Hardcover vs. Paperback: Which option is better?

Q: “My publisher has asked if the 5th edition of my book should be published in hard or softcover? The first four editions were all hardcover. Do you know of any reasons to favor one over the other?”

A: Don Collins, the author or co-author of seven school mathematics textbooks, and former Managing Editor of Mathematics at Merrill Publishing:

“The answer to this lies in the royalty agreement. If the agreement is so much for each text sold, then by all means go the paperback route. However, most publishers base their royalty agreements on dollar volume. In this case certainly since paperbacks are cheaper and do not last as long, then more of them will be sold. So one has to consider which is greater: Cheaper price X more volume or Higher price X less volume. The author sort of has to roll the dice. In most case there isn’t a great deal of difference. I don’t think you can go too far wrong either way, but if it were me I would go the paperback route.” [Read more…]