Forget about cost-cutting and the mass market. Don’t aim for instant blockbuster successes. You won’t win on quick distribution, and you won’t win on price. Cyberspace has that covered. Go back to an old-fashioned idea: that a book, printed in ink on durable paper, acid-free for longevity, is a thing of beauty. Make it as well as you can. People want to cherish it.
Which is sensible, given that publishing books has never been as effective a way to make money as, say, manufacturing bullets. Trubek calls out a few publishers who were following this advice before it was given, including Penguin with their Classic Deluxe Editions. I’ve seen these around the office and boy, are they fun.
I’m not as militant as Trubek about having the perfect edition of a book before I crack it, but I agree that format is an important factor.