Cold Storage (or, Books I Can’t Read Till 2008)

I’m not done complaining about hardcover book prices yet. Here are just a few books I can’t read right now, even though I’d like to, because I’m not fond of either inflated prices or bulky print formats:


It’s not that I never buy a hardcover book. But, as Jamelah said in her response to the post above, high cost is only one of many reasons we don’t like hardcovers. They don’t fit in pockets. They take up too much space. They’re hard to hold open with one hand while, say, eating a taco supreme.

I’m not the only one who’s not buying these books. I don’t know anybody who’s not a book critic who has read What is the What, for instance. Waiting for the paperback is so deeply ingrained into our book-buying habits that we don’t even pause to think about how offensive the practice is. It’s as if new novels have to sit in cold storage for a year before we can get to them.

Publishers, hear our plea. More paperback originals, please. You know we’re right.

8 Responses

  1. Are you
    Are you suggesting…

    …publishers should print new books in paperback first then, if sales do extremely well, go hardback for the collector/library market?

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  2. Price of BooksWhen utterly
    Price of Books

    When utterly frustrated,try the library. You know a lot about books,including when they are coming out so you should be able to reserve them at the library before the rush. You can do it online. I say thank god for libraries.

  3. EggersI’d fully expect the
    Eggers

    I’d fully expect the publishing dinosaurs to blindly stick to their outdated ways, but you’d think Eggers/McSweeneys would know better. They’re such radical innovators, right?

  4. Most of the books I read come
    Most of the books I read come from the library. The great thing about the library is, if they don’t have a book, they will almost always order it for you. If the book has just come out, they buy it from the publisher. If it’s an older book that they don’t have on the shelf, they can borrow it from one of their branches, or if no branches have it, thru the inter-library loan system. It can all be done on the internet and they notify you when the book is in.

  5. Franny, some areas have
    Franny, some areas have better libraries than others. I hate to say that the neighborhood libraries where I live (central Queens, NY) are very small and disappointing.

    Also, the truth is I’m not really concerned with my own needs when I complain about this issue (partly because, due to LitKicks, I can get free review copies of any new book I want just by asking). Libraries are some consolation, but I don’t want to let the book publishing industry off the hook with that simple excuse.

  6. Agreed! Especially for a
    Agreed! Especially for a timely book like this (about the refugee crisis in Sudan), an affordable paperback would seem like a great idea.

  7. Well, I think that’s a fine
    Well, I think that’s a fine idea. I can imagine buying hardcover editions, as either gifts or collectibles, of books I read in paperback and find I really love.

    I’d be happy if the industry tried that out, but that wouldn’t help the need for hardcover library sales. That’s why I think simultaneous hardcover/paperback is the best idea, and I’m glad a few (very few) publishers are trying this out.

  8. check this out:The Harry
    check this out:

    The Harry Potter bookselling bonanza will take place this July, though not on July 7 as many expected, but two weeks later, July 21. Scholastic announced this morning that the final volume in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be priced at $34.99, the first price increase since 2003. Scholastic has received the manuscript, but no page count has been released, though at the hefty price the book is likely to be a long one. Amazon is already accepting preorders and is discounting the title at $18.89. It will be interesting to see how the discounting story plays out in the U.S. In the U.K., where a number of independent booksellers said they won’t carry the title because of deep discounting by other retailers and e-tailers, Bloomsbury will also release the book on July 21, in four editions: a children’s hardcover, an adult hardcover, a gift edition and an audio version.

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