My Hatred of Hardbacks

01/02/2018 Discussions, Reading 41

My Hatred of Hardbacks

Ok, so I feel like I might be a bit weird in this respect, but I’m going to come right out and say it: I really dislike hardback books.

Yes, they look nice on your shelf and are much sturdier than paperbacks, but there are a number of reasons for my hatred of hardbacks:

  • They’re so unwieldy.

Hardback books are bigger and much more unwieldy than paperback books in my opinion, and are just much harder to read. You can’t open them as wide or as flat as a paperback, so I can personally never find a comfortable way to hold them, especially without feeling like I’m completely destroying the book’s spine.

  • They’re heavy to carry round with you.

I do a lot of reading on my break at work, and so I like a book that isn’t too heavy and can fit easily into my bag. My Kindle of course, is ideal, but even a larger paperback doesn’t add too much weight.

A large hardback, however, is a totally different story. The one that sticks in my mind is the copy of Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson that I took to work with me every day for a week. As a hardback, over 1,000-page book (it was the only copy that the library had) it practically broke my back taking it with me every day, whereas the equivalent paperback (The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson…he writes long books!) was no where near as big and heavy.

  • They cost a lot more.

There’s no denying that hardbacks are much more expensive than paperbacks, with your average hardback costing anywhere from £12-£25, whilst a paperback is rarely higher than £8.99. This is of course understandable, as they’ll be more expensive to produce, but for a book that is much more unwieldy, why would I want to pay more?

  • Book jackets that slide up and down…they are the bane of my existence!

One of my biggest pet peeves with hardback books is those damn dust jackets! They are impossible to keep on the book whilst you’re reading it, so I always end up taking it off and inevitably losing it, or wrecking it.

So you can understand why I find it so frustrating that when new books are released, they’re often only available in hardback at first! Especially as some books take so long to come out in paperback, that you end up with the dilemma of whether you want to read the book enough to part with extra money, for a more unwieldy copy. Plus, if you already have earlier books in a series in paperback, you obviously don’t want a great big hardback in the middle of your collection!

I feel like I may be in the minority with this though, as there’s no denying that hardback books look great on a shelf. In fact, in an ideal world it would be nice to own all my favourite reads in hardback just as a display copies…I just really don’t like reading them!

So what are your thoughts on hardback books? Do you find them comfortable to read? And do you find it frustrating that new releases are often only available in hardback? 

41 Responses to “My Hatred of Hardbacks”

  1. Angela

    Yeah, I totally agree, hardbacks have their issues – I hate that they cost so much (not that I buy a lot of books these days, but still), and the book jacket always moving bothers me as well!

  2. Indi Wood

    I totally feel the same way!! Especially about the dust jackets. I take them off whenever I’m reading a hardback because they drive me nuts.

  3. Bernadette

    These are all really good points! The main one that gets me when dealing with hardbacks is the “hard to carry around”. It’s super inconvenient! Just reading them at home has never bothered me, though, and I like their sturdiness because well-loved paperbacks tend to get pretty beat up in my house.

    • Laura

      That’s a great point – hardbacks don’t get as beat up as paperbacks which is good. But yeah, they can be so inconvenient when you’re out and about!

  4. Greg

    They are unwieldy, for sure, and while I sometimes like how a hardcover looks on the shelf, I kinda agree with a lot of these. Paperbacks are usually more my thing. And the sliding book jackets lol- so aggravating!

    • Laura

      Yeah, those sliding book jackets are definitely my biggest annoyance with hardbacks (except for maybe the price!).

  5. Kym

    I just moved on Sunday, and the last thing that I packed and moved (I actually went back and did it yesterday Wednesday) were my books. As I was praying that my hardcover books would fit in the three Tupperware containers I was able to bring I basically chanted “I hate these so much” why don’t they bend”. Ultimately I had to put like 8 hardcover books in a plastic bag and toss them in the car. They’re still in the call a full day later cause they’re heavy.

    I do love my hardcover books, but I can also see why they suck. lol.

