Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Boswell Detective Hour--Investigating Another J.K. Rowling Mystery.

In all the hubbub about The Cuckoo's Calling, there's been an interesting detail that hasn't been talked about very much.And why is nobody talking about it? Well, honestly I think it's because nobody really cares. That said, we at Boswell find it fascinating.

The paperback edition of The Casual Vacancy, while sporting a different cover, is most likely a paperback rebind of the hardcover edition.

While once a frequent occurrence (at least one of my old time reps used to point these out to me as I bought the frontlist), I think nowadays this is a rarer thing. Even in books with a lot of hardcovers left over, the hardcovers are remaindered or pulped, and a completely new paperback is created.

Here are some hints as to why we think Rowling's book is a rebind.

1. There's an endpaper in the same rust color as the hardcover.
2. The Library of Congress page does not list the paperback edition. We looked at several other titles and they all had updated copyright or printing info.
3. The typeface is the same size. More on that later.

There's really only one actual downside to this. The inner margin is a little small. I think regarding every other factor, this is a complete win for paperback readers. And regarding the margin, I've seen smaller margins on originals from time to time.

The bonuses:
1. The typeface is the same size. Most of the time the paperback typeface, even for trade titles (as opposed to rack sized mass markets) are smaller.
2. The paper quality is almost undoubtedly better
3. I'm not expert, but I suspect that it is ecologically better to rebind than to pulp and recreate.

I guess there's one psychological downside. It implies that the sales were disappointing enough that copies were left over.

So in one sense, I feel a bit guilty for calling this out, but in another, I think it's a really great revival of an old practice. Or maybe it's a policy that never went away amongst large publishers and I wasn't aware of it. Have you discovered paperback rebinds? Let us know about them in the comments area.

No comments: