Before the debate of a physical book versus an e-book began, there was the discussion about paperbacks versus hardbacks. Were the cheaper, flimsier copies better than the rigid, bulky ones? Or was the durability and aesthetic of hardbacks worth the extra money?
As an avid reader and a contributor to this discussion multiple times, I still do not favor one type over the other. I have been a bookworm ever since I was in third grade and honestly, eight years of reading haven’t clarified if one type is better than the other. However, there are definite advantages and disadvantages to each form that I have learned over the years. Paperbacks are usually cheaper, and much more portable. I tried to take two hardbacks with me on a trip once and it felt like I was breaking my back the entire time. On the other hand though, hardbacks are much more durable. I used to take books to my swim competitions and I was much less worried about ruining my hardbacks than my paperbacks since the covers cannot get ripped or damaged like paperbacks, and water damage typically does not affect them as much. Over the years, I’ve managed to compile a pros and cons list for each format, despite the fact that I haven’t chosen a side.
Paperbacks v Hardbacks
If you need help deciding which type of book is better for you, try this short quiz!
Which Type of Book is Better for You?Do you like to travel with books?
A - Yes!
B - No!
Are you on a bit of a budget when it comes to shopping for books?
A - Yes!
B - No!
Do you organize your books in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing?
A - Nope!
B - Yes!
Do you like to reread books?
A - Nope!
B - Yes!
If you got mainly As: You’re most likely going to favor paperbacks. They’re easier to travel with and cheaper. You probably don’t care how aesthetically pleasing your bookshelves appear, so the damage that your paperbacks get won’t matter that much.
If you got mainly Bs: You’re most likely going to favor hardbacks. You enjoy an aesthetically pleasing bookcase and the durability of books is important for your rereads. You may not prefer to travel with books, so the extra weight that hardbacks have won’t bother you.
If you got the same number for both As & Bs: You can go either way with your preference. It may depend on the situation or even the book, so keep experimenting with both types to see which one you prefer!
Choosing if you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks is not a decision you have to make if you don't want to; I still have not chosen a side. However, knowing what type of reader you are and knowing the type of book that best suits your preferences can go a long way in clearing the confusion between which is better. The most important thing is to just keep reading, whether it be by hardback, paperback, or e-book, or audio book. You won’t really know which version you enjoy most until you experiment with all of the different types. You may think that you’re going to prefer the comfort of a physical book but then fall in love with e-books or audio books. Remember to keep an open mind about the different types and to not refuse to try a new version because you don’t think you’re going to like it as well. Books can always surprise you!
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