Another article in the Times how eBooks have affected the Hardcover/Paperback Release Schedule

July 27th, 2011

Following an article last week about the Columbia Publishing Course teaching aspiring book publishers how to work with ebooks (blogged here), the Times has another piece about how paperback publishers have increased their pace to keep up with ebook sales.

It used to be like clockwork in the book business: first the hardcover edition was released, then, about one year later, the paperback.

But in an industry that has been upended by the growth of e-books, publishers are moving against convention by pushing paperbacks into publication earlier than usual, sometimes less than six months after they appeared in hardcover.

E-books have made price an issue for publishers who are weighing the timing of a paperback. While there is often a huge gap between the cost of a new hardcover (say, $25) and its e-book edition ($13), paperbacks and e-books tend to be within a few dollars of each other, leaving many publishers to wonder if cost-conscious shoppers are reading e-books right away rather than waiting for the paperback.

“I really do think that e-books are part of the reason for this trend of hurrying up that paperback,” said Carrie Kania, the publisher of Harper Perennial and It Books. “You don’t have to wait for a lower-priced version of that book now. I think we need to move more quickly in general.”

The last gasps of hope. There’s a reason Borders went the way of the dodo. The Times certainly has taken note of eBooks.