Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hardcover vs. Paperback

In all of my years (4) of observing people and the way they handle relationships, there has been one opinion that has destroyed more friendships than it has created. I'm not talking about your petty religious views, and I'm not talking about rooting for red or blue when the election comes around. I am speaking of course, about which is better: hardcover or paperback books.
This dispute has been around for a few decades now, since paperback books became prominent in the fifties. Now this method of bookbinding is so popular and cheap that many companies are now printing books solely in paperback format, especially with new authors. But when you have the choice, what do you choose? I'm here to point out the pros and cons of each, followed by the giving of the ever-prestigious "Best Bookbinding Method" award.

Hardcover books:

-Looks better on a bookshelf. Maybe I'm just being shallow. But you gotta admit, it does.

-Lasts a whole lot longer. You never see any ancient paperback books in museums, am I right? These aren't bound with glue and paper. They are bound with glue, paper, and CLOTH. Fuck yeah, cotton!

-More expensive. Yes, hardcovers are usually almost 2-3 times more expensive than their soft-backed counterparts. Ah, the price we pay for beauty.
-Really difficult to read "on the go." This is especially true when you are trying to hold it up. Assuming you have the dust jacket on, it just keeps slipping out of it, like a well-oiled midget out of a burly man's arms.

-Has a dust jacket 99% of the time. I cannot tell you how much this bothers me when I am reading the book. Sure, books usually make you look a lot smarter when the dust jackets are off (Harry Potter, anyone?), but where should you put this piece of meticulously folded paper when it is not in use?
On the flip side, it looks a whole lot less boring when you put it on your bookshelf. It has colors, writing, and flashing lights with sound!

Paperback books:

-Smaller size. This one is clear and obvious. Who wants to lug around a 50 pound hardcover book, when you can get the featherweight one?
-Cheaper. Mass market paperbacks (the ones you see at supermarkets) cost around $7 nowadays. Cheeeeeeeeeap.

-Made of cheap materials, AKA won't last long. Like I said above, these don't last long. Most of them are made of the same material as newspaper (just slightly higher quality newspaper, like the New York Times!), and won't last over 10 years. I don't suppose a lot of people keep books for that long, but still.
-You look like a dolt. Yes, it looks like you jumped on that "Da Vinci Code" bandwagon a bit too late there, asswipe.
-The cover sticks up. Okay, I know this is sort of an odd one, but bear with me here. Have you ever noticed, when putting down a paperback book, that the cover infuriatingly demands to remain standing upwards at a 45-degree angle? And that no matter how hard you try, you cannot get rid of this paper cowlick? It's annoying as shit.

-They are all the same size, usually. This means that while your bookshelf looks nice and neat with no jagged tops, you look like a fucking freak for caring so much. Shame on you.

And the winner of the "Best Bookbinding Method award is...
Hardcover books, by a fucking long shot. Paperbacks are pretty much pussy versions of their bigger, badder counterparts. I mean, they look better in every light, will last forever, and make you look smart. If I could find a girlfriend like that, I'd be set.

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