Paperback vs. Hardcovers: A Personal Confliction

Paperbacks… creative. Hardcovers… intelligent. What say you?

Excuse me for being so abrupt. But something I can NOT stand, is someone with a paperback. Who curls it around the back of the book.

Do you understand what I am saying?

They open that hopeful cover, ready to experience, and bend it around the spine. So it touches cover-to-cover – the wrong way! I can HEAR the cover curling and creasing! The Binding, Snapping and ripping!

Cover-to-cover with no pages in between!

“Oh the Humanity!” [Herbert Morrison, 1937]

However… I must admit… I… am… a ‘dog-earrer.’

[dog-earrer: n. a term I think I’ve just invented for someone who ‘bookmarks’ their page in a book, magazine, etc. by turning down the top corner of the page and creasing it.]

Yet I am not ashamed. I don’t discriminate, I dog-ear paperbacks, or hardcovers.

Bookmarks have always been a charming idea. You can make your own, buy them with cool patterns or pictures, receive them as gifts, even using the receipt for the book from the bookstore!

But I imagine everyone has undergone that one moment, with a bookmark, where you tuck it in between the pages, carry the book by its spine, and the bookmark just slips right out! It hits the floor; and before you can cry out “NO!” it seems you have lost your page.

I don’t know if there is a technique to fixing this, but I immediately drop to my knees and rifle through the book until I find the passage I was up to. I jam the bookmark in there securely, and then ‘dog-ear’ the page just to be sure… then I saunter off as though I have done my good deed for the day. I am a hero to myself.

However, I have known people to use those magnet bookmarks, or ribbons (one is endearing the other is a magnet in a book*.)

(*something I have never liked the idea of.)

I have no idea why, but I’ve always imagined that there is a difference between hardcovers and paper backs, and how they’re treated.

I mean, sure, I ‘dog-ear’ both books, but if I’m travelling I generally take a paperback with me, just because it’s easier to log around.

Another example, I never write in books, but for an English assignment, we had to study ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde. I had a paperback copy, and I wrote all my analysis/interesting notes along the words in the book. This other kid, had a hardback copy of the book, and he was also writing in it.

To me, all books are sacred, I would never condone the bending of binders, or tearing of pages, or down-right defacing with no justifiable cause. But somehow, after letting myself circle quotes, and draw an asterisk or two, I was horrified to see the same being done in a hardcover!

All old books I own, seem to be hardcovers, they seem to be more delicate, once the cover is snapped or anything, it can all fall apart. Paperbacks seems to be more flexible.

The real question that I am posing to the world is: “Am I crazy? Or is there a difference between Hardcover and Paperback books? And which one is better?”

While waiting for your reply I will continue to turn the top corners of pages, and grit my teeth when I see someone allowing covers to become overly creased.




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