Style Saturdays #4: Hardcover vs. Paperback?


A week or two ago in Goodreads, there has been a popular poll thread over at the Filipino Group Forum about the debate between Hardover books versus their paperback counterparts and I thought it makes for a very interesting topic for style Saturdays. I know for sure that there’s really no clear winner between the two because each has their own distinctive pros and cons and readers in general are evenly split in their respective preference when it comes to book format designs—some are really hardcore biased to hardcover books while some are absolutely in love with paperbacks. Here’s my two cents.

I have nothing major against hardcover designs but I’ve always been a paperback/softcover kind of reader for as long as I could remember. In my mind, I have always associated hardbound books with conservative book collectors with humongous bookshelves at home. For some reason, I have always thought that they only wanted hardcover books because their spines are lovelier and would look better when stacked against each other, but I know now that most of the readers who like hardback books usually prefer this format because of their durability and sturdiness as compared to paperbacks which are likelier to be wrinkled and crumpled after a couple or so of re-reads. This, I admit, is an excellent point.

However, my hardcover books don’t necessarily make the most comfortable reading experience, I must say. Finding a good reading position is every reader’s problems but it’s even more difficult with a hardbound book! My arms get tired easily and my shoulders tend to hurt too, because hardcovers are usually massive in sheer size and weight and are therefore bulkier in my bag whenever I go outdoors. Ah, the problems and pet peeves of a reader! Haha.

This is why I’ve always been a paperback girl through and through—they’re light, handy and even though they’re so much more vulnerable and can easily be battered and dog-eared, the cover will forever be there and I don’t have to worry about losing the dust jacket. Books, after all, are so much better when they’re all worn-out, right? Call me sentimental or whatever but a book with yellowy pages and wrinkled covers and pages is one of the most romantic things in the world for me. Nothing but an old, battered paperback can show how much loved a book has been—to be read countless of times and to still be regarded as a treasure so precious.

Do you prefer Hardcover or Paperback?


2 thoughts on “Style Saturdays #4: Hardcover vs. Paperback?

  1. I like paperbacks, I still do, but after going through my childhood library (which I get to do every year on Holy Week), you will really see how the hardcovers stand the test of time. They are also far more comfortable to read at home than paperbacks. The latter often have ugly papers, and uglier fonts. There is a lot of hard work and craftsmanship put into making hardcovers so they are far better to read and “be with” than paperbacks. It doesn’t hurt that they are also easier on the eyes.

    The con of hardcovers is the portability though. And they’re expensive, so I only buy brand new hardcovers when they’re my absolute favorite. I kind of regret not investing more in hardcovers when I was younger though – a lot of my precious collections (e.g. Foundation series) are in paperback, and I fear for their future. Oh well! 🙂

    • I can’t help but think that probably our preferences says a lot about our habits as readers. Paperback-biased persons like me, for instance, are usually lazy-ass people, that’s why comfort comes first. Lol. But i totally get your point about hardbacks lasting longer. Indeed, I always have the urge to buy a hardback copy of a book if i loved it so much. The fact that they are more expensive than paperbacks is already an indication that they’re a lot more valuable, of course. Thanks for your input, Darliza. 🙂

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