Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Hardcovers

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hardcovers

    Just a question because I'm a curious soul.

    How come you folks over in England can get most books in hardcover while over here we're stuck with paperback only for a lot of them? Searching to replace some of my beat up or just favorite pb books and looking for HC editions but it seems a lot of them just don't come in American hard cover editions though they seem to be available in hardcover on the other side of the Atlantic. Not that I have a problem with British editions but the shipping fees can get a bit heavy and was wondering if hardcovers just sell better over there or something to cause this phenomenon? Case in point, the Covert One series. Newest book is coming out in hc over here but previous ones have all been pb, either regular or trade issue yet when searching for hc editions I find that they were done in hc over in Britain. It's got me wondering and since we're all readers on this site and a great many of you on the opposite shore I figured I might get an answer here. Maybe even Mike, with his knowledge of the industry, might be able to assuage my curiousity.

    herb
    herb

    Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

    http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


    http://www.wolfshead.net/books

  • #2
    I would suspect that it is down to cost and inbuilt tradition Usually, it was down to formats - you release a cased book first and then a few months later, you would release a paperback (or limp version, based on initial returns of sales). These returns would give a guide to future sales - you have to remember that historically there were long lead times from start to finish, but in recent years this has all changed.

    Over here in the UK, there use to be very few printing companies that did both Cased and Limp books. So there were higher costs for cased work. Off the top of my head, £400-£500 set up and then £1.00 a book to case for a small run of 1000 to 2000 copies. This is printers' cost, not publishers cost - it use to be said that the a publisher's cost was 5 times production cost as a guide line.

    For example, on limp books
    Cover mount books (should be around 10p)
    A format - 30p
    B format - 40p
    C or Demy format 60p
    Royal - 234 x 216 - 70p

    Then add a case cost of maybe a £1.00 to the above. This will depend on paper, cover processes e.g. 4 process colour and a varnish basic, quantities, etc. For production purposes, you would print the same text, but bind the same number of books, but not put a limp cover on the cased copies. These would then go through the casing in line later. This would be called a split bind and save an extra binding make ready cost. Binding is a labour intensive and space consuming activity.

    You also have the perception that a case book is more valuable than a limp book. Probably in the US, you have more cost from postage and transportation, so it becomes easier to just have a small run of cased books especially if you are going to ship from China and fill the space with more limp books. However, this is just a guess on my part. I might ask some publishers if they know.
    Papa was a Rolling Stone......

    Comment


    • #3
      It may sometimes be the case that books that are put out in paperback and sell well in the US are released as hardcovers when they come to be released in the UK. It would be interesting to know whether books that are published simultaneously in both countries are published in the same format or whether your observation holds true for those, as well, Herb.

      Incidentally, I used to belong to The Softback Preview book club, which used to offer what would have been HBs in a softback cover. Great way to get books that would otherwise have cost too much and sometimes never got another print run.
      You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

      -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

      Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

      :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


      "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

      Comment


      • #4
        Gov,

        you could be right about that sales idea, never thought of it that way. I know certain of the older books I looked for were originally pb releases then proved popular enough that a limited hc run was done, mainly for library purposes. Guess maybe that by the time certain books reach the British market they figure it's worth the hc costs but then I guess I'll never figure the industry.

        Still trying to figure out why out of the 9 B5 books I want to read 8 of them have gone through multiple print runs and 1 hasn't. Since it's the last book of a trilogy I would guess the demand for it would have been on a par with the first two yet they have been printed multiple times and it hasn't. Who knows.

        herb
        herb

        Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

        http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


        http://www.wolfshead.net/books

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolfshead View Post
          How come you folks over in England can get most books in hardcover while over here we're stuck with paperback only for a lot of them?
          Bet you wish you hadn't kicked us out in 1776 now, don't you?
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

          Comment


          • #6
            I have got confirmation from a publisher that it is down to cost. The US market (consumer) will not paid more for a cased book, so the publisher have to offer a bigger discount on the book.

            Again, we come up with the marketing of titles and the perception of the market. I wanted to read some Cherie Priest books, I found the first of the Eden books in the Surrey libraries, but I have to buy imports to read the rest or boneshaker. Interestingly, there was an imported copy in Waterstones in Guildford! But it was going to cost more than cent to pence. So I refused to buy at that price.

            The Folio Society over here in the UK, produce excellent copies with a great bindings. http://www.foliosociety.com/

            If for example we wanted to have a high quality book Moorcock - It would cost say £3000 to manufacture around 1000 copies - plus the royalties and publishing costs. So £10 a copy is not an unreasonable cost, but the question is will they sell all of them. As a publisher, you would not want to be left holding any stock.

            Over here in the UK, there are specialist services that change limp books into cased books for the library. Also Cased books were more likely to be thread sewn, rather than perfect or slot bound.

            Dave - Let not go there with the First American Civil War.
            Papa was a Rolling Stone......

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
              Originally posted by Wolfshead View Post
              How come you folks over in England can get most books in hardcover while over here we're stuck with paperback only for a lot of them?
              Bet you wish you hadn't kicked us out in 1776 now, don't you?

