I went to the book store for the ebook help group meeting we have each month and noticed some significant changes. The most obvious was the huge areas of discounted books. E books have been hurting paper publishing for a while, but to see the huge areas of books discounted for sale was very telling.
As I always do when we meet in the bookstore, I stopped by the romance section and picked up some books. I always buy something when I meet somewhere. I consider it "paying the rent" for the meeting.
When I got home I opened my bag of goodies and sat down to read. That was when I got a major shock. Harlequinn, the biggest most stable of the romance book companies changed their books! I picked up the Special Editions for this month. Number 2197 and 2198 were normal, but book 2201 "The CEO's Unexpected Proposal" By Karen Rose Smith was different. The cover was half as thick, the pages felt like newsprint paper it was so thin. After decades the same, the solid romance book series felt flimsy.
The writing was good as always for Karen Rose Smith, but the book felt wrong. The smell and the visual input was and is the same. The book even weighs nearly the same, only 2 ounces less than the previous. (yes, I am crazy enough to have measured that) But the book feel different. It just does not feel right. The cover is so thin it curled just by my opening the book. the pages turn differently since they are so thin. the whole experience is different.
I know Harlequinn has been doing things differently, but the differences have been subtle. Although I do not know if it si policy or not, I have noticed they have stopped using anyone but their established writers with a guaranteed fan base. I do not think I have read any Harlequinn books form a new writer in a couple years. Business wise it makes sense, but it does hurt all of us as writers when we can not get into the good old girls network.
Even so, the feel of a book is one of the few sales features it has over ebooks. If we are losing that, we may lose the paperbacks altogether. I hope that does not happen. I really truly do like turning real pages and reading a book with a real physical feel at times.