Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gilded Covers

In a front page article, the New York Times describes how publishers have been putting more and more effort into the design of a hardcover books, to help them compete with e-books.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't dive into the economics, and I'm not sure if this approach makes sense for publishers.  In general, the same publisher will hold both the hardcover rights and the electronic rights to a new release. Once production costs are taken into account, it may well be more profitable for publishers to push readers toward the e-book format.

In any case, the efforts to keep printed book alive are working, for now.  According to the article, the English translation of Murakami's 1Q84 has sold 95,000 copies in hardcover, compared to 28,000 in e-book.  Other recent books featured in the article include:

  • 11/22/63 (Stephen King)
  • Decoded (Jay-Z)
  • The Sense of An Ending (Julian Barnes)
Although the article doesn't mention it, I suspect that many hardcover books are given as gifts.  While many people buy e-books for their own consumption, they are unlikely to give e-books as gifts.  And of course, a beautiful book makes a better gift.

Are there books that you are planning to give -- or that you want -- this holiday season?

Related posts:
1Q84: Hardcover

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