Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Trade Paperback

James Rogers (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:11:44 -0600 (CST) At 09:22 AM 3/11/99 -0700, Greg S. wrote:
>Although one of the authors on this list could probably set us straight,
>my understanding is that the difference is largely one of distribution.
>Mass-market paperbacks may be "stripped" by booksellers. In stripping,
>the bookseller tears off the covers of books which remain unsold for a few
>months. The covers are sent back to the distributor and then the publisher
>for credit. The books themselves are sent to the landfill.
>Trade paperbacks are distributed like hardbacks. Books are
>normally not returned for credit and, when they are, the entire book must
>be returned.
>While most trade paperbacks are larger size, I recall that the Black
>Lizard line was distributed as trade paperbacks. Since the original Black
>Lizard books were the same size as mass market paperbacks, I'd speculate
>there might have been a great deal of frustration on the part of
>booksellers who tore the covers off what appeared to be mass-market
>paperbacks and then asked for credit. Oops!

This is exactly correct. The point was brought forcibly home to me
when, as a youth working in a bookstore, I "stripped" 100 copies of the
Vintage Books _Dain Curse_. It had been released as a tie-in with a Jason
Robards television mini-series and was indistinguishable from all of the
thousands of movie tie-in titles I *should* have been stripping. As a result
of this incident, for a long time I believed that the "trade" moniker sprang
from the fact that one could "trade" them back to the publisher....not true,
but I'm sure that you can see where the idea would have stuck in my mind.

James Michael Rogers
Mundus Vult Decipi

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