September 1-15, 2005 Edition

Taller Mass-Market

Format Improves

Book Sales

NEW YORK, NY/8/20/05—Publishers struggling with declining sales have begun offering some of their leading authors’ work in a newly-sized paperback format, featuring bigger type and more space between lines. Last year consumers bought 535 million mass-market paperbacks, more than any other type of book. But that number has dropped by 11 percent in the last five years, while sales of all books have declined only 7 percent.

Both Penguin Group USA and Simon & Schuster have introduced a new “taller” larger mass-market format. A New York Times article August 19, quoted industry experts as saying the decline is due to the fact that as the customer base ages, their eyesight is getting worse and books are getting harder to read.

The new format is the same width as the original mass-market paperback, enabling booksellers to display the newly-formatted books in the same racks as before. The cover prize of the new books will be $9.99, about $2 to $3 higher than traditional paperbacks but less than the $14 price of a digest-size book, according to The Times article.

Readers seem to be responding well. Larger-edition paperbacks of six authors have made it onto the New York Times paperback best-seller list since last month, when they started appearing regularly in stores, The Times said. Read the full story on the New York Times web site.