Okay, I was in the bookstore yesterday, perusing the shelves, and I got to thinking about something. There was a book I saw, and I thought to myself, I'll grab it when it comes out in paperback. Then I stopped, because I realized I was making an assumption. It's an assumption that was based on some "information" that I had learned years ago. But, quite frankly, it's still quite an assumption--one that might well be misinformed. So I am hoping that those writers I know could enlighten me. (And perhaps if you don't have the answers, you can nudge other folks you do know my way to help get me the answer.)
Yes, I want to understand this aspect of publishing because I write. But more than that: I read. I buy books. If you are someone whose blog I read , and get published, there's a darned good chance I'm buying *your* books. However, I have limited shelf space in the house. (Don't we all?) Now limited shelf space hasn't been exactly preventing me from buying more books, but it will eventually cause problems. So that means that books are fighting for shelf space. Hardcovers take up a heck of a lot more space than paperbacks. They last longer and are more sturdy, which means that, there's a chance they can enjoyed for years to come, by me, the Lovely wife, or perhaps descendants. They also tend to look nicer. My wife isn't as fond because they weigh more, and reading in bed is a lot less comfortable when you have to prop up a large book. They are also the most expensive. Trade Paperbacks are better, in that they tend to be slimmer, and weigh less and they are cheaper. Though it seems rare that both a hardcover and trade paperback version are released for the same work, that is, I don't recall a book going from hardcover to trade paperback, then to mass market. I always thought of trade paperback as being meant for re-release or special editions. Mass Market Paperbacks, are cheapest, smallest, generally the lightest, but also tend towards the flimsiest of the products. Some paperbacks barely make it through a reading by me and the wife before I feel like pages are ready to come out.
So, the assumption that I had was actually a few assumptions all pooled together. I'm going to attempt to break it out into smaller bits. Yes, some of these points might seem slightly contradictory. But it's a lot of what runs through my head in the bookstore.
1) Anything that comes out in hardcover, will eventually come out in mass market paperback.
2) Buying a hardcover means the author is getting more of my money. (Yes, and the publisher, distributor, and bookstore too.)
3) Buying hardcovers or trade paperbacks helps an author more than buying the mmp version.
4) Hardcovers, or trade paperbacks sales mean more to the publisher than mmp sales.
5) In the end, any sale is a good sale, so waiting to buy the cheaper version isn't really that big of a deal.
Sadly, I can't always afford to drop the $20+ per book for all books I want to own. And room is limited. I hate to say that there are some authors I'm more willing to spend the extra cash on than others, even though its true. Sometimes its impatience. I want the latest book so bad, I don't want to wait. Sometimes, yes it is a choice, because I am trying to "vote" with my money. Of course, there was a time when I had a tendency to stick to a very narrow group of authors. Whereas today, I am branching out, taking risks, and trying new authors to see if I like them. For a writing perspective, I need to learn the field. From a reading perspective, I know there's a lot of great stuff I never got around to, and am rushing to correct that.
So, please, if there are any misperceptions in the above, if there is any further insight you can offer, jump in and let me know.