Friday, June 20, 2008

A confession

I found this article interesting: Why I Hate Second Hand Books. I am a book snob in my own way, so I can relate to some of his points about used, creased, stained copies bought for cheap at a second-hand store or borrowed from the library. Luckily, the books I have checked out of my local library have been in excellent shape, clean and unsmeared, but I would be furious if I bought a used book with missing pages or chapters! I definitely understand the appeal of a brand new, crisp and clean book.

You see, I am a hardcover snob. If I have an option, I am spending the extra money and going for the sturdy binding and the dust jacket, extra weight and all. I have resigned myself to trade paperbacks, if only because it seems that many books aren't even released in hardcover anymore and the discount nature of chain bookstores makes it difficult if not impossible to find my old standbys. I will NOT, however, reduce myself to mass-market paperbacks in any but the most dire circumstances. The cheap onion-skin paper, the bad ink, crooked printing, flimsy covers; for me, it really detracts from the whole experience of settling into a favorite spot with a cup of coffee, my cherished book in hand, one of the lovely bookmarks I have collected marking my page. It's not just the reading - I could listen to an audiobook, buy a Kindle, read a book on my computer screen - it's also the ritual, the relaxation, the absorption in the story, as well as admiring my old favorites in their lovely jackets, lined up on my bookshelves.

4 comments:

lyzadanger said...

I deeply understand where you're coming from, though I don't mind all used books (then again, I live in Portland, Ore., where we have the largest new & used bookstore in the world so there's a very good selection). I hear you about mass market paperbacks. I can't stand the dense print, the way the ink bleeds into the cheap paper.

I tend to be attracted by hardbacks, too, but a handsome trade paperback can make my day, as well.

Lisa said...

Oh, I don't mind all used books - a vintage hardcover can be a great addition to the library. Trade paperbacks have gotten much nicer over the years (and are worlds better than the nasty mass market options) and they certainly help stretch my book budget!

Lenore said...

I really like trade paperbacks - I like the thickness of the paper covers, the crisp pages, the size and the design. I hate mass market paperbacks too. But what I hate the most is when the spine is creased!! I won't buy any books in that condition and I hate it when people borrow my books and give them back with creases. They are off the borrowing list FOREVER.
YA, MG, and PB hardbacks are great. Especially with picture books, paperback just doesn't appeal to me.

melinda said...

I like paperbacks because hardcovers are so darned heavy!