I went to Dymock’s today – it was time for another book to read. Now, I must be honest, I am a bit of a bibliophile and I do love the smell and the feel of a new book almost as much as I love the smell and the feel of a very old book. I also know that no matter how hard Google or Kindle tries, they just will not be able to provide the same smell and feeling that you get from a book.

Of course, books may be seen as being environmentally unfriendly being as they are made from trees and I am not going to argue that case here.

In to Dymock’s I went and started cruising the fiction and new release shelves looking for something to read. After looking at several favourite authors, I started to look for an author that I had not read before and with a fictional subject of interest. I ended up purchasing Matthew Reilly’s Seven Ancient Wonders and Simon Scarrow’s The Eagle’s Conquest. I also purchased The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized The Southern Seas During The First World War by Richard Guillatt and Peter Hohnen (and a copy autographed by Peter Hohnen at that). The Wolf is the story about a German Commerce Raider from the First World War and is a nautical tale, it interested me immediately I saw it.

So, what’s my beef? This. The Wolf is non-fiction and as a reference work, will sit on my bookshelves ad infinitum so its format does not bother me so much. The other two works though are in the realms of what might be described as pulp fiction. One certainly is historical fiction but it is fiction never-the-less. When I was looking for this book, I also considered some Patrick O’Brian (Post Captain) (I enjoy reading the Jack Aubrey series again) as well as some George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman in the Great Game) and other similar works.

Damn me but those books and series (and they are all reprints of works released into paperback many years ago) are all in the larger format paperback. I examined further. There is the regular paperback size which, in Australia, costs around $17.95 to $19.95 (overpriced it is too). Then there is the larger paperback which uses more paper (and must be less friendly to the environment as a result) and costs $24.95 whilst the largest paperbacks (even more paper used) cost $34.95.

What is the purpose of the larger paperback sizes for pulp fiction? Publisher profits is all. Publishers make more profit per book sold on the larger sizes as the are able to fool the consumer that they cost more to produce. Why produce them at all when the smaller size serves just as well?

Really, it is time the Australian book market was just opened up totally to being able to source any book from anywhere and help get rid of publisher gouging. And a big thanks to Penguin books and Popular Penguins who can still turn a profit when releasing a paperback for $9.95.

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