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