Trade paper

The decision has been made to publish SOMETHING MISSING as a trade paperback original rather than as a hardback. Doubleday’s marketing department believes that the book will do better in trade paper. My agent explained it to me this way:

The price point would be lower (paperbacks sell for about $14 while hardbacks sell for $22). This means more people can afford to buy the book, which is particularly important in today’s economy.

Advanced orders from bookstores like Barnes and Noble would more than double if the book was published in trade paper, because trade paper sells better, especially in this economic climate.

Big retailers like Target will sell trade paper, and we want the book in the big retailers.

Most book clubs wait for the trade paperback edition to come out, so their members can afford the book. Trade paper eliminates this problem, which is especially good considering SOMETHING MISSING will be a Book of the Month at Borders.

For a first-time author, trade paper can be an excellent way to start a career by putting more books in more hands immediately and generating more buzz. Also, publishers typically divide marketing budgets between the hardcover and trade paperback releases of a book, which can be bad if the hardcover copy does not initially sell well. By coming out initially in trade paper, more marketing dollars can be invested in the book’s initial launch, which can be very good for a first-time author.

It is becoming more common for authors to publish initially in trade paper.

My editor also informed me that since this decision was made, small bookshops have increased their orders of the book significantly.

On the con side, trade paper doesn’t get as much review attention, so our hope is that the marketing department can find a way to mitigate this loss. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

And of course, there’s a certain prestige to a hardback copy of your book, which will be lost with this decision. To be honest, this didn’t mean as much to me as it did to my wife and some of my friends (understandably), but in the end, I trust Doubleday and Broadway and simply want to put as many books in as many readers’ hands as possible. If trade paper is the way to make this happen, I’m all for it.