I'm about to make an admission that will, at the very least, raise eyebrows in the book blogging community and quite possibly worse... I don't care for hardbacks (they take up to much space and are to heavy to cart around) and I don't like having duplicate copies of books... I know there are so many lovely copies of favourite books out there that sometimes it's hard to resist having a second or third copy but it always feels wrong to me. This is also partly a space based issue but it goes deeper than that - the books that I might get extra copies of have been without exception second hand gems and tempting as they are it feels selfish to deprive somebody else of the opportunity of discovering whichever brilliant book it might be.
However as with any hard and fast rule there are naturally exceptions and I made one for this Penguin copy of 'Devil's Cub'. I have a reasonably large collection of Virago books and a small but growing collection of old Penguins. With the Virago's there's a genuine effort to only buy titles I think I'll read but with the Penguins I'll get anything that sounds amusing without worrying to much if I'll ever get round to it, of the few duplicate titles I do have most are Penguin and Virago titles. There is something so pleasing to look at about the plain old penguin covers, but I think what I appreciate even more is how compact they are - they exactly express everything I love about paperbacks.
My father is fond of observing that there's nothing as permanent as temporary; this paperback is testament to that, these are basic books, flimsy even, but this copy of 'Devil's Cub' was printed in 1954 is still in pretty good nick, certainly still readable, the 2 shillings it cost when it was published relates to a value of £2.32 today against the retail price index or £5.91 measured against average earnings - it cost me £2 (I find that interesting). Curiously I saw a picture of this very book somewhere about the internet a week or so ago and had intended to search amazon for a copy as it was my favourite Heyer title for a number of years. My old copy is falling apart and I fancied this for a replacement, so you can imagine how happy I was to find it in an odd little second hand bookshop (Christine's Book Cabin) which is basically a shack tucked into the side of a car park in Market Harborough.
No raised eyebrows from me! I also prefer paperbacks. In fact, when a much-anticipated book comes out that I know I'll want to read right away (and eventually own), I've been known to get the hardcover from the library for my first reading, because I just can't wait to read it, and then purchase the paperback when it comes out because that's what I'd rather have. I'll spring for a really gorgeous hardcover, but rarely for a standard one.ReplyDelete
I also don't like owning multiple copies of books, also for space reasons. Again, I might make an exception for something beautiful and collectible, like a favorite book with great illustrations, but mostly no.
I feel like I'm in a safe place here now! Many of my blogging and bookish friends will happily have multiple copies which I've never really understood (where do they keep them all?) I'm happy to wait for papaerbacks to come out as it often takes me an age to read new books and a couple of times when I've had a hardback review copy I've read it and then sent it to the charity shop only to buy it again in paperback.Delete
I don't tend to buy hardbacks because of the cost. But I do buy duplicates. *But* they're e-copies of books I know I own but can't face going out to the shed to unpack. I suspect that this says a lot about my low moral character. ;-)ReplyDelete
If it were my shed it would say more about my fear of spiders... I have a kindle app on my phone which I sometimes use but I by far prefer physical books. I was shocked to realise that we pay vat on ebooks in the UK when we don't on paper books. I'm not sure why that is but as I'm very much opposed to vat on books it's another reason to stick with paper ones.Delete
No raised eyebrows from me, either. Two paperbacks can often comfortably sit in the space one hardback takes up. Lovely to see an old Penguin in such good condition. I was lucky enough to visit the Penguin archive at Bristol Uni where my partner teaches - fascinating to see how trhe jackets have changed. How unsophisticated book marketing was when Allen Lane launched Penguin's paperbacks!ReplyDelete
I only have about 30 or 40 penguins - I hadn't realised before that how much the penguin logo changed over the years, It's easy to see how these particular books became so iconic, even now they strike me as the perfect package - cheap, functional, attractive, and pleasingly anonymous (I think that's what I mean rather than discreet). I like the way they keep on circulating as well - how many kindles will work after 50+ years of use? Just a genius idea.Delete
I think *readers* will tend to agree with you. Book collectors not as much. John wants all of my books to be HCs so they look better to him on the shelf. For me, I love all my tatty paperbacks. Sometime next year when my new shelves are built to my specifications I am going to integrate my PBs and HCs alphabetically. Now, mainly due to the quirks of current shelving units, they are separate. But I know I am never going to be able to integrate my Persephones. They look too good all in a row. I think I feel similar about my old Viragos as well as a few other types.ReplyDelete
I spend a lot of time daydreaming about bespoke bookshelves, it's something of a shared fantasy between Doug and I (there's an insight into our relationship). Personally I think tatty paperbacks have an aesthetic appeal of their own - although perhaps more so when you've owned them from new and the tattiness is a testament to your own reading history. Some books, especially the ones with a strong house design, should definitely stay together, they might even deserve their own dedicated bookshelves.Delete
I think Thomas has it right: book collectors might sneer, but readers are infinitely more practical. I only have duplicates of a few books and those are for sentimental reasons. The copy of Pride and Prejudice that I studied as a teenager is falling apart and I have a better copy now but I can't get rid of the old one, with its margin notes and little hearts next to my favourite passages.ReplyDelete
The duplicates I have are mostly due to sentiment as well, I've just got a new copy of an old favourite which was falling apart but we've been through so much together it will be hard to get rid of the old copy especially as I know a charity shop would just bin it. I suspect I'm an accumulator rather than a collector but have neither space or time for things which can't be used and enjoyed (or drunk).Delete
Agree on the hardback front - for actual physical ease of reading they're not that great and tend to weigh too much to comfortably lug in your bag to read on the commute. I do have a few duplicates due to sentimentality - Claire's comment about P&P struck a cord as I too have my scribbled in teenage copy as well as one that hasn't actually come apart at the seams. I have to say that its Georgette Heyers where most of my dupulicates lurk as I can never remember which ones I own when I spot second hand copies!ReplyDelete
I am with you, preferring paperbacks.ReplyDelete
I used to like hardbacks, believing in their permanence. But in end of 1980s there was time when I was able to get my hands to pristine copies (Soviet shortages meant people liked to keep things they could need under hands, so many bought books for children in case they would need a gift) of my favorites from childhood. My own books had fallen apart from too much reading.
That is how I learned that paper from 1960s is NOT good for longevity - these pristine copies crumbled under my hands, no matter how gently I treated them.
And then the roads and vehicles of the public transport were improved, so that reading in public transport became possible, and I became a paperback person!