There's a question I couldn't answer myself. I recently bought a hard cover book but the author is new. I so wanted to read it but it's so expensive to buy it. I was told that they're not sure if the book will be available in paperback. Well, in the end I bought it and it's not that great.


Now the question, why would a new author have his/her new book in hard cover? I buy hard cover for my favorite old authors or well, a series that i love so much. BUT this is the first time I bought a hard bound book for a new author of a new series. Is there any reason why they do that?



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Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I understand, it is common practice to publish any new work (regardless of how new/old the author is) in hardcover first. Then, usually a year after the book is first published, they will print paperback copies. There are a few exceptions to this (usually romance novels). It might have something to do with tradition ("it's always been that way"), or maybe it's just because hardcover is more expensive....I don't know.



@penelope and shawn - it is a fiction book. it is actually the first book in a series.


with my other book series - vampire academy and sookie stackhouse, paperback the first books and then when its already a big hit the books are already in hard cover. for me if its a series i love then its okay to buy it hardback but the first book - nah, i wont do it again. the price is almost twice the amount of the paperback.

It's all marketing :)

I was hoping my first book would not be a hardback for the very reason you state.  They are so darn expensive.  I am a new author and didn't want the expense of a hard cover to deter people that actually wanted to check me out.  I was glad to not be given the option by my publisher and they just published in softback. 


That's all I can offer though on the subject.


It is about making money.  First the book is released in hardcover.  Then the book is released in paperback 6 months to a year later.  To make it more interesting, they often release the ebook 6 months after the hardcover book is released.

The time-honoured formula of hard-back first, then paperback a little later has been breaking down in recent times. In fact, many books come out straight into paperback now, and never see the light of day as a hardback version at all!

Storage and shipping costs play a big part in the gradual demise of hardbacks. It's sad. Personally I love hardback books. But they say that e-book sales are now overtaking those of hardbacks in certain sectors.

I would also say it is up to the publisher.  I would think if the publisher believes a particular novel is going to be a big success it would come out in hardcover first (max profits), then later go to paperback.  The Historian was a first novel by Elizabeth Kostova, and the publishers knew they had a gem on their hands.  The hype on this novel was huge and I couldn't wait for it's release date.  I was willing to pay big for it rather than wait for the paperback to come out.

To be honest its dependent upon the publisher and how confident they are with the books sales.  Which author was it?


Hi gareth - i dont want to mention the name of the author but she's really new and i think this is her first book.

Potential money on the bottom line I suspect. Like the film business...NOBODY knows what will be a hit. And if some unknown comes along and his or her (hardcover) book breaks out from the crowd and word of mouth makes it a best seller that's good for the publisher and the readers as well as the newbie writer


I myself am working on a fantasy novel that I think has a unique twist to it and instead of e-books (Like my small paranormal series already there that averages 5 to 10 sales a month on Kindle....) I would love to see my fantasy novel as a hardcover on the shelf someday soon. Before too many other bookstores close down.


As for taking a risk on a newbie hardcover, I'd like to suggest waiting a month or two and then checking out the used books portion of Amazon (or Alibris Books)  This way you'd get some reviews of the book you're interested in plus most of the time it'll be discounted at a more reasonable price that matches your budget needs. (You can see this part with every book- there will be a link for Kindle, hardcover, paperback and used... click on used link and you'll find a huge selection of used copies and they will even let you know what condition the book is in


Good luck!

"NOBODY knows what will be a hit"


Nope, but they got a pretty good idea.  That's why they spend all the advertising dollars buying bookshelf space in books stores (yes, big publishers BUY bookshelf space).

My first book is going to be first offered in paperback and then according to how well it sells, it may be offered in hardback.


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