Hi Miss Snark -- I hope you don't mind a respectful question regarding the recent NY Times article about Morgan Entrekin and paperback originals. This article suggests that the demand for hardcover books originates not so much with publishers as with agents and authors (which I read as "agents", because I am guessing most authors defer to their representatives on issues like this).
I just posted a rather strongly worded piece on LitKicks calling for the industry to find a better way to price new books.
I thought it might be nice to follow this up by asking an agent if my ideas and arguments are way off base. Thanks for your time, and thanks as always for your excellent site.
Snark on ...
Well, I'm sorry to be the one to break the bad news but the publishing industry is interested in making money. A sad revelation I know, but since you heard it here first, feel free to blame me as the bearer of bad news.
The publishing industry will sell continue to sell hardcovers to libraries and other people willing to shell out the bucks for them as long as they can make money doing so. "It's not affordable for me" is close to irrelevant in their calculations.
Yes, I push for hardcover editions cause it's good for library sales, and national reviews. Yes, I like trade paper originals to build genre writers. Howver, for literary fiction, I know my market is librarians who read LJ, Kirkus and PW and will buy a hardcover book, not a guy in Brooklyn thumbing through the inventory at Brownstone Books thinking "do I want to buy this" no matter how nice he is.
The thing you want to rant about is the returns policy. That's 25% of the cost of a new hardcover book. It's absolutely disingenuous for publishers to blame agents and authors for unaffordable hardcovers when they refuse to change this outmoded and insane returns policy.