February 24, 2013

Another Delayed Dance

Those who read the Ice and Fire backs in paperback only have a little bit longer to wait for Book five, A Dance With Dragons...

This is speaking in terms of the North American / Bantam publishing of the series, but if you are holding out on getting A Dance With Dragons in paperback, you'll have longer to wait. The novel debuted in hardcover (and ebook, but ebook doesn't 'affect' a book getting published in paperback) in July of 2011. The paperback formats were due to follow in August of 2012. Due to the success of the book selling really really well, the booksellers could still make money off it, so they getting ordering more and more copies. Then the paperback formats got pushed to March of this year. Well, according to George Martin when asked about this on his blog, he said that it was like an 'Energizer Bunny'. Checking the release dates, some sites have it listed as March still, while others have a listing of October 29. So the paperbacks have been delayed again. Here are his words from a comment on his blog:

Bantam, like all major publishers, does not sell directly to the readers, but rather to bookstores. We want to please the booksellers, especially the 600 pound gorillas like B&N and Amazon who buy hundreds of thousands of copies. And B&N and Amazon keep asking us to hold up the mass market, since the hardcover is still selling so strongly. (A "problem" most writers would kill to have).

Release of a mass market paperback tends to drive a spike through hardcover sales, so generally speaking a publisher wants to wait until the hardback has run its course before bringing out the cheaper edition. In this case, however, DANCE is behaving like the Energizer Bunny, so...

I greatly enjoy reading George Martin's Ice and Fire series, and I have all five books so far in hardcover; as I enjoy them so much, I want them to look nice, and I'll hold onto them for years and years to come, and will definitely read them over and again. Some of my favourite books, basically. But I can understand the pain of waiting for a book in particular format, or getting all the books in a series to 'match'. 

So if you're waiting for Book Five in paperback, do not yield and buy the hardcover, especially if you have the other four in paperback, and care about things matching. Enough of a decline in sales will lead to the paperback release. If you just want to read the darn thing to see what happens next, if you have an ereader, you know what to do. There are also libraries (maybe?), not to mention you may know someone who has a copy. No, I'm not trying to bring down sales of one of my favourite authors or series (as those waiting will buy in paperback...right?), but if you are waiting to buy the paperback, just...hold off for a bit longer, and don't buy the hardcover. I'm sure when the paperbacks (finally) come out, they will do well in selling that particular format.    

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