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Hardback or Paperback? Oh the sexiness of a spine crease…

June 12th 2021

Before you ask, yes I am aware that this is a touchy subject among book lovers.

There are several factors at play here:

Opening a book.

Oh the difference between opening a hardback book and a paperback. The creak as the woven spine bends, the flutter of the cover page…the anticipation. [Didn’t mean that to sound erotic, but apparently it does]. Just not the same with the paperback.

Then again, there is a certain hedonism in ruthlessly cracking the spine of a paperback, splitting the glue (and running your thumbnail over it to make sure the pages are properly bent back) and seeing your progress through the book marked on the spine. And that way that a properly read paperback never quite shuts again, taking on a new form like memory foam remembers the shape of its master.

Opening – pt 2.

I’m sorry, but we’re just not done on this subject yet.

Anyone else noticed how opening a hardback is like opening a door into a new world? You open the cover towards you and know that your world is about to change. My spine tingles at the thought.

Ease of handling

Nope, not talking about road-testing a new Aston Martin; I’m here for a conversation about the hand-feel of a book. I have two important observations to make:

Hardback: it’s commanding and authoritative but let’s be realistic, it requires a lap. Makes reading a HB in the bath rather difficult – and rather straining on the arms lying on your back in bed.

The paperback: there is of course only one correct way to hold a paperback: bent back on itself in one hand, with the other holding a glass of [insert here beverage of choice. Mine’s a Laphroaig if you’re asking. One lump of ice.]

Page-keeping.

This is where those weirdos who can’t bare a spine crack find themselves as unstuck as the glue holding a paperback together. Not going to mark your place with a spine crease? Detest folded corners [my personal favourite is the bottom corner folded right to the middle of the spine], well then, I’m sorry but you’ve bought bookmarks upon yourself. Woe betides you when you drop your book and the mark slips out and you spend half a night re-reading chapter 36. You brought it upon yourself.

Hardbacks – I’m sorry, but the use of a dust jacket as a page-marker is just dirty. Any hardback given me without a ribbon is an abomination.

Stashability

Sorry hardbacks, but PBs have you panting on the ropes in this fight. 'Handbag- friendly' is not your moniker.

Immediacy

Anyone who can wait for a PB to come out after the HB release has more willpower than I do.

I wonder though – is waiting on the PB like watching Hamilton from the Restricted View seats two years after the time you could have watched it from the front row on the opening night? Yes, it cost you less my friend, but was it worth it?

Interruptability

Now, this is crucial. Reader, over many years I have perfected the technique. Hold a hardback up high for maximum face coverage; even better, remove the dust jacket and you’ll look even more academic – basically the literary equivalent of hanging a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign around your neck. Much better than ‘oh, she’s reading a paperback. I’ll just ask her if she wants to socialise like any other normal member of humanity’.

Other uses:

Hardbacks – stack them up for a laptop stand; remove the dust jacket and make a to-do list on the front (it’ll make you feel guilty every time you read-procrastinate); door wedge and so many more.

Paperback – more flexibility to use as a table wedge for unsteady legs. Impromptu chair.


Final thoughts –

Let’s be real a second here. Am I likely to turn down a book if it lacks solid covers, or it’s got a bendy spine? No. Me without a book is like a fish without water.

Put only the best books (hardback and paperback!) on your shelves today. Browse the LoveMyRead shop.

Happy reading!

Vicki & The LoveMyRead Team x

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