Dream in Paperback

FedEx brought a whole box of these today:

And I have to say, they look great. I think the cover looks even better on the paperback than it did on the hardcover — the more compact layout suits the design — but even more cool is the fact that the book’s cover is a festival of textures: The words are bumpy, the sheep are slick and the blue feels just a little nubbly. We’re talking a riot of friction gradients everywhere you touch. I can’t stop petting the cover. Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

The official street date for this paperback is next Tuesday, but inasmuch as this isn’t Harry Potter, I would suspect copies are even now making their way onto store shelves. If you see it in the wild, I’d be obliged if you’d whip out your cell phone camera and get a picture.

Also, I hope those of you who haven’t checked it out yet will give it a try. I’m not supposed to say things like this, but this really is my favorite book so far: I love all my books, mind you — I wouldn’t publish anything I didn’t think was pretty damn good — but this one’s my special pet, because it’s just completely nuts. I mean, come on: I started it with a chapter long fart joke. And it’s a good joke, if I do say so myself. Pulling that one off was a huge boost to my fiction-writing confidence. Also, and independently, I think this is the book of mine that would make a kick-ass summer movie. It’s a popcorn-shoveler if there ever was one. Deep? Not so much. Fun? Hell, yeah.

So, yeah: Me pimping myself. You want to get this one. Clamor for it at your local bookstore, or at the various places you shop online. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you on the official release date, too.

And when you get it, run your fingers over the cover. You’ll see what I mean about the friction gradients. Well. Feel it, in any event.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

33 replies on “Dream in Paperback”

When John stops making comments like, “I can’t stop petting the cover. Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” we can say he’s a jaded celebrity. The quote above proves that he’s still like us. Yay John! :)

That seems like a good way to get arrested.

The image in my head now, thank you very much, is of a group of greasy-haired nerds huddled in the Gold Room at Powell’s, pawing at copies of the book. Inasmuch as the Gold Room is one of my favorite rooms in Powell’s, I feel dirty.

And when you get it, run your fingers over the cover. You’ll see what I mean about the friction gradients. Well. Feel it, in any event.

Well, I imagine that we can attempt to re-create the sensory inputs you’re describing, but I’m not sure we can go to the same emotional place you do. Freak.

My father will be thrilled. He’s been waiting for it to come out in pb, and he’s headed to Central America next week. I told him the expected pub date, and to plan on taking it on his trip. Now he’ll maybe believe that occasionally I know what I’m talking about.

The Android’s Dream — Now available in Paperback with Kung Fu Action Friction Gradients Everywhere You Touch!

Dr. Phil

ps- how can a Physicist NOT be impressed with someone who is raving about “friction gradients”?

Well, now I’m jonesing for The High Castle. Love the first chapter of that one. But this does put me of a mind to pull down my signed hardback of The Android’s Dream and re-read it. After, of course, molesting the new PB version.

It’s your best, IMHO. But then I have a special place in my heart for humorous fiction. I will purchase it as a gift for a friend. I eagerly await the sequel.

I’ve been pimping this book already to everyone I know. Both my teenage kids loved it. Even my daughter, who isn’t crazy about sci-fi. It was surely the fart joke at the beginning that grabbed her attention.

Hey John, I have a question for you.

Why do publishers separate the hardcover release from the paperback release by such a huge timespan? I mean, I understand why there’s a timespan, I just don’t understand why it needs to be a full year. Publishers make back more from the hardcover, I would assume, but I figured profit would drop off enough before the one year mark to justify an earlier paperback release.

I find paperbacks much more manageable all around — they take up less room, they’re more versatile for when you don’t have a big kitchen table to read on, and they usually cost less than half of the shelf price (mass-markets do, anyway). I have a hard time stretching out on a couch to read a hardcover, which is a pretty big deterrent for me; plus, I have Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades in paperback, and there’s something vaguely irritating about the prospect of having one of a three-part-series (growing thought it is) in a different format.

Is there a simple explanation I’m missing for why the wait is so much longer than, say, between a theatrical release and a DVD?

Also, is it just me that prefers paperbacks to hardcovers, to the point where I’m usually willing to wait it out?

You know you are a successful author when you can make up words like “nubbly.”

BTW, I first learned of your books through Professor Bainbridge and his very favorable review of OMW. You should thank him with a fine bottle of wine. I hear he likes that kind of thing…

You’re not the only one, Aaron. If it’s a must read now, my mum borrows the hardback from the library, then buys the ones she likes in paperback for her collection. Otherwise, she just waits for the paperback like you do.

Aaron Hayes:

“Publishers make back more from the hardcover, I would assume, but I figured profit would drop off enough before the one year mark to justify an earlier paperback release.”

Really depends on the book, I would guess. Most of my hardcovers have been selling just fine months after release.

In my experience publishers like to be able to pair a paperback release with the release of a hardcover; so, for example, the paperback release of The Last Colony is likely to be keyed to the hardcover release of Zoe’s Tale. It allows them to make an attractive package for booksellers.

Ahhh, okay, that makes sense. I figured the hardcovers would keep selling nicely, but I’m a lot more likely to buy a paperback if both are available, and I thought that might be true of enough people for it to be a factor.

As it happens, I got a few friends up at college to read OMW and TGB, so we’ll likely end up borrowing The Last Colony from a local library, cause none of us want to wait until April. Can’t speak for them, but I’ll still be buying the paperback then to round out the collection.

See, for me paperbacks are for books I don’t plan on keeping forever. Paperbacks are for lending and reading on the go. I’m much more careful with my hardcovers.

Also, I think they look better on bookcases.

Stop petting the book, John, you’ll go blind that way.

Reminds me of getting a paper sample that was designed to feel like real skin. It was out of Hungry, very weird sample book. Although a few weeks later I found myself thinking of projects that may be interesting to print on it. It was way too expensive, though.

Now I’m wishing I had access to a lab where I could actually measure the friction of the various textures. It’d be fun to see the cover actually rendered with the genuine friction gradients…

_The Android’s Dream_ now in NubblyVision(tm)

I guarnatee it’s on at least one store’s shlef, because I bought one last night. The train stopped several times this morning and I didn’t notice them at all, because I was reading about Harry and Archie and their adventures (and not for the first time either).

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