Musing Mondays: hardback or paperback?

I saw this question, and it got me thinking:

Do you prefer hardcovers, trade paperbacks (the bigger ones), or mass market paperbacks (the smaller ones)? Why?

Once upon a time, my answer to this would have come readily: mass market paperbacks, because they were cheaper and easier to handle. These days, it’s less clear-cut, as I’ve come to appreciate hardcovers and trade paperbacks more. I won’t deny that books in those bulkier formats are trickier to read; but there’s something about sitting down with a hardback especially that can give reading — well, ‘a sense of occasion’ is the best way I can think of putting it.

Actually, my favourite format of book is not listed in the question — it’s a mid-sized paperback, or smaller cased hardcover, which are less unwieldy whilst retaining that feeling of being special. I guess I appreciate books as artefacts more than I used to, but practicality is nice to have as well.


  1. Depends. Authors I collect, I want the hardback. Everything else, massmarket or A-format paperbacks are preferred.

  2. I don’t like hardback books – I only have 2 – both of which are collectors editions. I like the larger paperback and mass market. I’m slowly moving into books where value permits.

  3. I like mass paperback. They fit in your hands easily, no sore hands for the most part because of that. This lets me read more comfortable, like when i lay down and don’t have to hold a big heavy book. paperbacks are easier, comfier, and cheaper , whats not to love? i wishh paperbacks were released first before hardcovers so i wouldn’t have to wait a year to buy the paperback.

  4. I agree they all have their pluses, but I like the mass market by far the least. Type too small, spines crack, awkward to hold, too expensive for their cheap paper.

    Hey, welcome to MM!

  5. Depends. I want the hardback for collections and those books I know I will keep for years ( or forever)

    Everything else, massmarket paperbacks. Love the size they feel right, Trade paper backs are to big! and for that might as well get a hard cover.

    Also Mass market are all the same height! so they all fit nicely on the shelf,

  6. Massmarket paperbacks for sure! They fit so nicely in your hand and their pages have a velvety feel. After they’ve been used for a bit their corners get rounded and it feels like your best friend.

    For display purposes though; books I don’t read as often such as classics, I like to have hardcover cloth bound on my shelf.

  7. Depends I will buy hardbacks of books that I know I’ll most likely reread a lot, or that I collect. Paperbacks I get for travel reading or at work for lunch breaks, or as gifts to get others interested in authors I like. The best though is the large format books that have combined a trilogy, sometimes it’s just so nice to have that next book as handy as the next page.

  8. I love books period, but I prefer hard cover for re-read ability. They tend to stand the test of time, at least for me, and paperbacks are fine if that’s all I can find– but durability is the issue. I like to take a book with me where ever I go, and I know that most of the time the hard cover can resist dog-ears and the occasional page rip.

  9. Trade paperbacks are perfect. Hardcovers are too heavy to carry around and mass-markets lack the nice design elements and feel of the trades.

  10. Mass markey paperback,

    so I can put them in my pocket to carry round and read when i get a few moments

  11. Trade paperbacks. A lot of thought is put into the design of the covers. Also, they’re cheaper than hardbacks.

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