Ever since I truly gave in to my bookish obsession, I spent most of my time hunting for harbacks on sale. Checking book depository every other day was part of a routine and I despised paperbacks. If a certain book wasn’t available in hardback, I’d despair over it and then grudgingly buy the paperback. My motto was: I may own fewer books but all of them are PROPER books. Meaning hardbacks, of course.
There is no denying it – hardbacks do look the prettiest on your shelves. The spines make for the most beautiful home decor you could ask for and they are far more resilient than paperbacks and don’t bend as easily. But they cost a lot more than paperbacks, sometimes even twice the price. And with books that are a bit older, perhaps not as mainstream and hyped as your typical YA fantasy series, it’s sometimes difficult to find a harback edition of your beloved novel.
Availability was actually the first reason why I switched to buying paperbacks. Well, not entirely switched – but I do buy more paperbacks now than I do hardbacks. A couple years ago I wanted to buy the Crestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones and the only books available were paperbacks.When I started comparing the prices I did see that perhaps a change was necessary because I could get SO MANY books for the price of a hardback or two.
Today, my shopping habits are as following: for my favourite authors, such as Kate Morton, J. K. Rowling (I already preordered Lethal White, can’t wait to read it), Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor and others, I usually order hardbacks just because I know I will love their books and since I already own most of what they’ve written in that format, it makes sense to continue with the tradition.
For new authors, I tend to buy a paperback first, just in case I end up not liking it (as was the case with Shadow and Bone – I still regret that purchase). Also, if a book isn’t available in hardback, I don’t cry about it anymore and just buy the paperback instead. I look after my books and rarely break the spines. I just really don’t like the look of a book with broken spines – I know, I know, books are meant to be read and enjoyed and it doesn’t matter how they look! But to me, it does matter. I like my books to stay as undamaged as they possibly can.
When it comes to e-books, I do own a kindle and use it. When my library doesn’t have a certain book I want to read and especially if it is from an author I haven’t read before, then I download an e-book and read it on my kindle. If I really like the book, I then buy a physical copy of it. But since I am on a tight budget (I am still a student) I can’t afford to go on buying every single book I want to read. My library isn’t that well stocked either. So it’s very important to me to first check if I really like a book before I actually buy it in physical form. Too many times have I been burned like this – buying a book and then absolutely hating it (or at least disliking it very much).
This past year I’ve also started listening to audio books. I only listened to three audio books but I really liked all of them. It took me a while to get used to it and I did notice that my attention span was far shorter – I’m just not the listening type. Even in class, I remember very little if I only listen to the lecture, without taking notes. So audio books aren’t my favourite and best option, but I will try to encorporate more non-fiction audio books on my TBR.
If I had to choose only one format of a book to read for the rest of my life, I’d go with hardbacks in a heart beat. But I also have to admit that paperbacks are far more practical to read because they fit in your hands so perfectly. And e-books are great for non-English speaking countries because we don’t have that many English books in our libraries and so our choices are very limited. And audio books are perfect for when you are out and about, whether you like talking a walk every day or you’re commuting to somewhere.
What matters at the end of the day is consuming stories in all shapes and sizes and I truly do believe reading can change your life for the better. It is after all one of the cheapest ways of escapism – you just need a library card and you are set to go.
Enjoy your adventure.