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?
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Well over 90% of the books in my home library are paperbacks – the large format, “trade” variety. (And when I say “large,” I’m talking about the size of the book itself, not the print – although I don’t doubt that the day is coming for that too, and probably sooner than I’d like.) Even if price and storage space were non-issues, I’m pretty sure that would still be the case.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a book buyer rather than a library borrower; I like having books at hand whenever the mood strikes, and I very much prefer being the first to read them, so I don’t frequent used bookstores either. I’ll notice when new books come out in hardcover, but there are very few that I’m not willing to wait to read until the paperback edition comes out. However, when someone has asked me for a Christmas or birthday gift idea, I have been known to give them the titles of a few new hardcovers – and I will buy hardcovers as gifts for other people myself.
I don’t do much genre reading, and since it seems like that’s what is getting published more often in the smaller “mass-market” paperback size these days, I don’t have nearly as many books of that format in my collection as I used to.
I find the large paperback more comfortable to read than a hardcover, especially if I’m reclining. They’re also generally smaller and thinner than hardcovers, so they’re more easily portable; if I’m shopping for a new purse, I’ll actually consider how much room it has to accommodate a book. There’s no dust cover to come loose or tear. Since I try to make sure I have a book with me nearly everywhere I go, I do think about these attributes. Also, even though we’ve said money is no object here, paperbacks are still less expensive than hardcovers, so I can buy more of them! It’s a good thing we also said storage space isn’t an object either, in that case.
But unlike HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, I tend to believe that all of these book formats will continue to co-exist peacefully for some time to come, and I doubt they’ll be fully replaced be e-books any time soon.
What do you think? Do you have a book-format preference? You can find out other readers’ opinions over at Booking Through Thursday.