Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eulogy for Mass Market Paperbacks

First of all, let's celebrate the new threaded comments feature and wave bye-bye to IntenseDebate. Woo!

Now that that's done, let's wave an even happier good-bye to something else. Mass Market Paperback sales are on the decline. The New York Times chalks this up to less impulse buying and more ebook sales--that is to say, many people who would buy Mass Market now by ebook.

In completing my reading list for YA Realism, I've encountered a lot of Mass Market books from the local library, a format which I hadn't encountered in a long time. Most of them have incredibly cramped text, yellowing pages and fraying spines. Maybe this is a sign that a book has been well-travelled, but it also makes it difficult to read and immediately (if unfairly) turns me off of the book.

I have no qualms about this disappearance. I'd much prefer to have an ebook where I can pay the same $6 price, enlarge the text and not feel like the book is about to slam shut from size or fall apart every time I turn a page. I want my hardcopy books to be fit for display, a collection of sorts. I think the disappearance of Mass Market will provide ebooks a niche in the market that won't require the disappearance of other types of print books, and I think it's a perfect compromise.

What about you? Do you read Mass Market Paperbacks?


  1. I don't like them! I never buy them if I can help it.

  2. @Jessica LoveI definitely don't buy them anymore. I wish libraries weren't full of them

  3. I love mass market paperbacks. I have a lot of my favorite books in this format, many of them from used bookstores or sales at Borders, where I got them for a dollar or two. Hardbacks just take up so much more space, and aren't of uniform size, which bothers me.

    Also, while I love Kindle and my eBooks, there's something really special to me about actual, tangible, books. I'm trying to become less attached, because I really can't stand carrying huge boxes of books every time I move, but there it is. I love them anyway.