Thursday, 21 February 2008

Booking through Thursday - Format


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?

For most purposes I prefer paperbacks, they are usually lighter and more portable, which is important to me. I have huge affection for the old Penguin and Pelican covers, orange, green or blue and cream, and would be happy to have rows and rows on my bookshelf, even if some of them were battered. For preference I buy paperbacks, waiting, if I can bear, for new books to come out in that format, but there's plenty of evidence on my shelves of the occasions when I couldn't wait, or when a special bookclub edition was, inconveniently, produced in hardback. Or, in the case of old books, that is simply what I found.

The main exception is when I am buying an old, collectible, book – in that case I may well choose a hardback, especially if it's an affordable first edition, or is illustrated by a particular artist, or possibly just has a cover I like. With new books that might become collectibles, I don't have strong feelings – a well-produced soft cover is as acceptable to me as the alternative, though I do enjoy the occasional beautifully produced coffee table book. Another occasion on which I buy hardbacks is at readings, generally because that's what is on offer. Finally, I also buy old leatherbound books from time to time, when they serendipitously combine beauty and a subject which interests me.

12 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

You've very eloquently expressed pretty much how I feel.

Thanks for visiting earlier!

Table Talk said...

I think the serendipity point is well made. If I come across a book that I want or one that suddenly just calls to me then I buy it whatever the format. I have a lovely hardback volume of Winifred Holtby's letters that I found in a book sale. I would never have gone looking for it, but suddenly there it was and I just had to have it.

Becca said...

Books do have a funny way of just dropping into our laps, don't they? Serendipity, indeed. Happy reading!

Angela Young said...

Oh those Penguin and Pelican covers ... wondrous weren't/aren't they?

Thomma Lyn said...

Yes, I've had a number of books call my name, and those I buy regardless of their format. :)

Happy BTT!

elizabethm said...

I agree with you - generally would rather have paperbacks and somehow feel obscurely self indulgent when I buy new hardbacks (doesn't mean I don't have some). I am beginning to wonder whether, if even I who have loved books forever, spend such a portion of my days on the computer doing this, our kind of passion for books will become even more of a minority pastime than it has been in my lifetime.
whoops, sorry, got a bit gloomy there. Love blogging obviously or wouldn't do it.

Melody said...

I'm a paperback girl as well... and thanks for mentioning the Penguin and Pelican covers, I too think they're great!!!

Chris said...

I was pretty wishy-washy in my answer. Great answer!

gautami tripathy said...

I like the smell of paper. Does not really matter what!


Format

GeraniumCat said...

I'm reasonably optimistic that what Elizabeth describes as "our kind of passion for books" won't disappear. The proliferation of book blogs and book clubs is a positive sign, I think, though I'd like libraries to remember they are supposed to be places for books, not "information centres" (by all means provide computers, but books should come first!)

Nan - said...

There is something wonderful about the way a hardcover so easily stays open on one's lap with very little pressure. Sometimes paperbacks are so much work to hold onto the right page. And I go crazy with those whose print on a page begins way into the center crease. :<)

GeraniumCat said...

I absolutely agree, Nan - infuriating.