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Buy now, buy later?

Why do publishers cling to the hardcover-first, then-to-trade paper model for so many titles, even ones that appeal to more cash-strapped young consumers? That’s the question Laura Miller poses in her latest New York Times Book Review column. She writes: “Riskier books rely heavily on reviews and other media coverage to attract readers, but the reviews appear when the books are new. By the time the books show up as affordable paperbacks, the spotlight has moved on. As Gary Fisketjon, a vice president and editor at large at Alfred A. Knopf, who was the editor of two of the best-known paperback-original successes — Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney, and The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford — put it in a telephone interview: ‘You’re giving people the option of postponing their decision. All the attention comes when nobody wants it. I don’t see any other business that works that way.'”

Related links:
Laura Miller’s New York Times Book Review piece on formats