The Joy of Paperbacks by Kathryn Hughes

Kathryn Hughes

The Joy of Paperbacks


May is the month for paperbacks. Autumn and spring are given over to the gravitas of hardback publication, when all the year’s big-hitting titles arrive in their stiff-backed pomp. But early summer is the time when the mood lightens and softens and along comes a host of brightly coloured paperbacks. Some of these will be the usual holiday fare – chick lit, generic thrillers, behind-the-scenes at the SAS – but others will simply be an earlier hardback re-dressed in a new summer uniform. 

Traditionally, a paperback would arrive a year after the initial hardback launch, but that period is getting shorter all the time. It’s now quite usual for a hardback to come out in October and its younger sibling to arrive the following May. The reason, mostly, is cash. For

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