Friday 18 March 2011

How to speak publisher - B is for bind-up

A bind-up, though it sounds like some interesting minor S&M practice, is a bundling of several books into a single binding. If you have published several books in a series or on a similar theme, and some time has passed and sales are starting to flag, the publisher might propose a bind-up. Go for it! All the little books will be gathered together and forced to be friends with each other in a single volume. There will probably be a new cover design, the books will be given a new, updated look, and the aim will be to attract new readers who were possibly not even born at the time the originals were published. Remember - foetuses don't read. The picture shows the bind-up of Kath Langrish's hugely successful Troll trilogy, revised and reissued in a single volume, (March 2011).

A bind-up is a way of making extra money out of a bunch of books that have slipped from view. Bookshops don't often stock many books that have been around for a few years, unless they are classics, steady sellers, or by major figures who always attract a lot of readers. Don't expect to see a bunch of Jacqueline Wilson novels appearing in a bind-up, for instance - they are always in stock and sell anyway - though I think there has been a Tracy Beaker bind-up.... A bind-up is money for old rope. You don't have to do much, and the publisher doesn't have to invest much, and it's a lot less aggro than writing and publishing a new book.

And here's the opposite of a bind-up.... Lucy Coats has extracted 12 slim volumes from her Atticus the Storyteller, each dealing with a separate Greek myth. The slim volumes have bright, colourful covers, they are easier to carry around and hold in small hands than the original and are less daunting to unconfident readers.

So bind-up or bind-down, there is potential for rebadging books and gathering new readers either way.



  1. Too right! Bind ups are terrific. I've had two or three and have loved them all. They often have even better covers than the original books.

  2. A bind-up is a way of making extra money out of a bunch of books that have slipped from view.

    Or which have gone out of print entirely. My Hex trilogy has been out of print for about 5 years and my UK fans bewail this all the time. The UK publisher had said they would do a bindup but changed their mind and it's lanquished as unavailable ever since.

    However, later this year US publishers Simon and Schuster will be republishing it as a bindup with a stylish new cover. I hope it will attract new fans but I'm even happier to tell the existing fans they can at last buy a copy.

  3. That's brilliant news, Rhiannon! I hope you get lots of new readers as well as many happy old fans. And Adele, yes - I think the feelings and thoughts that crystallise around a book once it is in print can inform the new cover so that it better reflects what readers have found in the book.

    I think I only have one bind-up... but the publisher did that one without telling me, so there may be others I don't know about!

  4. Anne, you are quite right - and another benefit of both/either process is the chance to revise and improve the books. Edit out some of those over-egged passages, or bits which maybe dragged a little. I did this, and I bet Lucy did too! It's very satisfying.

  5. When you started this series, Anne, I thought you were going to one A and one B and one C, etc, and admired your ambition. Now I see you are only on B, and in fact there are now masses of A's for me to catch up with! (How many years before you reach Z...???)

    And having just finished "West of the Moon", I can confirm that it is a bit more than a bind-up because the stories have been reworked by Kath to make the single volume read better.

  6. Katherine, it is ambitious! and it's been a bit derailed by B for Bint at the moment. Bintly sickness has kept me from B for Blogging (and much else) for a most of the year so far. But I shall turn my mind to it directly!