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  • Hard or Soft?

    For those of you who are like me and collect books for your personal library, I have a question. If you have the choice between a hard cover copy or a trade paperback copy which do you prefer or does it matter to you?


  • #2
    Depends on the purpose.

    I travel alot so hard covers are an issue, they get crushed and crooked and lose their grace, on the other hand nothing beats the feeling of an old hard cover book with that dusty smell...

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    • #3
      My choice is usually based around cost. I have thousands of books, if I just cannot wait for something new, I will pay full price for the hardcover. If it is an older read, if I can find a paperback, I do. Many years back I worked in a bookstore and we would throw old books out, tear off the front cover to send back to the publisher. We were free to take these coverless paperbacks if we wanted them. Needless to say I have an entire section of paperbacks with the front cover ripped off .

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      • #4
        hard cover

        For my personal library: hard cover feels so much better!

        But as already mentioned: when traveling, paperbacks tend to be more practical and while freshly published they tend to be a lot cheaper.
        However, when browsing through a second hand book store: hard cover all the time
        Occasionally I find myself replacing paperbacks from my library by hard covers.
        Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 29 Mar 10, 02:42.
        BoRG

        You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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        • #5
          Missy,

          Some of the best books in my Library (it is this big!) are softcover. I found them while browsing in bookstores. I was in heaven when we visited the Pentagon and they had a bookstore in the basement at the subway entrance! I have also fell in love and bought hard cover volumes. Six months after I paid $49.95 for Shelby Stanton's Vietnam book, the price fell to $19.95. I was sad, but still glad I bought the book.

          I still pick up a few books on the bargain rack at Books a Million or Barnes and Noble.

          Would I replace any of my soft covers for hard back? Possibly depending on the book. I would if I could track down the hard bound version of George McDonald Fraser's McAusland short stories. If I have the money, I will pay it. The main problem is after a while if a book survives and is re-printed they usually go soft cover.

          It all depends on you and your space. I have outgrown the shelves of my library and am "hiding" books all over the house.This is bad because my 73 book collection of Conan is spread all over the house. I have not seen certain Command magazines in several years...Thank God I am divorced and don't have to please a second party.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
            Missy,

            Some of the best books in my Library (it is this big!) are softcover. I found them while browsing in bookstores. I was in heaven when we visited the Pentagon and they had a bookstore in the basement at the subway entrance! I have also fell in love and bought hard cover volumes. Six months after I paid $49.95 for Shelby Stanton's Vietnam book, the price fell to $19.95. I was sad, but still glad I bought the book.

            I still pick up a few books on the bargain rack at Books a Million or Barnes and Noble.

            Would I replace any of my soft covers for hard back? Possibly depending on the book. I would if I could track down the hard bound version of George McDonald Fraser's McAusland short stories. If I have the money, I will pay it. The main problem is after a while if a book survives and is re-printed they usually go soft cover.

            It all depends on you and your space. I have outgrown the shelves of my library and am "hiding" books all over the house.This is bad because my 73 book collection of Conan is spread all over the house. I have not seen certain Command magazines in several years...Thank God I am divorced and don't have to please a second party.

            Pruitt
            You might be in luck with the MacAuslan stories, only a fortnight ago I borrowed a hardcover copy of 'MacAuslan in the Rough' from my local library. They had to dig it out from the stack though, It had not been opened for may a year. I have found a few good secondhand hardcover books and early editions for sale online, no nasty suprises so far. As for me, I generally prefer paperbacks, even for reference books, this would be a hangover from my cheapskate student days.
            One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

            "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
            Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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            • #7
              In a personal library of well over 6,000 books, I have had two trends in the last 15 years: hard to soft and new to used. The first trend is for space and weight considerations. The second trend is purely fiscal.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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              • #8
                Most of my history books are hard cover - hard covers come out before soft covers and I am impatient.

                Most of my reading is done on the train - my daily commute is 1 hour 45 minutes and though heavier I find it easier to read a hardback in a confined space.
                Last edited by Surrey; 29 Mar 10, 14:23.
                "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                • #9
                  Chukka,

                  They actually have a hard bound issue with all three volumes in it. THAT is what I have my eye on!

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Golani View Post
                    Depends on the purpose.

                    I travel alot so hard covers are an issue, they get crushed and crooked and lose their grace
                    For someone who both reads and travels a lot I am surprised this didn't occur to me before you said it. You are right, paperback travels better.

                    Originally posted by Babbadoo11M View Post
                    My choice is usually based around cost. I have thousands of books, if I just cannot wait for something new, I will pay full price for the hardcover. If it is an older read, if I can find a paperback, I do. Many years back I worked in a bookstore and we would throw old books out, tear off the front cover to send back to the publisher. We were free to take these coverless paperbacks if we wanted them. Needless to say I have an entire section of paperbacks with the front cover ripped off .
                    I am familiar with the practice of stripping books. When I was a teenager I worked for a book store and ended up with a bunch of these myself. Over time most have been discarded, but I think I have some language books around still that don't have a cover.

