Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nina vs. ARGH: Hardcover or Paperback?

So I was going to work a few days ago and I wanted to bring my current read with me.  However, my hardcover copy of Her Fearful Symmetry is a bit on the big and heavy size and it occupied a bigger space in my bag - and I even had to fit in a water bottle, my mini-first aid kit, and other stuff you'd be surprised to see in my bag.

I've always been excited about having hardcover copies of a book that I like, which is actually what made me get Her Fearful Symmetry in the first place:  It's hardcover and it's from the used bookshop which made it cost about less than 80 percent its original price.  I also have other hardbacks and I like the aesthetics but once you get down to convenience, paperbacks rule.

Discussing my dilemma with ARGH, he was very much in favor of hardcover books.  And his solution to my bag problem?  Get a bigger bag - a suitcase, perhaps?

                                          Paperback                    vs.                  Hardcover

I think I prefer paperbacks because:
  1. They save more room in my bookshelf - more space for other books!
  2. Which also helps me save more room in basically everywhere else that I stash them, especially in my bag.
  3. They are easier to lug around since they are more lightweight.
  4. They are easier to cover (see New Book Ritual).
  5. They are cheaper.
  6. They are cheaper.
  7. They are cheaper.
I think I could go on and on and all my reasons would all translate to 'They are cheaper.'

On the other hand, ARGH is willing to get me a bigger bag just so I would get more hardcover books because:
  1. Because hardcover books are more expensive, they are also worth more than paperback.
  2. Authors and publishers alike make more money from hardbacks than paperbacks.
  3. Hardcover books have more durable book covers.  And their spines do not crack.
  4. Most books usually debut in hardbound versions.
  5. Hardcover books have better quality pages and the dust jackets look amazing.
  6. Aesthetically speaking, they look better than their paper counterparts.
And the discussion begins!  Which side are you on?  Are you pro-paperback or hardcover fanatic?


  1. I'm with you on this one. I'd prefer paperback for two reasons:

    1. They are definitely cheaper. I can get 2 paperbacks for 1 hardcover book.

    2. They are definitely lighter. Wherever I go my book comes with me, even when I go to the cinema and there's no way I could read them anywhere.. I still cannot part with my current read.

    But once in a while I would invest in a hardcover esp. for titles that I can't wait to read =)

  2. I'm split down the middle, I tend to mostly go for paperbacks because they are cheaper and take up less space, but the Hardbacks look so pretty! :D

  3. I prefer hardcover on larger books like Harry Potter because they're easier to handle, and you get your money's worth out of them. But its just stupid to buy a hardcover with only 150 pages in it. Thats a waste of money.

  4. Oddly enough, I like hardbacks because the covers don't bend and they keep perfectly flat at all times. When a paperback gets like that, it is the most annoying thing to me.

    However, ultimately paperbacks ARE cheaper, and that is a win-win for me. It means I can get more than one book rather than splurging for one!

  5. I'm not a snob for either one - I'll read either, and also read on my Kindle -- but I prefer hardbacks because I like the way they FEEL in my hands, I like the way they LOOK on a shelf, I like that they supposedly LAST LONGER (although I've had plenty of hardback problems in the library), and as you mentioned, if you want the newest release you often have to buy a hard cover. Hardbacks SMELL BETTER than paperbacks too. (I know that's silly, but they do!)

  6. I'm stuck on this one.

    Paper backs are cheaper, lighter, and more comfortable in my hands, but hard covers are so much more durable and just feel more solid to me.

    I think it all comes down to size with me. The smaller the book a soft cover will do nicely, but a large and/or fat book is a hardcover must have for me. :)

  7. For me, it depends on the book. All of my favorite books are in hard cover because of all the reasons ARGH mentioned. The books I don't necessarily care about or aren't in hard cover anymore, I'll buy those in paperback. But, if I had a choice, I'd side with ARGH on this one. But, because I am starting to run out of space, I have started buying books on my Kindle because they're cheaper and they don't take up any room, so I do understand your dilemma.

  8. I definitely prefer hardbacks for the aesthetic reasons. I have plenty of paperbacks, but they don't take precedent on my bookshelf and usually end up in the garage or packed in boxes unless there is something extra special about them.

    Tossing It Out

  9. I really prefer hardcovers :(
    But I don't like hardcover prices! So I have no idea where I stand on this. My Harry Potter books are 5 out of 7 hardcover but that's only because I wasn't buying books all the time whenever I got them, and 2 of those are presents.

    Speaking of Harry Potter books, I also noticed that you used Harry Potter books for your picture. You are definitely headed in the right direction hahah!!

    Did you see my Harry Potter Challenge that I'm obsessed with on my page? I didn't create it, I'm just going above and beyond doing it. I even made myself a button lol!

  10. I used to only buy paperbacks, no matter what. If a book I really liked was coming out in hardcover, I would wait for it to be realeased in paperback before I bought it. However, when I started my blog I started to buy hardcovers much more often. I agree with both you and ARGH, but if I had to choose, I would choose harcover.

    Oh, and have you seen the discussion post at The Reader Room? It's on the same question. :)

  11. I'm with ARGH, sorry Nina! :)

    I usually find great deals on hardcover books either through Amazon ($5-7 for a brand new hardcover!) or used. So I'm not spending a lot on my HC. I also do have the benefit of being able to get the books from my library first and then wait until they go on sale. I know not everyone can do that though.

    I'm obsessive about keeping my books in good condition, so reading paperbacks actually stress me out! I'm so worried about messing up the corners or cracking the spines. Hardcovers are a lot easier to read.

    Same goes for lugging them around with me. Hardcovers might be heavier, but they don't get messed up in my bag whereas paperbacks usually get a little dinged up. Just think about the great workout you're getting whenever you carry around a hardcover! :P

  12. I tend to like hardcovers more! I'm pretty anal about the condition I keep my books in and sometimes I find that with paperbacks the corners will get bent whereas with hardback, the corners are protected.

  13. I love them both! Haha, this is like the ultimate book question, such a toughie. I love hardcovers because aesthetically they are gorgeous to look at (lovely shiny dust jackets, yay!) and they're so much more durable. But yeah, paperbacks are way more convenient and easier to hold while reading. Hmmmm, but if I had to choose I think I would go for the hardcover version. I honestly love them both but hardcovers I admit look a tad bit lovelier and don't get all bendy or damaged easily like paperbacks. Luckily big bags are still in so lugging around a hardcover isn't that bad, haha.

  14. thank you everyone for sharing your opinions and thoughts. I do think that hardcover books rock too, but in terms of convenience, paperbacks are still it for me. But it's really great to know your opinion of this one, thank you so much!

    ARGH would like to give you all a fluffy monster hug!

  15. HARDCOVERS! I love them! Thanks for commenting on my same discussion! It is definitely tricky as there are so many pros and cons for both!

  16. My choice would be Hardcovers! No doubt.

    While reading I always take the dust jacket off and I have a bag just for carrying books in that even has a special protecion coating on the outside of it so if it gets wet or something gets spilled on it, etc. it won't be ruined. (I also have one for my nook-color)

    I think that bookshelves look fantastic full of hardcover books. I have paperbacks also but prefer the former. Because I take care of them aside from the occasional reading wear all of my books look brand new. (Even the paperbacks)

    Thanks for having a great discussion!
    Have a great day and happy reading. :)


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Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!