I find that within the book blogging community there is often a lot of debate about which format of book is better: the hardback or the paperback. In an effort today to branch away from only writing book reviews I thought I’d weigh in with my opinion on the pros, cons, and reasons for liking both formats. Obviously they’re not the only two ways to read out there—e-books and audiobooks both have their own merits—but this is purely from an “I like to have my books in physical form in front of me” perspective.
✓ The great thing about paperbacks is that in general they’re a lot easier to read since they’re really flexible and you can bend them however you want. Since they’re light, you don’t have to worry about the strain on your arms much either.
✗ However even the slightest wrong movement can result in a cracked spine. This is the major downfall of paperbacks. They’re just so easy to wreck and destroy and although I don’t mind having a well worn personal book collection I certainly do still love the aesthetic quality of pristine copies.
✓ Seriously, paperbacks are so cheap compared to hardbacks it’s hard to believe sometimes. If you look online sometimes you can get paperbacks for £3-£4 but hardbacks are still rather expensive, from my experience. You can often buy multiple paperbacks for the same price as one hardback and umm hello at this point paperbacks just make more sense.
✗ If you’re reading a new series and you buy the first however many in paperback because it’s cheaper you then might have to face having awkward, different sized books by the time the series draws to a close since new releases of popular books are produced first in hardback. Paperback copies don’t come out for months and months afterwards, which is a pain.
✓ In the UK at least, paperbacks are often a lot easier to get hold of. For some reason we don’t really publish in hardback that much—only for really popular series. So whilst a British reader could walk into a bookshop and snap up a paperback quick as a fly, hardbacks may require purchasing online from a non-UK distributor. Which then brings about the issue of different covers.
✗ At a certain point paperbacks become too small to realistically be supported by only a paperback spine. Examples being the Game of Thrones series and even just vaguely large books such as Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. These are the worst to read because it’s so easy to crack their spines.
✓ Typically hardback copies stay in better condition since the spine doesn’t crack at the slightest movement, like what happens with paperbacks. Also the edges are less easily bent, creased, or generally destroyed.
✓ Also, hardbacks often come with an additional cover, so to speak, on the actual book and not just on the dust jacket. Obviously paperbacks don’t have this perk and though quite often a lot of hardbacks are black and boring some of them can be exceptionally pretty too.
✗ Then again, I know I personally never actually read a hardback with the dust jacket still on so really they’re quite redundant and a waste of material. What’s the point?
To protect from dust okay I know but I don’t care.
✓ Hardbacks actually stay open when you want them to which is something that infuriates me with paperbacks. As a night reader with no book light (I use my phone’s light) it’s pretty hard sometimes to balance it all. Hardbacks, whilst bigger and bulkier, reduce some of that difficulty.
✗ They just take up so much space, and as a girl with very very limited book space this is a key factor for me.
✗ Moneyyy. I know I already talked about this but whyyyyyyyyyyy. I can’t afford this shit, especially not a whole series.
Overall I do have to say that paperbacks are my favourite format of books. I’m not wholly sure if that’s just because I’ve become accustomed to buying them or not but I do, currently, in this moment in time, largely prefer to read in paperback format. I really don’t mind having a well-worn looking collection and in fact most of my paperbacks are still in pretty good condition. Perhaps one day when I am (hopefully) drowning in riches I’ll branch out and treat myself to some lovely hardbacks but for the meantime, my heart lies with the soft paper copies of most of my collection. I’d love to hear your thoughts though!
– JESS, xo