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Soft cover vs hardback (or ebook)

If a book sounds exciting enough I'll always go for the hardback option if available. I feel more comfortable reading and display it with pride on my shelf. The main downside is the price is usually higher.

I'd much rather read a physical book than an ebook on my iPad.

What is everyone's thoughts? Do you prefer a soft cover, hardback or ebook.


  • Paperback all the way for me.

    Hardbacks are too expensive, also I read a lot when I'm out and about (bus, train etc) so they are too heavy.

    I don't like ebooks.
  • Ah, I can understand that. I would also rather have 2 good soft covers and 1 hardback. I rarely read when I'm out. I like to sit in the garden - or by the window if the weather is bad :)
  • or by the window if the weather is bad :)
    There's something really nice about reading a good book by the window when it's raining...

    Hard to describe. Just feels really cosy :)
  • For non fiction books I know I'm going to keep and refer to often, I'll get hardback if I can. Anything else is paperback or kindle.
  • Paperbacks are like seven-inch vinyl, something to be cherished - don't fold back the spine; bend over corners or write on the cover.
  • Never bought a novel in paperback in my life.

    Recipe books and the like, yes - ones I am going to use over and over again, but not a novel. I have only ever read one complete ebook though I've downloaded several - they just don't call to me like a physical copy.
  • I like hardback as the print is bigger! But they are harder to hold - except when it's a really big book, weirdly, i find holding open a long hardback much easier than the thumb-numbing hold for a thick paperback.

    I find ebooks irritating. I like a format that is static and consistent, although being able to change font size is wonderful. The only thing I really prefer reading on a reader are novels with a lot of references or translations that are in the back (great to be able to whizz straight to them and back to where the reference was at the beginning of the page).
  • I buy paperbacks because they are cheaper. I do prefer to see hardbacks on shelves, but I find them a bit heavy for my delicate little hands. ;;)

    Reading The Goldfinch was like doing a wrist workout and I had to put it down more often than I wanted to just because of its weight.
  • edited May 2015
    I like reference books in hardback, but otherwise it's a mixture of paperback and e-books.
  • I buy e-books for price and because I already have two houses full of as many books as they can hold! I wouldn't buy reference books in e-format though - I like to be able to handle them, and I'm much too independent to rely on a search mechanism other than my own eye.
    Cookery books - hardback for choice. If they are paperback I'll cover them in plastic. Still got my 1980s M&S family cookbook in good condition as a result.
    Paperback novels don't stand the test of time - the covers tear or detach themselves, the pages break loose, and you can't mend them (I used to work in a library and I tried).
    I look after my books well, but age isn't kind to glue. Hardbacks are stitched and so last longer, but they cost too much to be anything but birthday presents.
    Reading in a comfortable chair on a rainy day - heaven!
  • Is the paper a better quality in hardback? Paperbacks last a short time then the pages turn yellow. Not in favor of eBooks for myself, but it does give a cheaper option for readers.
  • Mrs Bear - I can beat that!
    I have my 1967 hardback copy of The Love of Cooking by Sonia Allison published by Collins. It had a brown paper cover for years which I have recently discarded in favour of Fablon left over from obscuring a window (like frosted glass) in the kitchen. Making a cuppa in the middle of the night when I wear nothing was a bit too much exposure at my age!

    I also have a softback copy of Australian Women's Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook which I believe dates back to the 70s. It gives you a whole balanced meal in each section and I have cooked an entire Chinese feast from their instructions.
  • I still have my 1976 copy of Good Housekeeping cookery book. Given to me by my parents when I left for Film School. Still look stuff up in it. but have to admit I don't really follow recipes - just throw stuff I have together to make sundry soups, casseroles etc. Buy home-made cakes from the WI.
  • My husband has a paperback cookery book that was ideal for students in the early 1970's, and we gave it to the son at uni to use.
  • My husband has a paperback cookery book that was ideal for students in the early 1970's, and we gave it to the son at uni to use.
  • I tend to read novels in paperback but if I find one I really like I'll then look out for the hardback in a charity shop or secondhand bookshop. By the time the paperback version is out there's usually somebody who's had a clear out and donated/sold a hardback in good condition.

    I've picked up quite a few mint, first-edition hardbacks of books I love in this way, and as I'm careful with my paperbacks I can often sell them on eBay or similar for a few quid, so that the overall cost isn't much different to buying the paperback and much less than having bought the hardback in the first place.

    There's something quite indulgent about reading a hardback book - I can't quite put my finger on it but it does feel like I'm reading "properly". HBs are a pain to lug about though, so they're strictly for home use!
  • I prefer reading in paperbacks too, because hardbacks are often too expensive and heavier to carry them in my purse (I always need a book in my purse!)… but although I own an ebook, which is far more easier to carry, I never use it ;) reading on it is rather uncomfortable for me and it gives me the wrong feeling…
  • If I'm keen to get my hands on something I've been waiting for, I will stump up the HB cost (though it hurts more when I fall asleep reading in bed and it bonks me on the nose!). Otherwise, perfectly happy with a PB that carries a lovely smell of print and can be roughed up. I don't like ebooks.
  • I missed this thread when it first appeared!
    I never buy new novels in hardback - only reference books. I tried a Kindle because it was convenient to travel with but I never really liked it and it's now stuffed away in a drawer. For this reason, I would never consider publishing an e-book only.

    I also have a softback copy of Australian Women's Weekly Dinner Party Cookbook which I believe dates back to the 70s. It gives you a whole balanced meal in each section and I have cooked an entire Chinese feast from their instructions.
    I've got one of those! :)
  • I prefer e-book by a country mile! I've read hundreds on it and absolutely love the convenience of them.

    I read when I eat my breakfast, sit on the edge of the shower, in bed with the light off, on the bus when I can't take the motorbike, even have done on dog walks round the fields (not good for dodging poop).

    I find all this is made super easy by the fact they're so light and how the page can turn at the slide of a thumb.

    Also it means many books can be carried at the same time and usually at a discounted price. On holidays they are especially handy. As well as the fact the battery lasts about a month with heavy use.

    I must confess though, if I read a book and fall in love with it, I have to buy a hard copy to add to the book shelf in my spare room; just so I can open them back up at any page and remember why I fell in love with them.

    P.s - In boring art history lectures the kindle is easy to disguise as a random pad on your desk :p
  • I misread the name of the TBer starting this thread as

    Writings of the Melon.
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