a way that's much harder to achieve with trade paperback and, as far as I'm concerned, just not doable in mass market. I don't think all books should come out in hardcover by any means, but I'm certainly glad some do.

What's more, as one of the interviewees points out, books just aren't that expensive compared to the other things we buy to entertain us and enrich our lives. A movie in Manhattan costs like $11 and most of them are crap. Compared to that books are a bargain...even if most of them are crap as well. I mean movies only last 1.5-3 hours (generally) and then if you want to see them again you have to pay all over again. That sucks.

My take: if you don't want to pay for a hardcover you can a) go to a library or b) take pleasure in the anticipation of waiting for it to be published in paperback. Are those options really so bad?

No comments: