Reverse Windowing

This week, because of the controversy over eBook pricing, the general public was introduced to the concept of “windowing,” or deciding when to release books in cheaper versions.

Conventional wisdom says that publishers should try to get as much out of hardcover sales as possible, which is why the paperback release of The Help was moved from January to June, 2010.

Sometimes a publisher breaks rank with this thinking and decides to move the paperback release date earlier, to take advantage of publicity and give a price incentive to readers to take a chance on a book.

The unconventional approach seems to have worked for Colum McCann’s National Book Award winner, Let the Great World Spin. It was published in hardcover in June and as USA Today notes in their “Book Buzz” column, Random House decided to release the trade paperback several months earlier — on Dec. 2nd, rather than late Spring 2010. This week, the book jumps from #351 on the USA Today bestseller list to #126.

USA Today also notes that the movie option has been sold and McCann is at work on the screenplay.

Many libraries are continuing to show heavy holds on the book; here’s an opportunity to get through that list less cost.

Let the Great World Spin
Colum McCann
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks – (2009-12-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0812973992 / 9780812973990

One Response to “Reverse Windowing”

  1. Sarah Says:

    HUGE list here for THE HELP; none for LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN. Book clubs now starting to pick THE HELP as well. Perhaps people will buy HELP in hc, but they won’t LET (but will do so in pb). How to find that decision point, however, is the question.