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All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

Good question. I’ll stick with trade paperbacks for shelf space since I am already running out of room for books. But if budget and storage are not the determining factor, I’ll still prefer the paperbacks for convenience. It makes sense I should get paperbacks since I usually carry more than one book in my bag. In my Timbuk bag today, I’ve got Anna Karenina, Inivisible Man, A Dead Man’s Memoir and Hotel Du Lac, all paperbacks, plus my Moleskine notebook. Imagine if I bring all hardbacks, the bag would be scraping on my shoulder hard! I also don’t like the jackets of hardbacks, which I usually take off when I do read a hardback. So unless there is an urgency to read a book that really intrigues me or in the occasion of a new book by a favorite author, I’m faithful to trade paperbacks.


9 Responses

  1. You’re right about the mobility of paperbacks, but don’t you think a hardcover adds that something special to a book ?

  2. If I were writing this particular blog myself, I would not have written it one iota differently, which is to say, I share your feelings exactly.
    For really really special books, I have both hardback and trade paper or paperback editions…. I like to display and refer to hardbacks, but when it comes to re-reading, I will always go for the paperback.
    You are so right, Matt. I don’t go anywhere without a backpack… with books in it. Hardcover ones, it is noticeable, the difference. Believe me, for the past little while I’ve been walking around with Follett’s [hardcover] World Without End in that pack!
    I felt like the mythical Atlas!
    I say trade paperback is the best format, overall!

  3. Hardbacks because they last longer! But they are more expensive.

  4. You’re right about paperbacks being easier to tote around. I buy them for the exact same reason. As far as reading is concerned, I do enjoy the heft of a hardback. I guess it feels more purposeful.

  5. You’d definitely walk with a tilt if you carried around all those books in hardback! I’m partial to trade paperback books as well when it comes right down to it.

  6. Paperbacks for me: the alternative is to stay at home and read the tombstones on the dining room table… and I have to work, and I have to travel for my work…. so how am I going to read if I cannot carry my books with me????

  7. Gavin:
    I’ll get the hardbacks of my favorite authors just for collecting. 😉

    The iPod has got rid of the problem of carrying all these CDs in my bag when I go out or travel. So in order to minimize my load, I’ll stick with trade paperbacks. (Don’t think I can ever convert to electronic book.) The sheer size of hardbacks also present a problem…they are just too bulky.

  8. Steve:
    As a published author you’d want readers to go for hardbacks for sure! 😉

    The meme says price/budget is not a factor in consideration. But in reality you get two trade paperbacks for the price of one hardbacks. Also storage would be a huge problem. I’ll leave the hardbacks to the libraries. 🙂

  9. Literary Feline:
    The catch is to wait a bit longer for the release. 🙂 Even with trade paperbacks in my bag, for time to time I have shoulder pain that I need to go see the doctor. All the years of reading and carrying books…

    That’s what I’m saying. 🙂 For you sometimes going to work is like a day trip, you need to minimize the load you carry.

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