"If [the ordinary reader] must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet."
- C.S. Lewis, "On Reading Old Books"
Monday, September 27, 2010
Joanne Kaufman writes about paperbacks for the Wall Street Journal, saying many people prefer hardbacks.
The belief that a paperback original, however worthy, will be given short shrift by reviewers tells part of the story. "Critics pay more attention to hardcovers even if they say they don't," said one agent who requested anonymity.Vanity plays a role, an anonymous publisher tells Ms. Kaufman. "In almost every deal I do, the agent tries to get a contractual hardcover commitment even if the book isn't written yet and down the road it might become clear that paperback original is the way to go."