Bantam Dell tries a two-pronged approach

It’s the rare book that is in more than one format at a time (not counting audio, large print etc.) so this gamble by Bantam Dell sounds on the surface to be a bit risky. But perhaps not. The logic has been that some people want to purchase a book at the lowest price while others want something more respectable or enduring on their shelves, or perhaps with slightly larger print. The price and quality gulf between mass markets and hard covers is huge, but not nearly as much between mass markets and trade paperbacks. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For authors, it means two simultaneous royalty streams – 8% on $7.99 on the mass market and 7.5% – 8% on maybe $12.95 for the trade paperback. My publisher (speaking with my author hat on) Pocket Books of S&S, were the pioneers I believe of the split the difference approach with the premium mass market. These are taller than normal mass markets with heftier prices – $9.99. Publishing is roundly criticized for being resistant to change, so this experiment is noteworthy if for no other reason than they’re trying something different.

  1. stevenagy

    Pyr did it a few times IIRC. Charlie’s book came out in tpb and hc at the same time.

    I agree that there’s a segment of the market that would opt for the cheaper price, so it’s hard for me to crunch the plus/minus on the reason behind this idea. Paradigm shift? The goal is more money, so I would think it’s logical to focus your production on the format that will sell the most copies for that particular author.

    Of course, sometimes that’s probably a matter of attracting attention to the author/book in the first place. Going to be interesting to see how this develops. The larger format — the $9.99 — still throws me a bit. Especially when I’ve got a collection in one size. Which seems a silly reason on whether to buy a book or not, but it’s strangely true.


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