Beginning in March, Harlequin quietly began introducing a new size for its mass market paperbacks, the Mass Market Paperback Max. All Max titles will have a larger trim size (4.75 inches x 7 inches) than standard mass market and premium mass market formats, and will be priced at $9.99.

Harlequin started introducing the Max by releasing four new titles in the format in both March and April. The publisher will remain on a four-title-a-month schedule for the next two months before publishing all mass market standalone titles in the format in September. Paperbacks that are part of a series will remain in the traditional mass market size.

Harlequin began creating the format last fall after its consumer research found readers preferred the Max—with its larger size, higher quality paper, larger font, and more white space on the spine—to the traditional mass market paperback.

“We knew there was a need for an innovation in mass market paperbacks,” Craig Swinwood, Harlequin CEO, said in a prepared statement. “The feedback in the last month is even better than expected. Readers are choosing this format because it’s standing out on shelves and has a premium look and feel.”

Dennis Abboud, CEO of ReaderLink, applauded Harlequin for taking action to stem the steady decline of mass market paperback sales. “We believe that the new MMP Max format will reinvigorate mass market book interest,” Abboud said. "Initial results have been very promising, and we expect that more growth will occur as consumers gain more understanding of the MMP Max format’s considerable attributes and value.”

In late April, Kensington Publishing announced that, beginning September 29, it will replace its standard mass market paperbacks with a larger 4.75 by 7-inch format called “Mass Max.”