    • Laura

      I’ve moved a couple of times in the last few years myself, and trying to pack hardback books is a nightmare, so I feel your pain! They do look good, but they really can suck sometimes! 🙂

    • Laura

      I’m glad you agree! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the only one who wasn’t a fan of hardbacks, because they do look nice. They just have so many cons! 🙂

  6. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    Oh I totally agree! Yes, they are pretty, and sure sometimes there are fun surprises under the dust jacket but… that is the only positive. I can never get comfortable while reading one, my fingers always end up with indents and such, and they really are just hard to lug around! I would choose a paperback any day, sooooo much easier!

    • Laura

      Paperbacks really are so much easier! I can never get comfortable with a hardback either, especially some of the bigger ones. They weigh an absolute tonne! 🙂

  7. Laura

    Just a quick note: if you commented on this post any later than February the second then I’m afraid your comment may have been deleted! I had a problem with my site and had to restore it from back-up, so I lost some of the later comments, so I’m so sorry if yours is gone! 🙁

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    Hardbacks are probably my favorite, but yeah, if the book is really long, it does make it a lot harder to hold and read. Definitely not as comfortable. I always have to take the dust jacket off though! I don’t know how people can hold a book with it on…unless it’s taped like a library book. haha


    • Laura

      I don’t get how people can hold a book with a dust jacket on either! It always just slips right off when I do it, and it’s like trying to hold onto a bar of soap! 🙂

  9. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    In many ways, I agree. They are heavy, they are annoying to read because have you ever dropped one on your face when you’re reading in bed? That hurts!!! Also, they take up so much space in my beg going to and from work and I don’t like it. The book jacket slides all over the place so you take it off and I’ve lost one before from that on one of my Harry Potter hardcovers and that makes me angry because it looks less pretty on the shelf then.

    BUT… I love the prettiness! They last so much longer (my hardback copies of HP are in way better nick than my paperback copies of the first three books). They are often worth the investment because I feel like I’m getting that bit more quality over a paperback where if I accidentally crack the spine I risk losing pages. It just feels like a better investment.

    Apart from annoying book jackets and the weight, my biggest issue with a good hardback is they take up too much space on my shelves and when space is a premium that can be annoying.

    • Laura

      I’ve definitely done the whole ‘dropping a hardback book on my face’ thing, and it hurts so bad! That’s another reason I love paperbacks – you don’t take your life into your own hands by trying to lie down and read them! 🙂
      I’ve lost the dust jackets for some of my hardback Harry Potter books too, and it is annoying that they don’t look as good on the shelf, especially as my copy of Order of the Phoenix has a huge rip in the spine that I did on the same day I bought it (I dropped it, and was absolutely devastated!). In general they do last a lot longer than paperbacks though, as my first three Harry Potter books are looking very, very shabby by now!
      The space thing is definitely a problem though, and I don’t know whether you find it a problem that they’re often much taller than paperbacks? My hardback books will only fit on certain shelves on my bookshelf that are a bit higher, which is kind of annoying!

  10. Emma

    I have to say, whilst I love hardbacks on the shelves, I rarely buy them because of cost and carry-ability. I do tend to get them as presents – people like to give hardbacks I think. #letsdiscuss2018

    • Laura

      Hardback books do make nice presents, as it’s good to get a slightly nicer looking copy of a book as a gift! But I don’t personally buy them for myself either unless I’m absolutely desperate to read a new release book.

  11. Elley the Book Otter

    Dust jackets, arrrrrghhhhh!
    I also hate hardbacks, and would NEVER buy them if they’d just release the paperback at the same time (or even a month or two later). But like you said, sometimes it takes SO LONG for the paperback to come out! And many times, especially with a series, I’ve already waited SO LONG for the next book… That’s why I’m glad I read mostly romance, because those always (99% of the time anyway) release straight to paperback. WOO HOO!