              No, not at all!

              Sure, we'd get more hardcovers, but we'd also have to put up with 'The Royals.'

              I don't cotton to 'Royalty!'

              And, actually, I like paperbacks better.
              Madness is always the best armor against Reality

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pebble View Post
                If for example we wanted to have a high quality book Moorcock - It would cost say £3000 to manufacture around 1000 copies - plus the royalties and publishing costs. So £10 a copy is not an unreasonable cost, but the question is will they sell all of them. As a publisher, you would not want to be left holding any stock
                You're talking about a high quality hardcover book in the above scenario, yes? If so, then I agree that £10 isn't an unreasonable cost and I would buy at that price point, but it seems to me that many paperbacks these days are close to nudging the £10 barrier and I just don't believe they're worth it at that price so I increasingly end up leaving them in the shop.

                (I assume the unspoken meaning of your last line is that publishers then 'inflate' the price to at least £20 in order to protect their bottom line but with the consequence that retailers can then offer 50%+ discounts on the shelf? Certainly I can't remember the last time I saw a hc book with a £10 RRP. )
                _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the information Pebbles. Over here we have Eaton Press that seems to be similar to the Folio Society. They take certain books and make specialty editions of them in gilt edged, leather bound format. I take advantage of them once in awhile when I want a good copy of a book that I know I'll never be able to afford the 1st/1st of, something such as Dune where a first runs about 10K. In fact they are now offering the Lensmen series which I am considering seeing as my pb copies of such are on their second to last legs. Not cheap however as they usually run $40-75 per book. As a collector tho I really prefer having the original editions when I can.

                  Another problem with special editions such as these is that you can't always count on a series being completely done as such. I own various special editions of books that are kind of hanging in space as it were. I picked up the Archival Press copy of Mike's Vanishing Tower awhile back. It's funny because I saw it in a store during my college days and fell in love with it as I was reading the Elric books at the time but couldn't afford it. 20 years later I found that the store was still in existance, wonder of the Internet, and that they still had that book, same copy, same price. I bought it because of that old desire and just because I could. Thing is, of the original Elric books from those days that is the only one that Archival seems to have done so, while satisfied with my purchase, as a collector I'm disappointed that I don't have the other books that go with it in the same type of binding. Same thing with the Potter books. They released the first two in special edition leather then never did it with the others tho they did do other styles of special editions. It's funny because I picked up a number of those Potter specials at a discounted price and wound up selling them for more than face value once the 5th book came out. In fact could have sold a number more if I could have gotten them.

                  As a collector I'm kind of anal about some things. I especially like to have all the books to a series that I enjoy, hopefully in firsts. Mike especially gives me fits. Most authors usually write their book, have it printed and there it ends. Oh, there may be some revisions and lots of printings but that's minor, there is usually a well defined first edition, first printing. Mike, in addition to being so prolific is also so damned popular that there are always new versions and collections of his work on the shelves. I guess one could always go back to the root firsts but he adapts and expands his sagas so that you couldn't feel it was complete. To tell the truth he drives me crazy. I probably have more duplicate copies of his stories in one way or another than I have any other author. In fact I even bought a UK first of The Coming of Chaos by accident so now have to decide whether to sell or ntrade it or go for the rest of the UK versions to complete the set. Like I said, anal.

                  BTW David, don't look at me, I'm only second generation <G>.

                  herb
                  herb

                  Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

                  http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


                  http://www.wolfshead.net/books

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=David Mosley;189658]
                    Originally posted by Pebble View Post
                    You're talking about a high quality hardcover book in the above scenario, yes? If so, then I agree that £10 isn't an unreasonable cost and I would buy at that price point, but it seems to me that many paperbacks these days are close to nudging the £10 barrier and I just don't believe they're worth it at that price so I increasingly end up leaving them in the shop.

                    (I assume the unspoken meaning of your last line is that publishers then 'inflate' the price to at least £20 in order to protect their bottom line but with the consequence that retailers can then offer 50%+ discounts on the shelf? Certainly I can't remember the last time I saw a hc book with a £10 RRP. )
                    UK books were usually priced on there formats. Not sure if I have gone through this before, but paper backs - Recommended Retail Price in the shops.

                    A = £6.99
                    B = £7.99
                    C or Demy or 216 x 135/8 = £8.99
                    Royal = £9.99

                    However, this was based on the Net Book Agreement and therefore kept prices high and allowed publishers to indulge in printing books that they thought might do well. So it was a way of supporting new talent, but it was a sort of cartel as well.

                    However, this NBA was scrapped, so publisher could offer better discounts. Leading off course to having more mega book deals for well known authors as they would sell and bring in revenue. So you got consolidated and a limiting of choice in some ways as publishers would only want to publish 'known' sellers. Obliviously, some genres would sell and young writers get established by word of mouth. Alexander MacCall Smith is a classic example here as my company was printing 5,000 copies every month of the early Ladies Detective Agency before he went to Warners. Again like footballers working their way up through the lower divisions to play in the first division.

