En Masse

So, with one thing or another, this question has come up, and I thought I’d answer it here so I could refer people back to it.
Some of you may know that Bonfires and Crocus aren’t just available in trade paperback– the large-sized, limited batch paperbacks that are traditional for independent publishers. They were made available in mass market paperback as well– the preferred format of grocery stores, Target, Wall-Mart and just about any convenience store out there–and that was super exciting for me.  
Also exciting is the fact that Beneath the Stain will be released in mass market paperback, as will Paint it Black, the sequel, when it comes out on August 13th. 
Woohoo! Mass market paperback! Sweet!
I mean I’m excited–but much of the gay romance community is non-plussed. The majority of us read on an electronic device–our computer, our phone, our kindle. Most of us only buy the paperback copy of books we really love. Like, REALLY love. 
Why is mass market paperback something a publisher would invest in–much less risk capitol for? What’s the big deal with mass market?

Discovery– 90% of discovery STILL happens in a bookstore or library, and since bookstores are more likely to buy the mass markets (and so, for that matter, are libraries on a budget) people are more able to discover a new author to buy if we’re available in that format.
Volume sales– mass market paperbacks sell en masse– more books in people’s hands = more return customers.
Accessibility– I know it’s hard to believe because we’re communicating on a computer and so much of of this community’s communication via electronic means but the majority of book readers are still the old-fashioned kind. Why not tap that market? With the lower price and smaller size, this format gives more people the opportunity to own books they didn’t used to be able to buy.
Mainstream sensibility– Just a romance novel here, nothing to see folks. Well, yes, a whole ten years ago people called this porn, but it can’t be if it’s in this format that all the other books are in, right? Seriously–if I’d given a kid a mass market paperback of Keeping Promise Rock ten years ago, nobody would have thought twice about it. There is something about a pulpy mass market paperback that just screams “absolutely average”–and why shouldn’t this genre be available in a readily reproducible, easily accessible format. Love is love, right?
Stability– We have learned not to put all our eggs in one basket–remember ARe? They went out of business and a lot of us lost money. Amazon LOOKS like a juggernaut that cannot die–but that’s dangerous too. They have some of their authors over a barrel–and they’re a company that is well known for making its fortune on the backs of the VENDOR and not the CUSTOMER. If Kindle Unlimited goes out of business or changes their terms even a little, a whole lot of people are going to be hurting. A company would go into mass market–and go to considerable trouble to do so–because this format has sold well and consistently for a long time, in places OTHER than Amazon. Having books available in this format protects us from being completely dependent on one format and one distributor, because we’ve all seen that end badly. 
Marketability–putting a book into someone’s hand is one of the surest ways of getting them to buy it. I’ve seen it at conventions on the vendor floor repeatedly. It’s easier to put a book in someone’s hand when it’s cost-effective and accessible. These books are easier to market–they’re easier to give away, they’re easier to sell. More vendors sell them at conventions than deal in the trade paperbacks. They’re just easier–and people buy easy. We want to make it easy for them to buy US.

ETA–I almost forgot AFFORDABILITY– for those who love paperbacks as opposed to electronic formats–or who are buying from an international market–the mass market paperback is much less expensive!

I’m sure there are more reasons– these are just the ones that sank into my thick, rather market resistant skull. But this IS a big deal–for my company, for my genre, for the writers who have books out in this format. What does it mean for you?
Well, not much if you’re a faithful consumer of the electronic format the day it comes out. But it does mean that your friend who goes, “Oh, I don’t have an e-reader” is fair game. “Oh, really? Here’s a paperback. Portable right?”  It means someone who still dismisses e-books on general principle has no leg to stand on. It means you can put our books in your friend’s hands with less expense and more ease. 
It means there’s one more way to read your favorite writers–and that’s got to be a good thing. 

0 thoughts on “En Masse”

  1. Jay Hogan says:

    Really good thanks Amy

  2. CourtneyB says:

    Wow, this was fascinating. Thanks for the insight!

  3. More visibility, more readers. More readers, more income for the writer, the publishing house, agents… nothing wrong with that. Thanks for a really good blog.

  4. Unknown says:

    I like MMP's because they can be double stacked in my bookcases (specially designed to do so!).
    Totally love that your books are going this way (even though I have a number of your DSP trade ones too).

  5. Unknown says:

    I like MMP's because they can be double stacked in my bookcases (specially designed to do so!).
    Totally love that your books are going this way (even though I have a number of your DSP trade ones too).

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