    • Laura

      It really does take so long, and I don’t understand why they can’t just release the paperback at the same time! There never seems to be a set length of time either between the hardback release and the paperback of different books, so you never really know when to expect it.
      I think all genres should follow romance’s example then and start releasing everything straight to paperback! 🙂

  12. Helia @ Rose Quartz Reads

    I totally feel you on this! I don’t hate hardbacks so much as get very annoyed at them, for exactly all the reasons you listed. They’re difficult to hold and heavy so they’re annoying to carry around and I’m twice as likely to drop them on my face. Also so expensive! I’m quite grateful that in the UK a lot of books come out in a regular sized paperback straight away. But the big ones that they want to promote more (like Cassandra Clare and Leigh Bardugo books) often seem to come out in hardcover first and I cannot deal with it! Also sometimes they come out in a plus-sized paperback which I sometimes find is worse – because who wants a paperback that’s almost twice the size of a regular paperback? But at least it’s not like the US – I’m pretty sure the great majority of the books there come out in hardback first. I believe it’s something to do with the author’s rights to the book and that it brings in more money, but I also figure big books are more noticable in shops so they have them that way for a year until the promo has calmed down and they are back to a decent size. But it’s strange and I’m interested in learning more about why this is a thing.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who’d rather read a paperback!

    • Laura

      I’ve see those plus size paperbacks too, and they really confuse me. Why would you want a paperback that’s more unwieldy, and doesn’t match on the shelf with all your other paperbacks?
      And that’s actually really interesting about why they usually release hardbacks first in the US! I had always assumed there must be an actual reason for them doing it, so I may have to look into that more. Your theory about big books drawing the eye more easily sounds pretty credible to me though! I guess it’s another one of those marketing plots they use to subconsciously try and persuade you to buy something. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  13. Uma @Books.Bags.Burgers.

    Is it weird that I agree with all these things and yet like them 😛 They ARE heavy and expensive but as a bookstagrammer I love them! they look beautiful in pictures and are so sturdy to build book towers and such! I only own like 7 or so hardcover though because they cost a freaking ton! What a wonderful discussion 🙂 😀

    • Laura

      It’s not weird at all, I totally get what you mean! For all their faults they do look great and definitely make great book towers for Instagram! 🙂

  14. Elena @ Book Lady's Reviews

    I seriously cannot agree with you more! I’ve always hated Harbacks because they so inconvenient to carry around and much more expensive than Paperbacks. Also, I find them extremely uncomfortable to read! I only purchase them when it’s absolutely necessary and they’r definitely a minority when it comes to the books I have on my shelves! When I mention this to other book lovers, they’re usually disbelieving and ask me why so, I was ecstatic when I saw someone else sharing the same opinions! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Laura

      I’ve always got the same sense from other bookworms that they loved hardbacks, so I was pretty ecstatic too when I posted this discussion and it turned out so many people agreed with me! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  15. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    I agree with all of the above! However, I love to collect hardbacks…and I usually borrow ebooks of those hardbacks from the library… it’s just easier that way! But my shelves are about 50% hardbacks!

    I also used a plastic cover for all my Harry Potters books before with the dust jacket. I have since removed it but it helped when I had a few friends borrow them over the years.

    • Laura

      Hardback books definitely make for a nice collection, for all their faults! 🙂
      And the plastic cover thing sound like a great idea for keeping the dust jacket on and keeping the book nice when you lend it out! I wish I had thought of that with my Harry Potter books, because some of them are a total mess now 🙂

  16. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I like the durability of hardcovers, but I agree with a lot of the drawbacks you list. I prefer them when they are not too big – with some adjustments to the design, a lot of books could be made smaller in size without losing readability, but publishers seem to like the impressiveness of the larger size (and maybe feel it’s a justification to charge the higher price).

    • Laura

      I totally agree that a lot of books are made much bigger than they need to be, probably as you say, so publishers can justify the price. A paperback-sized hardback wouldn’t be as hard to carry around, and so would probably bother me much less than the huge ones you usually come across! 🙂

  17. Jane

    Hardbacks also annoy me. I like how they display on shelves, but then dusting them is a hassle. True story: A white spider climbed between the cover and pages and died in the spine when the book fell on the ground and closed.

    Pretty sure that ish would not have been possible with a paperback! (I can’t get the spider out, so I put it into the garage sale pile.)

    • Laura

      Oh no! I would definitely have sold that book too! I had never considered that, but I’m definitely adding ‘no where for spiders to crawl in and die’ to my list of reasons why I prefer paperbacks 🙂

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