Thursday, September 16, 2010

Buy v. Borrow, Hardcover v. Paperback

Do I buy a book or borrow it from the library and/or a friend? If I’m going to buy a book, do I want it in hardcover or paperback?  These seem like simple questions, but for a book lover, they’re essential. 

When I was little, I was a library girl because my mom didn’t like to buy many books.  Books are expensive to buy, especially if you don’t reread them.  Then they just sit on your shelves (and look very pretty).  As I got older, however, and realized that 1) I had a little spending money and 2) I DO like to reread books (for example, I reread the Harry Potter series each time before the new book came out), so I decided to start buying books.  Yet unlike today’s teens I didn’t know what the-next-big-thing-in-YA was.  Probably because the-next-big-thing-in-YA tread hadn’t even started yet.  I wasn’t inundated with social media that advertized books; I barely knew what Amazon was and most certainly didn’t order my books online!  I bought books the old-fashion way: going to the bookstore and seeing what caught my eye.  It’s true I had a few favorite series that I made sure to follow (Tamora Pierce’s several Tortall series, T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin series, Elizabeth Haydon’s Rhapsody Trilogy and Symphony of Ages, among others), yet for the most part it was just pick and choose.  And because I was a teen with just a little spending money, often my decisions were based on cost.  A hardcover verses a cheaper paperback? I’d pick the paperback.  (Oh, and another tiny confession to make.  I HATE jacket covers.  I know they’re supposed to protect the hardcover book and look pretty, but to me they just get wrinkled and bent the moment I pick the book up, so it’s a waste of material.)

Now that I’m involved in the publishing industry things have changed, yet I’m hesitant to change with them.  I’m constantly surrounded by people talking about the-next-big-thing-in-YA, and I want to read it, too! Unless I’m lucky enough to have snagged an ARC, my options are limited.  Buy the expensive hardcover (I caved in and did that for Linger)? Wait a little longer to borrow if from a library (if they carry it), knowing that chances are I’ll buy the paperback, at least, eventually?  Right now I’ve settled in a sort of middle ground; buying popular books the moment they’re in paperback, but sometimes it takes a while for that to happen.  Even though I’ve read (and LOVED) The Hunger Games series, I still don’t own the first two books because they’ve yet to be released in paperback (what a marketing/sales feat!).  And I have yet to read books that I’ve heard positive reviews about for ages: The DUFF, Before I Fall, When you Reach Me. It’s killing me I haven’t read these books yet, and I’m going to run into the same problem when The Replacement, Beautiful Darkness, Matched and others come out later this fall.  I may sound like a bratty teenager (or whiny toddler), but I just want them ALL!

So there’s my book lover dilemma.  Thoughts? What do you prefer to read, a borrowed library book or a book you’ve bought? Will you go out and buy a book after you’ve read it and loved it? Will you buy in paperback or in hardcover? How do you keep up to date with all the awesome new books out there? I hope you’ve come up with a good solution, I’d love to hear it!

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