                    These days I buy a lot of books, but rarely new. I love Amazon market place and bookfinder.

                    Originally posted by MajorSennef View Post
                    For my personal library: hard cover feels so much better!

                    But as already mentioned: when traveling, paperbacks tend to be more practical and while freshly published they tend to be a lot cheaper.
                    However, when browsing through a second hand book store: hard cover all the time
                    Occasionally I find myself replacing paperbacks from my library by hard covers.
                    More and more I find myself replacing soft covers with hard covers when i can find them at a good price. Like you, I think I like the feel of hard covers in my library more. From a decor standpoint they also look better on the shelves.


                    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                    Missy,
                    Would I replace any of my soft covers for hard back? Possibly depending on the book.

                    It all depends on you and your space. I have outgrown the shelves of my library and am "hiding" books all over the house.This is bad because my 73 book collection of Conan is spread all over the house. I have not seen certain Command magazines in several years...Thank God I am divorced and don't have to please a second party.

                    Pruitt
                    As I said above, it is a new thing for me to be replacing soft cover with hard cover. You are right, I wouldn't do this with every book I have, but with the ones on important subjects I feel compelled to do so when I have a chance.

                    I too have had the problem of books all over the place because I have run out of shelf space. But in my house I am going to have one room renovated into a library and hopefully this will solve this once and for all.

                    Originally posted by Chukka View Post
                    I have found a few good secondhand hardcover books and early editions for sale online, no nasty suprises so far. As for me, I generally prefer paperbacks, even for reference books, this would be a hangover from my cheapskate student days.
                    Like you, I used to only buy paper backs because of the price. Now whenever I replace a paper back with a hard cover I think about the wasted money.

                    There are some really good used book stores around here that started feeding my habit a few years ago. But now all the easy titles have been purchased and I have no other choice but to go online for much of what I want because they are harder to find books. I have had very good luck with online purchasing though. I can't say enough good things about the online used book sources.

                    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                    In a personal library of well over 6,000 books, I have had two trends in the last 15 years: hard to soft and new to used. The first trend is for space and weight considerations. The second trend is purely fiscal.
                    6000 books

                    OK, you win.

                    I thought I had a lot of books. I am not even in the race.

                    Originally I was worried about weight, but I work for a construction company and they help me with my remodels. They assure me that weight will not be an issue once they are finished with the library.

                    While I was never into buying new hardcovers because of the price, I do find myself now drawn more to the used hardcovers over used paper backs. So much so that I have slowly even replaced some paper backs. But sometimes this makes me feel foolish, which is why I posted this question in the first place. Because even though I buy almost everything I want used, there still is often a difference in price on the used market between hard and soft cover. So even used I spend more than I would have to if I bought soft most of the time. Every now and then you find the hard cover cheaper than the soft, but that is rare.

                    I like the feel of hardcovers and the suggestion of durability they give. Although I recognize they may be no more durable.

                    I also like the way they lay open. This is important for books used for reference. Which is something I do a lot. Along the same lines I find it easier to thumb through hard backs.

                    As I mentioned above, from a design standpoint they also look better on the shelves.

                    There is no question that I have a preference for hard covers for everything except travel, but there is definitely a down side.

                    They cost more usually, even used. They take up more space which is a big issue if you have a lot of books like I do. They do add quite a bit of load to the floor. They don't travel well.

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                    • #11
                      New books tend to be soft cover, simply due to cost. I prefer reference books to be hardcover, given the choice, but more than happy with a softcover novel.

                      When it comes to antique books a used paperback is like an old friend, while a used hardback is like a fountain of wisdom . I don't know if anyone else gets this difference, but sometimes I feel books have a lifeforce of sorts .
                      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                      Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                      • #12
                        I never prefer softcover ever. it's what I accept only when forced.

                        Most of my collection of soft cover is that way only due their being found as second hand.
                        Life is change. Built models for decades.
                        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                        I didn't for a long time either.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          I don't know if anyone else gets this difference, but sometimes I feel books have a lifeforce of sorts .
                          Ah-h-h, we are kindred souls.
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                            Ah-h-h, we are kindred souls.
                            Yes, Nick is like the German General Staff: he is more than he appears
                            BoRG

                            You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                              When it comes to antique books a used paperback is like an old friend, while a used hardback is like a fountain of wisdom . I don't know if anyone else gets this difference, but sometimes I feel books have a lifeforce of sorts .
                              I like those kinds of softcover book that sort of roll open. Maybe they are plastic covers? Certainly not paper which loses its shape when you roll it. I think you see a lot of travel bibles with this kind of cover?

                              Anyway, this is the kind of cover I think of when you say "antique paperback". These nice books that you just curl open and nestle in your palm.

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