Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks


Photo Credit: Out of Print

 I’m pretty sure I’ve written about every logical book related question you can think of. Print v. e-books. Standalone novels v. series. Types of e-readers. Different genres. And a million others I honestly can’t think of right now because I’ve written way too many posts to remember each one. I’ve had this question on my little docket for some time now. I don’t know if I was saving it for any particular day or what, but it’s been waiting to be written and now I guess it’s happening.

So, hardcover v. paperback. I think I typically list out some of the positives of each choice whenever I write these comparison posts, so might as well get to it.


I have to be honest here. I’m not seeing a long list of positives for hardcovers. They’re way overpriced it’s not even funny. I mean, I love books as much or more than the next person but I am not okay with spending $29.95 for a book. No. Thankfully, Amazon and other retailers often slash the price of hardcovers immediately. But if they’re not new or bestsellers, then you better pull out your wallet. I don’t even pay that much for Blu-rays. Hm. Let’s see. They’re also bulky. They can potentially be used as weapons in the event of nothing better. They take up a lot of room on the shelf. And I can’t be the only one who hates those stupid dust jacket covers that always want to slide off while I’m trying to read. So annoying. Oh wait, I was supposed to list the positives here. Okay. If you’re lucky enough to meet an author, they much prefer to sign hardcovers over paperbacks. I don’t know why, maybe larger pages?


Now this may be a bit more positive. Let’s see. They’re typically less than half the price of the hardcover edition. Don’t forget it is the exact same book. They’re much easier to carry around if you’re into that sort of thing (I take my books to my bed and nowhere else.) They’re easier to store on your shelf.  In my opinion, they’re more pleasing to admire on said shelf. Easier to hold while reading. And I have more paperbacks signed by authors than hardcovers. So there. The only real negative is that they’re often released almost a year after the hardcover. Stupid publishers.

For the sake of this post I tallied up my books so I could provide some concrete evidence about what I think of this little question here. I have 175 books. 41 hardcovers. 134 paperbacks. Hm sorry Big Five. Not really.

So tell me which side of the fence you fall on. I’m obviously having trouble seeing any reason to have shelves full of hardcovers, maybe you’ll offer some insight.

30 thoughts on “Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks

  1. mmm I love both… LOL… I find a hardcover isn’t just a book, its also a piece of art, and I love those glossy covers, the way the colour pops from its face. As for the softcopy, well it’s more like an old friend, it immediately settles on a table, a chair, a locker, a shelf. Both are books though and so long as the story is captivating, ill read/buy either!

    PS I do prefer signing a hardcopy over a softcopy… there’s just something about it!


  2. I prefer paperbacks because of the lower price and lesser weight.

    I guess for style purposes, hardcovers can be nice (I only own 2 hardcover books that are painted, so this second statement is only based on what I own).


      • I have hardcover books that are printed with some sort of gold ink. I call it paint (I could be wrong) because if they are stored in areas that are humid or warm, the paint can melt or smear–it happened to one of my hardcover books that I used to own.


  3. Hardbacks are nice to look at, but I hate reading them. And I always remove the dust jacket while I’m reading because I’m very particular about how they look. They have to stay looking like new. So paperbacks for me.


  4. Every so often, I enjoy a hardback book. Sometimes I like the feel and they can take a lot more rereadings than a paperback. But, for the most part, I prefer the paperback, for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. Every so often, there’s something about reading a big ol’ hardback that I enjoy, but a paperback fits in the hand better, takes up less space, and is incredibly more portable. Paperbacks are going to make it onto my shelf more often, but I won’t say no to a good priced hardback, either (used book store has this marked down to two dollars? Sign me up!).

    All in all, though, hardback, paperback, it’s a book, right? I’ll read it!


    • Yep. More than half of my hardcovers were bet at like 85% off. I’d actually go searching in the “Bargain Books” section at my Barnes and Noble just for those. The only bad thing was that for some reason those books often disappeared and still showed up as being in stock. But true, a book is a book.


  5. Hardbacks looks so nice on the shelf, but that’s not what books are meant for 🙂 Paperbacks are cheaper, lighter, and easier to read. You can open them up and go. Hardbacks are so bulky and hard to read when you’re reclining.


  6. Ack, I’m in the minority here falling squarely on the side of hardbacks. Why, you ask? First, one of my lifelong goals is to have a room (or at least one really big wall) of floor to ceiling bookshelves, and I just always imagined them covered with hardbacked books. Second, I re-read books so much I have torn the front cover on many paperback books, which just annoys me. I do think the hardbacked ones are more durable. At least the covers. Lastly, being the owner of several hardback books that are really old, I just love the way the look – from the gold embossed lettering to the grainy feel of the jackets; it just adds something for me.


    • Oooh. I pretty much want a library in my house at some point. But I’m okay with the shelves lined with paperbacks. I think you’re sctiskky the only one on your side of the question. Way to say no to peer pressure! Haha


  7. I love my paperbacks. And because they’re much more reasonable priced I have no problem updating my collection when some of my more read loves get a worn around the edges. I have a few hardbacks – but seriously they take up so much ROOM! And I rarely actually read them. The only one that’s like serious important to me is the one I have signed by the author Patricia Briggs. I would get hardbacks to be signed – and proudly display them! But for my everyday enjoyment of reading (and bank account) – paperbacks all the way!


  8. I prefer paperbacks because they’re cheaper and less bulky. If I really love a book, I’ll buy a hardcover version to keep nice and read the paperback.
    What I hate more than hardbacks is the first version of a paperback that publishers release! The great big, bulky hardback-but-not-hardback version. Just… no.


  9. Economics forces me to go for the ebook, paperback and hardcover, in that order. Given my ‘druthers, I would love to sit in a library full of tall oak bookshelves housing hardcover after hardcover book. Wine would be a given. That said, some books are just “supposed” to be paperback. I’m thinking mass market fiction, which I also love. They’re more of a coffee event, though. And there’s nothing wrong with that!


  10. Definitely prefer paperbacks. The price doesn’t really both me. I just find paperbacks much lighter to carry and easier to hold when I’m reading. The only advantage to a hardcover is that’s good to lean on when you’re trying to write!


  11. Hardcovers are much harder to destroy (minus the dust jackets, of course, which my wife always bends out of shape by using them for bookmarks). I do carry my books everywhere- and I used to walk over a mile, one way, to work every day- so hardcovers were much more of a commitment. While lighter weight editions usually got read faster, the paperbacks also got a lot more beat up.

    The best compromise, I found, was a boxed set of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, split into three paperback volumes. It gave you the advantage of the easy-to-travel paperbacks with the nice, solid display box.


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