Trading up to Hardcovers – Which do you do?

Are you like me in that you might buy a book more than once? I’ve bought books on Kindle that I later wanted to own a physical copy of, and so I did. I also have certain books that I happen to have the soft cover version and am slowly exchanging them for the hardcover, primarily first edition versions.

If so, what makes you do so? Here are some of the reasons for me, and I’d love to hear yours.

Kindle to Physical

Usually this happens when a book’s been recommended to me and it was on sale, so I got it. After falling in love with it, I wanted to loan it out and couldn’t. I’ve actually bought physical copies so I can loan them.

The other times it’s happened is when, back in my early Kindle days, I didn’t realize I don’t like research or writing craft books on my Kindle. I just can’t seem to ingest them as well as the physical version. Now I always buy the hard copy of writing and research books. Something about the tactile nature helps me learn. I also can’t have two places open at once and mark it up with arrows, stars and drawings that help me understand the concept better.

Softcover to Hardcover

These are for the authors I really love and I discovered partway or after their hardcovers were first published. Slowly I’m replacing my softcovers for the hardcover and preferably first edition. I’ve almost got all of Ann Rice’s paranormal fiction in first edition, hardcover, and am working on Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Phillip K. Dick, and Christopher Moore.

I know I’m not alone in this as I work in an independent bookstore and we’ve been noticing a trend–some folks are coming after having read a book on their eReader and wanting to get the hardcover version (not the softcover), so we’ve been making sure to stock hardcover commercial fiction and noticing it sells better than their mass market paperback versions (which I think is what the eReaders are replacing).

This is why I don’t think physical books will go the way of the Dodo. They might be reduced in print runs, but I think they’ll always be around because too many people like the physicality of owning one, and running their hands over them, and smelling them, and just giving a big sigh when they gaze at their bookshelves.

What do you think? Which softcover or ebooks are you exchanging for hardcover?

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5 Comments

  1. I prefer printed books. I mostly buy paperbacks, but will buy hardcover versions of classics. Usually because 1) the paperback I have is wearing out, 2) the paperback is not in the store and the hardcover is, or 3) the hardcover is so pretty! I’ve always wanted that library filled with gorgeous hardcover books with the gilt lettering and page edges. The ones that look like they’re bound in leather but it’s really some vinyl-hybrid-thing masquerading as leather.

    I also prefer paperbacks to loan out to others. I keep at least one paperback copy of each Jane Austen novel on hand to loan or gift to others. I have a lovely hardcover of P&P and one with all six novels plus Lady Susan.

    Reply
  2. I love my Kindle and actually prefer to read on it. Likewise with research material. For a while I was traveling so much, it was easier to take it with me.

    Reply
    • I hear you! It’s been interesting to see how I’ve used my Kindle over time and what I get on it and what I don’t. I wouldn’t give it up (well, except to trade it for a tablet) as there’s some things I prefer to do on it. One thing I hadn’t anticipated was loading my fellow writers’ Beta MS on there to critique, and I also put my own on there for quick read-throughs during different revision stages. I also like that on cold nights I can turn the page without taking my hand out from beneath the covers :)

      Reply
  3. Me too! I love to have hardback versions of all my favorites. Sometimes when I’m not sure if I’ll like a book or I’m on the fence about reading it I’ll buy the Kindle version because it’s cheaper. Whenever it’s something I really love, I almost always go out and buy the book later!

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