Thursday, January 21, 2016

{Reading Quirks} A Matter of Format (i.e. Solely Softcover, Hardly Hardcover, Never Digital)

Over the past few years I've discovered I have some pretty odd reading quirks, so I thought I'd share them to possibly explain some of my more unusual eccentricities. If this Reading Quirk applies to you as well, do Comment!

A Matter of Format
(i.e. Solely Softcover, Hardly Hardcover, Never Digital)

Books fall into three basic physical formats: hardcover, softcover, and digital. My quirk: I almost exclusively read softcover, rarely read hardcover, and never read digital. Why?

Hardcovers...are too much. Yes hardcovers are expensive, but mainly for me they are big, heavy, and bulky. Reading them can be a struggle, sometimes painfully so since I have wrist and finger issues, and this makes them not only hard to read comfortably but degrades the reading experience for me. Also, because of their heft and price I take hardcovers more seriously, and if the story inside disappoints it's a much bigger deal. Despite all this I will read hardcover if I absolutely positively need to, but only if it's all I have and/or the story is a must read. not for me. The three main reasons: (1) My eyes can't read on a screen very long (no matter how "paper-like" it is, my eyes know better); (2) Holding the book enhances the reading experience; and (3) I don't read digital simply on principle. I read "books," and a book is "a printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers." (Google) If it ain't printed, I ain't interested.

(And when the web inevitably crashes and digital devices fail, I, tucked away in my fortress of books, will have plenty to read during the ensuing chaos of The Dark Ages, a Sequel.)

No hardcovers and no digital...leaves Softcovers. Light, pliable, and less expensive, softcovers make for a lighter read both physically and mentally. I'm less apt to take the book and the story inside as seriously (or be as critical) as I would a hardcover, and where reading hardcovers can be uncomfortable reading paperbacks can be relaxing, even if I'm not enjoying the story inside as much as I'd hoped.

The hitch... Most books are initially released in hardcover, with a paperback to follow a year later (if I'm lucky and a paperback releases at all). Sure you can sometimes get your hands on a foreign paperback (long live Book Depository), but usually only with really popular or random titles. My only hope: Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), my preferred softcover of choice. Why? Find out in the next "Reading Quirk" installment!

What format do you prefer: hardcover, softcover or digital - and why?

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