                    Back to pricing - You have to remember that the books in the shop are marked up by 100% e.g.

                    A format = £6.00 selling
                    Book seller cost to buy = £3.00 (but this is flexible as Smiths could say we will take this book at £2.50)
                    The publisher might sell his book for £3.00, but it would be made up as
                    £1 profit + cost £2.00 (covering the overheads, royalties, book production, distribution, publishing staff and RETURNS to be written about below) - So he could make more profit to hold out for £3.00, but Smith have a large footfall, so the publisher would sell more books and therefore more profit.

                    This is rather simplistic, but I would have thought a good starting point. Of course, the publisher is taking a gamble as with the first Jordan autobiography - every one laugh when it was announced, but it sold and sold in hardback. We printed nearly 1/2 million cased books in under 4 months, besides our other titles. Probably aiding her path to celebritydom.

                    The price of a case book would be nearly double the price of a limp book. So the example is with Jordan. It's retail price would be £18.00 a copy! But because they don't need to sell it at that price because there is no NBA, the retailer can offer a reduction of whatever amount they were prepared to give. This sort of promoting, IMHO, will destroy the value of your product, but hey the marketing manager has moved on to another company with a better job because they made their last company lots of profit. I shall be watching Cadbury's future progression with interest.

                    However the cost of the cased book is not that greater e.g.£1.00 more therefore you publisher cost is £3.00 plus profit. There is undoubtly more space required for shelves and storage. But the perception is that a case book is better, yet it is still printed pages wrapped up in a case rather than a cover.

                    Returns - some books are not going to sell however well they are promoted or price dropped. These books are returned to the publisher to get rid off or they can be sold to another book seller, whose job is to sell these books and it they don't then get rid of them.

                    Wolfshead - I think the answer to your problem , is to find a decent printed edition and then a good book binder. Get them to binding the books as you want and maybe even slip cases, which would allow you to get a consistent set of editions.

                    Deep Fixer - Have you read the Golden Bough? At least, we didn't have the Kennedys.
                    Papa was a Rolling Stone......

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pebble View Post
                      Deep Fixer - Have you read the Golden Bough? At least, we didn't have the Kennedys.
                      No, I haven't read that.

                      And, I don't believe in The Kennedys, either.

                      Those idiots that say, "Oohh, The Kennedys are American Royalty"

                      YOUR Royalty, not mine!!

                      The way They're going, we wont have The Kennedys much longer, anyway.
                      Last edited by DeepFixer; 02-06-2010, 04:44 AM. Reason: too early to spell properly!!
                      Madness is always the best armor against Reality

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with you Deep. Never understood why we prattle on and on about our democratic traditions but when it comes right down to it the masses always seem to elect the hand picked successors of whoever held the office before, usually the son of said person, or, if a death occurs while they are in office, they elect the spouse to fill the shoes. Might as well have a hereditary ruling class.

                        herb
                        herb

                        Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

                        http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


                        http://www.wolfshead.net/books

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolfshead View Post
                          I agree with you Deep. Never understood why we prattle on and on about our democratic traditions but when it comes right down to it the masses always seem to elect the hand picked successors of whoever held the office before, usually the son of said person, or, if a death occurs while they are in office, they elect the spouse to fill the shoes. Might as well have a hereditary ruling class.

                          herb
                          Yep, we gettng over here where a sons and daughters are being parachuted into safe parliamentary seats or have the same one as their parent. Rather ironical of Anthony Wedgewood Benn with Hilary (his son). although elected you had the hereditary principle at work.

                          Of course, whereas the Kennedy's failed to build a lasting dynasty. The Bushes aren't doing to bad at it. Perhaps this should be left to another thread.

                          Hoepfully, Wolfshead, you feel your question about cased books have been answered.
                          Papa was a Rolling Stone......

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Pebble: A format = £6.00 selling
                            Book seller cost to buy = £3.00 (but this is flexible as Smiths could say we will take this book at £2.50)
                            The publisher might sell his book for £3.00, but it would be made up as
                            £1 profit + cost £2.00 (covering the overheads, royalties, book production, distribution, publishing staff and RETURNS to be written about below) - So he could make more profit to hold out for £3.00, but Smith have a large footfall, so the publisher would sell more books and therefore more profit.
                            That's very simplistic but doesn't take into account the distributor. As a small press publisher we make 22p from each £6.99 paperback sold (author gets 76.5p and that's a generous return) because the distributor takes 57.5% of the cover price, and that's not taking into account returns. We make a reasonable amount through Amazon and direct from the website - and if we're lucky direct to shops.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Agreed, Lucifal, but I need some figures to illustrate the point.

                              Do you sell your book on a no returns policy? I was never sure how this was done. When I was watching one of the Alan Partridge's episodes than had the ultimate return for re-pulping.

                              I sat on the other side of the desk working for a book printer, but had to work out a lot of publishers' business model from what they asked for.
                              Papa was a Rolling Stone......

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X