Hardcover vs. Paperback.

IKEA-borgsjo-puffin-classics-puffin-clothbound-classics
Image credits: Modern Mrs. Darcy.

So I’ve been wondering last night, after taking another look at my mini library, why I’ve never bought any hardcover books. Two shelves in my master bedroom were dedicated to a variety of titles and they were all in paperback format.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate hardcover books. I just find them a little on the heavy side if I decide to bring them along with me to wherever I decide to go. Also, the whole set of Harry Potter books that my aunt got for my sister and I from London were all hardcovers so I’m not entirely prejudiced against hardcover books.

Before I give you my reasons for loving paperbacks more than hardcover books, let me tell you a bit about both formats and how they were produced for our literary entertainment.

HARDCOVER BOOKS vs. PAPERBACK BOOKS

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Harry Potter Hardcover Box Set. Image credits: Wikia Books Hub.

Also known as hardback or hardbound books (above), these books have a reputation for strength, durability, and longevity. The pages are usually sewn together at the spine with heavy thread to keep them firmly in place, while the hardcover is made from pieces of thick paper board. In many cases, this rigid board is covered with a gloss-coated paper for stain- and moisture-resistant purposes.

These explain why the price of a hardcover book is higher than that of a paperback. A lot of costs come into play to ensure that the hardcover book has a tough exterior, making it the most expensive style of book to produce. This also becomes the main reason why paperbacks have gained such widespread popularity!

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Harry Potter Paperback Box Set. Image credits: Amazon India.

Softcover books (above) are also known as softbound, softback, or paperback books, and were sometimes called airport novels. They may not be as tough as hardcover books, they can be produced for a fraction of the cost. That’s because a paperback is made with only glue to bind the pages to the spine, and no stitches or staples were used for stronger hold. Recycled paper, however, has been used in recent years instead of new paper, and this is significantly cheaper than hardcover books.

Which explains why many people are often in a dilemma when they go out to buy or order a book online.So many books today are published in both hardcover and paperback format, though, which format you choose is based entirely on personal preference. Of course, therein lies several practical reasons that allow others to choose one over the other, depending on the situation of where the book will be read and where will it be stored.

Blogger’s Verdict

For me, I have always gone for paperbacks primarily because of the price tag. A paperback book has always been half of the total price for a hardcover book, and the more popular the title, the more expensive the book gets. Most bookstores will carry many of the same titles with a slight price difference, but the fact remains that paperbacks have always been more affordable than hardcover books.

Paperbacks are also lighter and usually smaller than hardcover books, making them easier to carry around. Which is yet another reason why I prefer paperback books over the hardcover ones.

People often say that hardcover books look better than the paperback editions, but that’s because of the way they have been produced. The thick and tough exterior, as well as the better quality paper and ink used. Yet, this shouldn’t be the reason to buy a hardcover book. Imagine having bought one that looked pretty on the outside, but you had no idea what the story was about and probably weren’t interested either. That would definitely be a waste of money.

Goodreads even has a poll on hardcover vs. paperback and these were the results:

  • Paperback: 11,706 votes (57.3%) – as of June 9, 2016
  • Hardcover: 8,719 votes (42.7%) – as of June 9, 2016

So, which do YOU prefer, and why?

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