Friday, June 05, 2009

Hardback Horror

One of my favorite authors published a book early last month, and the first run was all hardback bound. As I refuse to purchase hardback books (unless they're textbooks, and I'm done buying those), I'm stuck in the waiting cycle for the paperback version to come out. In some cases, that takes a year! So I wait.

Why don't paperbacks come out at the same time as hardbacks? Do people really spend the money on hardback volumes of books they're simply going to read one time? Does the author make much money off the hardbacks versus paperbacks? Or is it all a scheme for the publishing companies?

I'm to the point now where I'll wait for remainder books to arrive at the Book Bin in town so I can get the cheaper paperbacks. They're the first-run paperbacks that the big stores don't sell in the first couple weeks, kind of like the left-over copies of movies when Blockbuster orders fifty for the first few weeks but only needs to stock one or two copies long-term.

Not to mention the environmental impact hardcover binding has... oh my. In a day with electronic books and tech-savvy people, we're still binding books with cardboard or chip-board and leather or suede. I find it mildly disturbing to see such a volume of trees wasted on the covers of books that people end up throwing away. A family Bible is one thing, but "John's Great Bathroom Reader" doesn't exactly need to live for all eternity.

I always have a hard time keeping hard-bound books open. They like to "magically" close on me when I set them down. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a book-folder-over... that's just not right. I do, however, like it when my books don't force themselves closed while I'm reading. They're heavy, too!

I know someone could quip back with, "why don't you go to the library?" The library is a great place to find books! However, sometimes I do want to keep a copy of a book I particularly like. In those cases, I seek out paperbacks. Additionally, I always donate books I'm done with, often trading them in at the Book Bin for a little cash--that usually goes toward buying more books.

Still, I'm bummed that I can't get the book I've been wanting in paperback. It's frustrating. Maybe it's me, maybe I'm alone in this quest... do you prefer hardbacks or paperbacks?


Aaron said...

The book is probably available for $10 right now on the Kindle.

It's a big up-front investment, but worth it if you read a lot. In the long-term it's greener, too.

MissKris said...

If my daughter's room is any indication...and the bins and boxes stashed in the basement...yes, people actually DO buy hardbacks. I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to how many books she has. A couple thousand? And she loves to go to book signings and has met many wonderful authors. She's currently writing a book of her own and it's amazing how kind and supportive the writing community is in helping someone who so seriously wants to become a published author, too. I used to have hundreds of books around the house, too, 'til I got sick of dusting them all. I keep a few favorites. Then, like you, I buys a lot of used paperbacks especially and donate them to the library when I'm done. I find a lot of good books at Goodwills and Value Village, most for $1.99 each.