To celebrate the release of DONUT DAYS in paperback, I thought I’d take the time to answer some softcover FAQs. Because not every softcover is cut from the same cloth.
Q: Does every book get a hardcover and softcover release?
No. Some books come out in paperback right away. This can be done for a variety of reasons, including the publisher wanting to keep costs down, especially if they don’t think the book is going to be a big seller. However, that’s not always the case. For example, some romance novels will be New York Times bestsellers (and expectantly so) but will never appear in hardcover.
Q: Some books have different covers in their respective versions. Is that the norm?
It does often happen that books have one cover in hardback and one cover in paperback. The well-reviewed FIELDWORK, for example, had a rather boring hardcover but, after Stephen King declared his love for the tome, they spiced it up tenfold on the soft. However, the bestselling LOVELY BONES and EAT, PRAY, LOVE both kept the same iconic covers in hard and soft — at least until their respective movies came out.
Q: If I get a publishing contract, should I negotiate for a softcover and a hardcover release?
Well, like a lot of things in publishing, it depends. If it’s expensive for a publisher to produce your book, they might be inclined to give you less money in your advance. They might say something like, “We had to kick $3,000 in for the hardcover, so we’re going to only offer you $12,000 on your advance instead of $15,000.” In that case, you want to be sure that having a hardcover was worth the $3,000 less you saw in your paycheck.
And, again, not every book needs to be in hardcover. I referenced romance books above, but it’s also quite true in the young adult market. For teens who might not have a ton of discretionary income, they’re probably going to choose the cheaper option when it comes down to two books. And, hello, recession anyone? These days, people are more apt to buy used books, swap for them, or check them out from the library vs. get the new version straight from Borders — and that’s true of both hard and softcovers.
Do you have questions about softcover vs. hardcover books? Stick them in the comments and I’ll answer!