Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hardcover vs. Paperback

I don't like hardcover books.

I don't like the feel of them in my hands, can't be bothered carting them around, and I'm not a fan of the smell that builds up on them over the years. Yes, I know I'm contradicting something I've said before, but so be it. The mark of being human is the ability to have contradictory thoughts without exploding.

My attitude to hardcovers is the result of the publishing industry in Australia and my childhood.

I'll tackle the publishing side first.

In this fine sunburnt country, hardcover books aren't that common in bookstores. At least not in terms of current fiction releases. Our market is simply not big enough to warrant the printing of large quantities of hardcovers, except in the more high profile novels like the Harry Potter series and anything by Matthew O'Reilly. And even these are often sold at very narrow margins by the bigger retailers.

Newspapers in Australia are also quite happy to review books in paperbook form, although this is usually in the larger C-format or trade paperback size. So there's nothing stopping Australian authors getting the same kind of promotion for paperbacks that authors overseas get for hardcovers.

As a result of this, most of the books I'm exposed to are paperbacks, so I've learned to relate the smell of them to the purchase of a shiny new story, filled with the promise of many nights of curled-up-in-bed reading bliss. And that's why I love the smell of a new paperback, reeking of binding glue and whatever the hell makes the cover smell so sharp.

My name is Daniel and I am a paperback addict.

Which wins for you, hardcover or paperback?


John R. said...

Paperbacks for me, usually. Simply because they're easier to carry around the place and read et al.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Typically, paperback. Easier to cart around, easier to read in bed, and those flaps they put on hardcover books? They always slide. I always take them off when I'm actually reading.

Shesawriter said...

The only time I buy a hardcover is if I'm impatient and can't wait for he paperback to come out. I don't like them either. Paperbacks are more flexible. I can shove one in my purse, or curl up with one in bed.

Saaleha said...

Paperbacks Rock! I don't know what I'd do without them.

colman said...

paperbacks.......more manageable, easier to read in bed,cheaper,

trade paperbacks and hardbacks bit of a pain in the arse.....but if I'm impatient or looking for something from someones back catalogue I have to suffer it........makes it a pain trying to organise your shelves when you've got different size books by the same author and you've got more books than you can readily store

Stuart MacBride said...

I'll swim against the stream and say: Hardbacks. I like their permanence. Their solidity. The fact that you can lend it to someone and it's got less chance of coming back looking like it's been put trough a fat man's underpants.

That's at home. But if I'm travelling I want paperbacks for the reasons espoused by those above. But it's hardbacks I love most of all.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Funny thing is that the day after I posted this, I started reading a hardcover. As long as the flap is off, it's not as bad an experience as I remember.

Of course, it's a Steven Torres novel, so that helps some.