In an article on Daily Finance, Kathleen Ryan Hyde takes a clear-eyed look at how it all works. “The shelf life of an adult novel (as opposed to a juvenile or young adult novel, rather than as opposed to a G-rated one) is often just a little bit better than that of a carton of milk. The hardcover will classically stay in print for a year before paperback release, but don't imagine that bookstores will stock it for more than a couple of months, or that the publisher will send much, if any, promotion its way beyond its "season." Young adult fiction is far better in this regard. My young adult novels spend 2.5 years in hardcover before their paperback releases.”
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And thanks to onegrapeshy for posting about this article.