Thursday, January 27, 2005

paperback books

One of my pet peeves is that newly published books always come out in hardcover first, and then trade paperback, and then sometimes mass market paperback.

I understand it has to do with extracting as much money as possible from the book-reading public, but I'm impatient, cheap, and I'm sick of having to maintain a list of "books to buy when they come out in paperback". If it's about the money, I'm willing to live with a system where books are priced according to publication date (most recent being most expensive), instead of by format.

I like holding books in one hand, and hardcover books hurt me. I also like walking around the house with my books (yes, I can ascend and descend stairs while reading), which means the lighter the book is, the better. And, what's the deal with the modern, paper dust jackets? They're totally useless; all they do is rip and give me paper cuts.

I suppose one could argue that hardcover books are more durable, but in twenty years of reading and rereading books, I've only ever had to buy three books for a second time. The first one I dropped in a swimming pool, so the book split into two parts; I bought a second copy for my bookshelf, while I continued to use the original taped-together copy for reading. The second book was nearly 1400 pages long, and I read it probably a hundred times before the pages started to fall out. The last one I lent to a friend, and well...suffice to say that I haven't lent her another book since.

So what's my point? I want to buy small, light, paperback versions of books. I would prefer to buy them immediately, for the lowest possible price, but I am willing to pay more, on occasion, if necessary. What I can do, as a consumer, to convince publishers to print paperback books that are as small as practical, as soon as possible?

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