Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paperback Ranter


Internet pundit rants impotently! Film at 11.

I hate the trade paperback format. You know the one - the same size as a hardcover book (though sometimes smaller), but without the hard cover. They're less expensive than a hardcover, but more expensive than a mass-market paperback, my favourite book format.

I prefer mass-market paperbacks because they're cheap (relatively), portable and easy to handle. They're also small, and when you have thousands of books, shelf space is always at a premium.

I really hate it when a publisher switches from mass-market paperback to trade paperback format in the middle of a series of books. Years ago, Harry Turtledove's alternate history of the American Civil war followed the normal publishing pattern: hardcover first, followed by a mass-market paperback about a year later. But then, midway through the series, the books started appearing as trades. No problem, I thought, I guess it's an intermediary stage; they'll keep this on the market for a while, then release the mass-market paperback.

Almost ten years later, I'm still waiting. The series is finished, and the three or four books I need remain stubbornly fixed as trades. I have only two choices: keep waiting, or buy the trade paperbacks, which will look goofy on my shelves next to all the smaller books before them. I suppose I should just buy the trades; I'm sure the mass-market editions will appear on store shelves as soon as I do so, just out of spite.

Please sir or madam publish your good books
In the smaller size, they'll fit in my nook
Paperback ranter...
Paperback ranter!

2 comments:

susan_rn92 said...

I suppose you could purchase the smaller variety when they come out and donate the others to a hospital. They are always looking for books for patients. I had a series where one of the intermediate books was missing, I took the set into VGH and they were all scooped up by the time I went again.

Benchmark said...

I was always a paperback advocate for the same practical reasons you mentioned, but now, to my continued surprise, I'm primarily an ebook reader. I never thought I would be - I always loved the feel and smell of a oft-read and well-loved paperback. But at one point I thought, what the heck, I'll try an ebook. And I got hooked.

I can yank out my smartphone and instantly start reading in line at the grocery store, in the Tim Hortons drive thru lane, waiting on a bench at the mall while Joanne and the kids shop, anyplace. In a heartbeat I can shut out the world and escape into a novel.

Ebooks average around 500k in size, so I can fit 2000 ebooks in 1 GB of memory. I still go to the library all the time, but primarily I'm now an ebook guy.