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Thread: How long does it take a book to go from hardcover to paperback?

  1. #1

    Question How long does it take a book to go from hardcover to paperback?

    I've been reading a lot of that Salvatore guy's books lately; namely his Drizzt stuff. I think my first book was Sea of Swords. After that, I instantly became hooked. I went back and read all the past book; Legacy of the Drow, Paths of Darkness, and the Icewind Dale Trilogy. I then started the Hunter's Trilogy by getting both the first book, The Thousand Orcs and then the second book, The Lone Drow. Both 300+ pages long. Knocked them out in two weeks.

    Fast forward. My current dilema kicked in when I became up to date with the whole saga. Turns out, I've read all the books except the current one, Two Swords, which only seems to be in hardcover and costs $30 bones! Can you believe it? THIRTY bones!

    I asked my sister, who is a bookworm(she teaches grade school), how long it takes for a book to go from hardcover to paperback so I can get it for $7.99. You see, I'm not really a bookworm and never really liked reading until started reading about Drizzt. I've never tried to buy a book that was just released so you must understand my shock when she replied in an e-mail "ONE YEAR".

    So, does it REALLY take an entire year for a hardcover book to go to paperback?

    I mean, that's craziness. I thought hardcover versions of books were for those hardcore book collectors who wanted a little something extra to show off on their bookshelf. I had no idea a book is actually released in hardcover FIRST, and THEN released in paperback. But really take an entire year?!

  2. Yeah, standard time is usually 8 months to a year.

    Hardcover book prices suck a nut. But the good effect of that is that no one buys them, so you if can find a discounter or browse the bargain tables, any mid-to-high profile HC book can be pretty easily found for cheaper than the paperback once it comes out, sometimes a few months before if its success was particualarly fleeting.

    Of course, the books you're inquiring about, and fantasy books in general, have a pretty reliable fanbase, so they usually won't overproduce quite as grossly by overestimating potential, like more mainstream fiction tends to do often.
    Last edited by Bacon McShig; 25 Nov 2004 at 02:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Bah! Looks like I'll have to sign up for one of those preferred reader's cards. Ah' well.

  4. Uhh... Christmas gift?

  5. I was a core tester on Dungeons and Dragons: Demon Stone for XBOX.

    I now hate Drizzt and everything in relation to this D&D universe.

    PS: Never play that game.
    Last edited by Sl1p; 25 Nov 2004 at 02:26 AM.
    Play Guitar Hero //

  6. From what I'm told at work (Borders), the industry measures them by hardcover sales... so the time for a million seller book to go to paperback is about one year to one and half years (extreme case, the DaVinci code might be reaching for 2 years before a paperback is issued because its sold over 5 million). If a book sells around 100,000 copies hardcover, it usually takes 5-6 months or sometimes even less (also depends on genre, fiction books have longer turnaround times, non-fictions have relatively shorter ones). A fiction book that sells around 250,000 copies will probably be around 8 months but probably under a year somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon McShig
    Yeah, standard time is usually 8 months to a year.

    Hardcover book prices suck a nut. But the good effect of that is that no one buys them, so you if can find a discounter or browse the bargain tables, any mid-to-high profile HC book can be pretty easily found for cheaper than the paperback once it comes out, sometimes a few months before if its success was particualarly fleeting.
    EH... you have a point but I don't know about people not buying hardback books - They do, I see it with my own eyes at work. Case in point... the last Harry Potter book, when it came out it priced at a hefty $29.99, very very expensive for a simple novel, but it sold what over a million nationwide in the first 24 hours! People had already heard before hand that the paperback wouldn't come out until a year and a half from then so they could not wait and splurged... I worked that midnight sale, some people even bought 3-4 copies, one for each household member - ridiculous. DaVinci Code, same deal - the publisher tells retailers that the ETA on the paperback of that book is 4th quarter 2006 (long fricken wait), we have to tell that to customers (even though we're sure it'll be out before then, but publishers and retailers work cooperatively to extend a hardback's shelf life) and they always just shrug and grab a copy of the hardback and unleash the wallet.

    The advantage is this though if you hold out for the paperback release. When the paperbacks come out, if a hardcover had been mass produced you will see it fall to like 7.99 on the bargain table (essentially a liquidation of stock price) - so you get a 30 dollar hardback for the price of breakfast at dennys - not bad at all...I got some Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin hardbacks for dirt cheap that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vieo
    I mean, that's craziness. I thought hardcover versions of books were for those hardcore book collectors who wanted a little something extra to show off on their bookshelf. I had no idea a book is actually released in hardcover FIRST, and THEN released in paperback. But really take an entire year?!
    Thats the business, its how publishers and retailers make their bones *shrugs*, just wait and read a different paperback series in the meantime, or pull a Tracer and read the hardback in the store - haha. Better yet, try to befriend a parttime Borders employee so they'll buy the book for you with a 33% discount. Holla!
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  7. You ever heard of a library?

    Also, R.A. Salvatore sucks.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by station82o
    EH... you have a point but I don't know about people not buying hardback books - They do, I see it with my own eyes at work. Case in point... the last Harry Potter book, when it came out it priced at a hefty $29.99, very very expensive for a simple novel, but it sold what over a million nationwide in the first 24 hours! People had already heard before hand that the paperback wouldn't come out until a year and a half from then so they could not wait and splurged... I worked that midnight sale, some people even bought 3-4 copies, one for each household member - ridiculous. DaVinci Code, same deal - the publisher tells retailers that the ETA on the paperback of that book is 4th quarter 2006 (long fricken wait), we have to tell that to customers (even though we're sure it'll be out before then, but publishers and retailers work cooperatively to extend a hardback's shelf life) and they always just shrug and grab a copy of the hardback and unleash the wallet.
    Yes, sales are consistent on hardcover books like HP and the DaVinci Code... and what percentage of HC books are hits of that caliber? 0.000001?

    For the most part, people who are already fans of an author will buy a HC as soon as it comes out, and it's on big sale (~30% off), and that price may also net a handful of impulse buys, but when it goes back to regular price, that shit might as well be kindling. It won't be anywhere near a register until it's on the bargain tables. To add insult to injury, by the time the MMPB comes out, most of the hype has died down (especially considering how long it takes to go from HC to PB) and sales are okay, not great. This is a retarded business model. HC MSRPs need to come down to a more reasonable range, PBs need to come out sooner, or both. Books cost little to produce and have a high profit margin, so if they're not selling well as a whole (which they're not), there's really no justification for not lowering the $25 - $30 standard.

  9. I could have sworn Davinci Code was in paperback.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Rumpy
    I could have sworn Davinci Code was in paperback.
    It is, my parents bought it two weeks ago.

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