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?