The thing about hardback books is that they are worth more than paperbacks. They have a greater value and are often more carefully created. Which is why I don’t often chuck a hardback in my rucksack. They are heavy and their dust-jackets (which I always forget to take off) can get ripped fairly easily which always breaks my heart. I much prefer to have a paperback copy when it’s a book I want to read on the move.
I have some special hardback copies of novels that I LOVE. But they serve a different purpose to the paperbacks. I only read them when I’m in the comfort of my own home and some are there as much for aesthetic reasons as anything else.
My paperbacks are the rough and ready editions. Between broken spines and curled pages my paperbacks put up with a lot (especially when you have a rather excitable puppy who decides she would like to eat your book, I’m not sure those books have forgiven me yet…). Sure, I’d rather they stayed pretty, but there are some situations where that isn’t possible. I always feel a bit gutted when my hardbacks are damaged but I can get through the pain quicker with my paperbacks.
There is also something endearing about a scruffy paperback. They look loved. That’s the vital difference: hardbacks should be cared for, paperbacks should be loved. Loved in the way my puppy shows her love for me, with a certain passion that expresses itself physically. A paperback, to me, should show that it has been handled and read thoroughly by someone who truly enjoyed it. That’s something ebooks can’t replicate even though they are notably practical.
Sometimes when I really want a book I have to make the difficult decision to wait for the paperback. They aren’t as shiny as the hardbacks, but they are more practical. That’s the thing about reading paper books, it is a physical task as well as a mental ask. My hardback may be sturdier but my paperback is certainly spunkier.