Doubleday

John Gapper

The US publishing business is in turmoil, driven by the rise of e-books and the decline of print. It has now reached a turning point with e-book revenues overtaking those of adult hardbacks.

The hardback is under severe pressure globally – UK publishers  increasingly publish “trade paperbacks” initially rather than hardbacks. The hardback survives in the US but its future as a mass product looks dim.

In some ways, that is a shame. I am reading The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan in the US hardback, which is an object of beauty. The Knopf hardcover is finely bound, has an embossed cover of golden suns and moons, and is edged in blood-red.

That said, the hardback list price is $25.95, compared with $12.99 for the more prosaic black and white Kindle version. The margins for Knopf’s parent Random House* on the Kindle edition are higher, while the reader pays half-price.