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Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Blogger Hop: Hardcovers - With Or Without Covers?

This week’s blog post theme in the Book Blogger hop asks, “Do you read your hardcovers with or without the dust jacket on?”

Goodness, what an odd question! Not really something I would normally spend an entire blog post on, but not a bad idea to muse on hardcovers in general. It’s more of an issue in the US, I suspect, where they publish a lot of hardcovers. Nothing of mine has ever been published in hardcover except one overseas edition of Your Cat Could Be A Spy and it didn’t have a dust jacket. Most books here start off in paperback and stay there. Most hardcovers with dust jackets are non fiction or adult books. Most children’s hardcovers don’t have a dust jacket.

Looking through some of the replies on other blogs, I haven’t yet seen one that keeps the cover on, for fear of damaging it. Some like the look of a hardcover on the shelves.

I’m a librarian. Dust jackets are there to protect the book. If you buy it for a library, you cover it in plastic - problem solved! And most hardcovers I read are borrowed from my local library. In fact, I’m reading one now, Barbara Hambly’s Drinking Gourd, the latest Ben January historical whodunnit. I just had to lug it with me, because I’m enjoying it so much, but I don’t often do this. Too heavy!

So, question answered and now - why buy a hardcover in the first place? They are more expensive - as a librarian, I have only ever bought them when kids were reading the series and they were on the CBCA shortlist. Some publishers, I’m quite sure, publish them that way around the time when the shortlist is announced so that you have to buy them! With a budget as tiny as mine, you try to get the best value out of it.

They are heavy. I can’t carry one around with me when I travel. Imagine being in the middle of an exciting story and having to leave it at home. And school kids also find it hard to take hardcovers home in their school bags.

They take up more space on the shelves. A bookworm like me needs to cram as many books as possible on the shelves.

BUT... they are more attractive. You can create special editions more easily than in paperback.

They are easier to read while eating. You can put your book down, open to your page, instead of having to hold it up with one hand and eat with the other. Or you can put it open on a book stand, like mine.

And they last! I have a tendency to read and reread favourites. My paperback copy of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather is just about to fall apart. I can cover it, which will help, but the pages will still fall out if I’m not careful. I do have it in ebook, but it’s sad!

So, those are some of my thoughts on hardcovers. I do have some on my shelves because they were on special at the time, or I got them for reviewing, but not many. And I’m largely moving to ebook, which I can carry in my tote bag by the hundred!

What do you think? Hardcover or paperback? Or both? 


Sarah Johnson said...

I'll happily read both, but if a book is hardcover, I'll remove the jacket before reading.

When I have the option of buying either one for the library collection, it will nearly always be the hardcover I get, since it will stay in good shape for longer, and the price difference (with the discount we get from our usual vendor in the US) isn't typically that much. This depends on the publisher, though.

I don't bring them along when traveling - too heavy and bulky!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, public libraries do usually buy hardcovers for that very reason: they last longer and you can land them out more often. I worked in a school library, though, and here, at least, hard covers cost a lot more than paperbacks.

miki said...

more paperback than hard cover because of the cost ( but some of my top favourite i will get both) but definitively keeping the cover on

Sue Bursztynski said...

Glad to know I’m not the only one to prefer paperback and keep the covers on hardbacks! ;)

Ashlea Daune said...

I definitely prefer paperback, but if I read hardcover I immediately take the cover off and stash it back on my shelf

Sue Bursztynski said...

Sounds like mike and I are in a minority! Welcome to my blog, Ashley!