The New York Times used Elliott Bay Book Company's new release table to illustrate yesterday's story about how publishers are releasing paperbacks very quickly after hardcover release dates, and they quoted Elliott Bay owner Peter Aaron on why this is a good thing. It's an interesting story:
This week included the trade paperback release of “Swamplandia!,” a debut novel by Karen Russell, five months after it was first published in hardcover in February.
“The Tiger’s Wife,” the much-praised literary novel by Téa Obreht, which came out in hardcover to rave reviews in March, will be followed by the paperback in October, seven months later.
But once again, the publishing industry is moving too slowly. Here's what they need to do: Publish all their books immediately in a cheap paperback format. At the same time, they should produce small batches of beautiful hardcover editions of the books for collectors and book-as-object enthusiasts (and it would be nice if those hardcover editions were available only in bookstores). This is where the publishing industry is going to go eventually; if they want to staunch the wound that e-books are have made on print sales, they should do this as soon as possible.