Friday, December 10, 2010

Hardcover and Paperback - 精装本和平装本

Books published in the US are generally published in hardcover first and come out in paperback a year or so later.

This practice might have made sense in the past, but with the advance of digital books, the two-tiered marketing should change. In the past, if high prices of hardcovers made readers wait patiently for a cheaper version, now they might opt for digital books immediately ... which is likely to make publishers of paper books obsolete -- or will at least put them in the same perilous position as companies that publish music CDs.

The book market in China might serve as a better model. Books are generally published there only in paperback. Sometimes publishers simultaneously release a slightly more expensive versions of books with laminated covers. Or they only publish laminated versions. On very special occasions, publishers present hardcover or cloth-bound editions as collectibles.

This approach can reduce overall publishing costs and also eliminates an unnecessary wait for readers who don't want to pay hardcover prices. As for authors' compensation, I am confident that arrangements can be found to ensure the profitability for the publisher and fair payment to authors.

The very high expense of text books in the United States troubles me too. Text books are very printed cheaply in China and don't cost much to own. It's time for us to learn a thing or two from China.






Young Man, Book and Flowers / 青年,圖書和花卉 /  Junger Mann, Buch und Blumen
Young Man, Book and Flowers / 青年,圖書和花卉 © Matthew Felix Sun

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