Bye Bye, Paperbacks

I think mass market paperbacks may be a thing of the past for me, at least for the time being. Before I worked at Half Price Books I’d just about never buy a book during its year of release. There were two reasons for this. First, the price. Many people have no problem spending $15-$20 on a book, but I do. And I won’t do it. So I’d always wait for the paperback version to come out about a year later. They’d typically be around $7.99 on Amazon. About the same as most other stores, but I had two day shipping.

But now everything is different. Those paperbacks I was telling you about? Now they usually cost $2-$2.50. But if I really want to read a book I can get a new release hardcover for $7.49. Usually. So now I’m able to get the hardcover edition of a book within a week or two of its release for the same price as the paperback version on Amazon a year after. I no longer see any reason to wait for that paperback.

So my shelves may be adding plenty of books in the future, but likely not too many mass market paperbacks.

PS: I can get older release hardcovers for $4. So I’m all set. All because I’m at Half Price Books right now.

No real question today because I’ve already asked before about hardcover/paperback preferences. But feel free to comment whatever pops into your head after reading, if anything does.

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An Unexpected Change

Have you ever felt the urge to just do SOMETHING? That was me last night around two in the morning. I don’t ever go to sleep before that time, so my being awake was typical. But suddenly I needed to do something. Guess what I did? You might even be able to guess it.

I reorganized my bookshelves! Ha! It wouldn’t surprise me if I woke someone up because it turns out that moving books around can be pretty loud when there’s no other sound coming from any other part of the house. But I still kept at it. I made two changes last night. First, I moved my trade paperbacks from my paperbacks shelf to my hardcovers one. And second, I alphabetized all my books by author rather than by title. I was able to add about a shelf of books to my hardcover shelf as a result of the reorganization.

I don’t think my shelves look any better or worse after last night, just different. I realized that I now have 17 paperbacks by Robert B. Parker, the most of any author. And 16 by Michael Connelly.

Tell me you’ve experienced this need to do something like I did last night, and what did you do? Or am I just weird?

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Here’s my visual of what I did last night. Hehe.

Print Books Here to Stay

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Photo Credit: Julie Griffin

Okay guys, anyone who reads about books or the publishing industry on any kind of regular basis has read at some point in the last couple of years about the demise of printed books. I know I have. I’ve always been the person to roll my eyes and acknowledge that those writing such pieces had no real information to back up their claims that printed books were a dying product.

I know what you’re thinking. What about Kindle? Or even iBooks or the Nook? Ebooks have certainly changed the publishing industry, there’s no doubt about that, but to say that ebooks have moved printed books toward the brink of extinction has never been close to reality. Obviously when something new comes along everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. Ebooks saw triple digit rates of growth for years, until 2013 saw the rate slip into the single digits. With the first six months of 2014 showing evidence that the growth rates of ebooks may have leveled off with ebooks making up just 23 percent of the market, with hardcovers at 25 percent, and paperbacks at 42 percent. Look at that. People are buying those big, bulky, overly expensive hardcovers more than they are buying ebooks at the moment.

Ebooks aren’t going anywhere, but neither are printed books. So I kindly ask that you stop writing articles that are strictly your opinion with no basis in fact. Thanks.

You can read an article on the topic here.

Publishers Giving Away Books?

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Photo Credit: Flickr/Missouri State Archives

That’s right. Publishers are giving away books. Over a hundred million of them. Just kidding. This is not something I can imagine ever happening again. I’m sure the major publishers have some kind of charity or school program that offers books for cheap or for free, but I highly doubt that it’s on the level of what I’m about to tell you.

Remember that thing called World War II? Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia and Churchill and FDR. I’m sure you’ve read about it in the history books, but there’s a part of the story you likely haven’t heard. Before I get into what happened during the war as related to books, you should know that they were not quite as available as they are now. Bookstores may be closing, but you still can get your hands on just about any book you want by way of Amazon or Abebooks or another retailer near you. With that being said, publishers took a chance in 1943. They began selling paperbacks for just six cents to the Army. These cheaply made books were manufactured using magazine presses.

You might be thinking so what. What’s it matter if publishers were selling books cheaply to the Army and soldiers stationed around the world. Well it matters because these books soon became wildly popular during the war. You can imagine the living conditions and the thoughts of never returning home of some of the soldiers. But then these books start arriving from America. I won”t exaggerate the role these books played during the war, but the Army eventually could not order these books fast enough to meet the demand of the soldiers and the publishers could not ship out a new batch of books soon enough. The books were often read until they were no longer a book, until they fell apart. Suffice it to say that a single book could be read by dozens of soldiers in lesser war torn areas.

Publishers gave away a grand total of 122,951,031 of these cheap paperbacks over the next four years. Read that number again. 122 million! Guess what the result of all their efforts was? Though paperbacks were sold prior to the start of the program with the Army, the titles weren’t the same as their hardcover counterparts and all books were hard to find because of how few bookstores existed at the time. During and after the war this changed. Rather than pay $2 for a hardcover, paperbacks were just a quarter. The everyday person could afford them and soon millions of Americans were reading.

So again, what was the result of all the work of the publishers during those few years? They helped create an America that wanted to read.

You can read a great article about all of this here.

Shelfie: Finally organizing my bookshelf

This was my first ever shelfie! Okay, actually I don’t think that’s true. I know it isn’t. But lies aren’t always bad, right? Anyway, I wanted to give you guys a look at my books and what I’ve read. This is my read paperbacks shelf. Yes, I actually have another shelf dedicated to hardcovers. But it isn’t nearly as full as this one is. It’s not even close. I don’t really buy hardcovers because I’m usually a few books behind the authors who write my favorite series so I’m rarely rushing to the store on release day for a book. Well, I’ve done it maybe once, but that was because it was an author event and I had to buy the book to get my other ones signed. Besides, $24.95 is way too much for me.

By the way, I just recently put six books on this shelf that I’d read a long time ago and never got around to putting them up and I was pretty excited to see that I finally made it to the bottom shelf!

Okay, so let me tell you a little about the books.

# of Books

119

# of Authors

34

# of Series

24

# of Series Books

89

# of Standalones

30

Most Common Author

Robert B. Parker (16 books)

Most Common Series

Harry Bosch (14 books)

So that’s it. Those are all the paperbacks I have that I’ve read. As I told you, I have another shelf that holds my hardcovers and to-be-read shelves. How does my little library of books stack up against yours? Tell me, please.