Hardback v. Paperback?

I never ever used to buy hardcovers.  Never even considered buying them.  Though I did spend a lot of time lurking in the New Releases section, and counting down the days to the paperback release.

And then I started.  It’s a long slippery slope, I tell you.  Once you start, it becomes, well, normal.  And then you can’t stop.  I can’t quite remember my first hardcover – I’ve a very sad suspicion that it was a Harry Potter!  Looking at my shelves, I would say about a quarter of the space is now taken up by hardcovers… 

I can rationalise it away a lot more easily now that I’m working – it’s my money, I earned it and therefore am entitled to spend it however I wish!  And if I do buy a book in hardcover, well, that just means I don’t splash out on that new top or the latest face cream.  And I’ll probably get more enjoyment out of the book – hopefully!

Having said that, I rarely buy hardcovers at retail price – they’re either discounted on Amazon, part of a bookstore promotion, or in the discount book store.  I was going to say I can’t think of the last time I bought a hardcover at full price, but I can actually.  It was Elizabeth Peters’ “Tomb of the Golden Bird” – I swore I would wait for the mass market paperback to come out, but I just happened on it in the bookstore and caved in!  It’s that instant gratification thing.

If I had a choice, i.e. if a book came out in hardcover and paperback at the same time, I would buy paperback every time.  Not just because of the cost, but also because of the additional space a hardcover takes up – I’ve a small flat and there’s only so much space for books, as much as I love them.  I’m also one of those anal people who can’t crease the dustjacket, so I’ve to take it off while I’m reading, and then I normally lose it and have to spend ages searching for it once I’ve finished the book !  Oh, and a hardcover’s just heavier and less comfortable to read.  Lord, I’m fussy.

At the end of the day, if I really want the book and it’s in hardcover, I’ll buy it.  I’m a publisher’s dream, aren’t I?

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3 thoughts on “Hardback v. Paperback?

  1. My problem with hardbacks is not so much the books’ price itself. There usually are good discounts, or you can buy them used, so ok, I could handle paying $14 or $17 for a book I really want. What kills me is the shipping. Those suckers are HEAVY, paying for the courier shipping to Uruguay (and if it’s a book I want enough to get in hardcover, I’m not going to be sending it by M-Bag!) will cost more than the book itself did, and I can’t bring myself to do it. Thank heavens for ebooks! *g*

  2. I try not to buy hardcovers, but only because of the money. If I were rich I would buy everything in hardcover because they’re prettier and easier to read. And they do last longer.

    When a book is released in hardcover that I really want to read, I try to convince myself to get it from the library and then wait to buy the paperback, but I’m usually not strong enough. Instant gratification, like you say. 🙂

  3. I wish ebooks were big in the UK – that would really be instant gratification 🙂 On the other hand, that could be incredibly bad for my wallet…

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