Cover to Cover #387A: Listener Feedback

Voicemail: Dan from Spokane wonders if e-ink might eventually be replaced by color displays or not; Lejon from Chandler asks if Summer has heard of or used the digital recording pen to continue to be able to write longhand but not worry about time-consuming transcription later; Shevaun from NJ wonders why publishers are experimenting with tall and narrow paperbacks; Mari from Michigan wants to know if an author's voice is typically tied to the subject of the story or not; Sean from Edwards expands non his disappointment with the lack of professionalism in the Writers Exchange commentary he received; Allison from LA mentions the romance genre's expansion and embrace of e-books and podcasts happened earlier than other genres, and would love to see an SF/F house do the same for SF/F products;

Stackpole mentions how the Romance Writers of America has decertified Harlequin as a reputable imprint after they made their agreement to partner with a vanity press where writers can pay to have their work published, and the Mystery Writers of America quickly followed suit by making Harlequin published books ineligible for Edgar Awards, and SFWA declared them ineligible for qualifying towards SFWA membership, and ineligible for Nebula Awards... see PubRants, MWA and SWFA (Writer Beware comments, and John Scalzi weighs in)

Voicemail, continued: Tim Low reminds us that Darcy had already done a review of the first book in "The Youngest Templar" series; Shevaun in NJ admits she hasn't read any steampunk, but finds the premise of Boneshaker interesting and asks for a good place to start with the genre;

Stackpole mentions that Jeff and Ann Vandermeer have a steampunk anthology out there, and that might be a good place to start.

What do you think about submitting writing related questions to "Cover to Cover"? What do you think about having authors read chapters as part of the show? Call in or email in with your thoughts!

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

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  1. regarding the narrow and tall paperbacks, I came across Jim Butcher's Small Favor in that format, and I actually decided not to buy it. If they don't put out a regular sized mmpb of it eventually, I'll go find a copy of the hardcover. I'd rather have the hardcover messing up my bookshelf symmetry than that oddball size!

    I prefer the standard trade pb size and the mmpb size, but not a hybrid of the two. I don't know why they are using that size... it doesn't seem to save bookstore shelf space; in fact, in some Borders I've been in, they'd have to adjust the shelf heights to accomodate a lot of those, resulting in fewer shelves per bookcase, I'd imagine.

  2. I recently found that as well. I thought, hmmm, new book? Was short but rather good I thought.


  3. Summer: That way lies madness. Trust me. I had to give up on bookshelf symmetry YEARS ago.

  4. This was in the New York Times back in August 12, 2005:
    Books, Not Tales, Get Taller Before Baby Boomers' Eyes, By EDWARD WYATT

    Publishers are issuing new paperbacks in a bigger size for baby boomers who are finding it harder to read small type.

  5. I believe that the reason behind the "taller paperbacks" is simple--a higher price. A standard paperpack generally runs $7.99 retail...most of the "tall paperbacks" run $9.95 retail.

    I do suspect it was just a shameless marketing ploy to sneak a stealth price increase into the retail chain.

    Rather than bumping up "standard paperback" pricing and enduring the backlash, they created an "almost trade paperback" format, charging a higher price, and never release a standard paperback format at the standard lower price.

    By contrast (warning: shameless plug), my ebooks are just $1-2, simple HTML files you can read on almost any device and DRM-free so you can print, backup, and format shift as you desire.

    Bill Smith
    Author of the Outlaw Galaxy series and Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels.

    • Mark: I thought that's what the large type books were for! The print in this new hybrid format didn't seem to be larger, but I wasn't checking closely. I will have to go back and compare.

      Bill: I am not the only one willing to pay the $12.95-$14.95 for a regular trade paperback version, especially given that the tall paperback's a higher price than the mass market version.

      Arkle: I don't need complete bookshelf symmetry... just series symmetry. That really shouldn't be too much to ask for. I remember being bummed that I couldn't replace my original silver Elric series after they went missing, because at the time the entire series hadn't been reprinted in the newer white format. I wasn't about to have 3 silver ones and 3 white ones... that would have been crazy-making for me. So I had to wait another year before the entire series was out in the white covers.

  6. I agree, this might have been spun as an alternative to large type books for a specific demographic but in reality it has become what Bill suggested, a price increase. It will be interesting to see how this trend will play out.