Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paperback or Hardcover?

Do you have a preference between paperback and hardcover books?

I am very lucky that I have a husband who understands my book habit. He has become more understanding now that he sees my obsession has been passed on to at least one of our children so far. It is extremely satisfying to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Fudge-o-Mania up on the bookshelf next to East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading is just what we do here.

Lately, though, even I have a hard time putting up $29.95 for a hardcover book. I don't do it often anymore, but I will purchase a hardcover book if it fits a few criteria.

1. It is the next book in a series that I am addicted to.

2. It got amazing reviews, and I can not wait until it comes out in paperback.

3. This is a book that I am going to read, re-read, and keep on my bookshelf forever.

4. The waiting list is too long at the library...and I just don't think I can wait another day!

I am finding that publishers are more understanding of the economic situation, and are pushing hard to promote their paperback releases of their previous hardcover bestsellers. Have you noticed?

Sometimes hardcover vs. paperback is just a matter of preference. Sometimes it's a matter of heft. We have a woman in my book club who prefers paperback. Maybe this is because she reads on the train on her way to work, and doesn't feel like lugging around a 15 pound book. I did that to my sister-in-law, Amy, last summer. She was getting on a plane to go back down to Atlanta, and her carry-on tote was sitting by the door. Against her protests, I shoved my First Edition hardcover copy of Twilight in her bag. It was heavy, but she loved it, like I knew she would -- backache and all. Yeah, I had to go all the way down to Georgia to get that sucker back, too!

As a book reviewer, I often get advanced readers copies that come to me in paperback, often without the final cover art. When I see them in the bookstores, I am still surprised to see the book in hardcover - not only does the cover surprise me, but I often forget which books will be released as hardcovers.

I'm not sure you've all noticed, but I've added a few things to the format of my reviews. I will now not only link you to IndieBound'>IndieBound and Amazon for you to purchase the book if you so wish, but I also include whether the book is a hardcover or a paperback. I've also included the number of pages, to give you an idea of just how much that book is going to weigh, and how much time it may take you to read it. Can you get through it on your weekend at the beach? How about your round-trip flight from New York to London?

Many of the books that I am sent to review are released as hardcovers, but I will make a more conscious effort to make sure that my reviews are balanced to include paperbacks, for the commuter crowd!
But, let's discuss! Do you prefer hardcover or paperback?


Chad Aaron Sayban said...

I prefer hardcover, but I have no problem with a paperback. I have a mix of both on my shelves. I will usually buy the paperback if it is available, but if I want a particular book when it comes out, I'll buy the hardcover.

Stephanie said...

With the exception of the Harry Potter series, I don't like hardcovers at all. Too clunky for me. I love me some trade paperback!

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Well, I really prefer Hard Covers because I think they are, overall, more durable. But, a good book is a GREAT BOOK no matter what, and I've got many ppbs I treasure as well!

Alison said...

Chad, I'm with you, but I am very picky about my paperbacks too. I only noticed it after I started reading Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series -- I can't stand the mass market paperbacks! I'll read them, but I'm looking for the hardcovers in the library, because I can't stand those little paperbacks! I have issues.

Stephanie -- I too like a good trade paperback...but there's something about a hardcover that's, I don't know, special.

Mary Ann -- Well said. Paperbacks can be more durable if you're like me and don't break the bindings (it's one of my little OCD things).

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I'm a hardcover girl all the way :)

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