Newsletter: On Book Formats, Prices, and Special Orders

Tuesday Aug 04 2015
by Whodunit

As the world of publishing constantly changes, sometimes even we struggle to keep up. We thought we might provide a quick primer on some terms you see regularly in the newsletter (or hear us talk about), as well as some commentary about prices and special orders.

Hardcovers (aka Hardback or Cloth Bound) are, as the name promises, books with a hardcover which is usually covered with a paper slipcover. They are often the first format a book is released in. The price depends on the size of the book, the number of pages, and where the book is coming from. Expect to pay at least $27.99 (CAD).

Trade Paperbacks (aka Trades or Soft Covers) are again as advertised, a book with a paper or soft cover. In North America, the traditional publishing cycle features a trade paperback as the second edition of a book. Some Canadian publishers have decided to use the trade paperback as the first format for new authors to entice you to give the book a try. Once the author is more established, they will move to hardcover as the first format. They can come in a variety of sizes and their pricing is again based on size, number of pages, and providence. The price range here is massive, starting below $14 and going sometimes as high as $25. In the UK, trade paperbacks are the first format of a books release and often come first in a larger trade paperback followed by a smaller size. UK trade paperbacks, especially the larger size, are often more expensive than North American trade paperbacks. If a trade paperback is older and has moved to Print On Demand (POD), expect to pay more.

Mass Markets are the smallest size of book, and in North America, at one time, mass markets were the third format of release for many titles, but publishers are now cutting back and often the final format for a title is the above trade paperback. At the same time, many cozys are released for the first (and only) time in mass market. Pricing is much more standard, going as low (although less frequently now) as $7.99 and as high as $13.50 for premium mass markets (the slightly taller size, which often has larger print).

In terms of pricing generally, you may have noticed prices are going up. Mass markets are coming in priced around $10.49 CAD, for example. This is because book prices in the US, where most prices are set, are going up as well as an unfavourable Canadian dollar.

Finally, we continue to be thrilled to special order any book (crime fiction or otherwise). That said, books special ordered from our US distributor (which is to say, not available otherwise in Canada) are often more expensive than they once were. The actual price we pay for those titles also varies depending on the exchange rate the day the book is ordered. We will do our best to give you an estimate of the price when you order it (and don’t be afraid to ask if we forget), but please keep in mind the price could be slightly higher (or lower) upon actual receipt.

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