hardback bookThere are very few books out there I will buy in hardback. Hardbacks have several severe disadvantages, mainly:

  • They are big, and don’t fit into my handbag.
  • They are heavy, and I don’t like to carry them in my handbag or have my arms tire when I hold them for a longer time.
  • They take up more space on my shelves than they need to.
  • They are expensive.

(Actually, all of these objections apply to trade paperbacks, too. Guess what my opinion of trade paperbacks is ;-)).

And yet … with some authors I just can’t resist the temptation to buy and read their latest book the very second it’s out. In some cases, this is right in the middle of a series, and then it looks silly on the shelves when a row of neat paperbacks is suddenly dwarfed by a hardback giant (I sort my books by author.) In some cases, I return to paperback issues when an author has disappointed me a bit, or when I’ve lost the fanatic urge to read everything by her ASAP (see above). In this case, my shelf looks like this: Six paperbacks, three hardbacks, then another five paperbacks. It looks untidy, and worse, it wastes shelf space.

So who are the authors I’m reading in hardback? There’s Terry Pratchett, whom I’ve been buying in hardback since 1997 (the turning point was Jingo – I just adore anything with Sam Vimes in it), and Diana Wynne Jones, since 2000. Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series is a must in hardback, as are Meg Cabot’s YA novels in trade paperback.

With mysteries, I mostly resist hardbacks. I bought two of Lindsay Davis’ Falco mysteries in hardback, but have returned to paperback editions since. And I got the first Adelia Aguilar novel by Ariana Franklin in hardback – mostly because I came across it in a bookshop in Cambridge, England – but buy the other volumes in paperback now. I love these series, but I’m fine with reading the books a year later. I will be sorely tempted when the latest book by Julia Spencer-Fleming comes out, however!

As for romance proper, the main author that comes to mind for me is Lauren Willig, and with her I only caved in this year. I am still resisting Mary Balogh (probably made easier because I have most of her backlist, which is a lot of books). I just might have to buy the sequel to The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook in trade paperback format next year, though. Just sayin’.

Fortunately, and I am not entirely tongue-in-cheek here, the publishers of other favorite authors of mine have not yet realized they might make some more money from me by choosing the hardback format.

What about eBooks? I freely admit to being stingy here. There is no way (yet) I will buy an eBook for the price of a hardback. Even eBooks priced like trade paperbacks are an absolute exception for me so far, and I don’t see this changing in the near future.

What are your buying habits regarding hardbacks and trade paperbacks? Which authors do you buy in these formats? And how do you feel about hardback and trade prices for eBooks?

– Rike Horstmann

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I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.