Paperback Originals

“Publishing’s poor cousins” is how the Wall Street Journal describes some people’s view of paperback originals (we’re presuming they are talking about trade pbk originals) because,

1) reviewers see the format as a signal that the publisher isn’t expecting much from the book

2) unlike a title released in hardcover and subsequently in paperback, an original pbk gets only one shot at making it

3) because of the lower price, everyone in the pipeline, from author to agent, publisher and retailer makes less than if the book were published in hardcover

Occasionally, a paperback original does find success and becomes the exception that proves the rule. The WSJ explores the success of one such title, One Day by David Nichols, which took off, but only after it was announced that Anne Hathaway had been cast for the lead in the movie.

Tellingly, the follow up to One Day will be published in hardcover.

One Response to “Paperback Originals”

  1. Desiree Bongers Says:

    This is an interesting article. I’ve been wondering why Gregory Maguire’s latest, The Next Queen of Heaven, is being published in trade paper rather than hardcover. I can see the argument for One Day and some of the other titles mentioned in the WSJ article, but Maguire has been very successful with the Wicked titles. It seems like a step backward for him. Any thoughts?