From experiences as an everyday reader, I believe I’m not mistaken when I speak for the majority of us that deciding upon the binding of books, or lack of it.
The question barges into one’s mind when book-shopping, while virtually or in a real one, which be the superior, and I believe it will continue to do so for while ebooks are rapidly gaining momentum in here and now, the charm of pages of books and their smells isn’t quite lost on even the most ardent and obstinate kindle/kobo/nook/whatever user, and will not in the foreseeable future, methinks. My personal views are quite muddled, and involve a general alchemy of vanity, thriftiness and practicality.
Now, I’m not to be discussing the general merits of one over the other. Indeed, they’re personal to each but individually here are mine:
Ebooks are cheap(er) and for me, they are always a better bet in terms of preservation for a motley reasons. I’m quite untidy, but I strive to preserve my books as much as I can. Still, however, I live India’s unbearable tropical/sub-tropical climate where dust feels free to enter every nook and cranny and the slight gap created between pages by bookmarks, and settles on the edges of hard-copies, sprinkling all over like unwanted pixie dust. So the books are prone to age waaay before their time, like people of the old and people of the now who deal in numbers while never getting rich. That’s really sad. And, everyone’s always asking to borrow them, and because of my naturally giving and sweet(ha!) disposition, I never refuse when it comes to books, when this should be the one domain where I must be firm; it’s the contrary that occurs.
Such is the world we live in; that a girl who deals out ‘no’ on a constant basis should have trouble speaking in negative when it comes to those she holds dear. Ugh, it’s like a curse from a fairytale, if I may be allowed to be so presumptuous as to compare mine mundane existence to Cinderella’s(I heartily prefer mine).
And these hands of mine. They’re the worst! Clumsy and child-like, they are, and in winters, sure to break out in cold sweats just as I get to the climax, upon which I have to wipe ’em or put aside the book, which, quite obviously, is one of the greatest annoyances. But then, why I’d rather have is rather superficial and shallow.
Ebooks just don’t have the impressive airs of hardcopies, you can’t show ’em off and produce with the same enthusiasm. And you can’t smell them, and touch the pages, and bury your nose, and pore over the lovely, not-so-lovely, and downright hideous covers. You can’t look at the thickness in foreboding, and after finishing, congratulate yourself. The digital numbers on a screen with thickness in millimeters simply can’t compare.
Now paperbacks are another matter entirely. If I have to order a book, I’ll first check out the paperback price firstly, and most likely this will be my choice at the end, as well, unless the margin in the prices of the ebook and paperback is too great, in which case, I’m predisposed to buy the ebook. Hardcovers are out of the question, unless it’s the only binding available, and/or the margin between the ebook and hardcover is tolerable(term subject to change depending on the vagaries of my want) and/or the book has illustrations, which will never do on a digital platform, not if I have a say in it.
But of all the three types, I like paperbacks least. To understand this, you must travel to my childhood days, when I was first beginning to pick up novels from my sister’s meager collection of the Famous Five and the Inheritance Cycle. My sister is less than two years older to me, and since who know how long she’s loved imposing irrational limitations on me, and for a long time, adoring her as being the elder one, the one who was stolen by Superman for a night(believed her, I did), I would rigidly, unquestionably follow her. I began breaking away with reading books she especially told me not to. Anyhoo, back to books, one of her rules was that the covers shouldn’t be apart/the adjacent pages should be separated at no more than 30 degree(approx.). Kinda like this:
Which invariably has been a big factor in my bespetacled-ness, as I haven’t given up the habit today still. The angle may have increased more or less but old habits are hard to get rid of. Now I, myself, impose and implement this rule on my brother and friends, with a little extension in the angle. To read books borrowed from me, you need to be doing it in the following position:
With thicker books, what a big hassle that is! It prevents creases, though, and that’s what I really care about.
My favorite is hardcover. The best and the costliest.
Illustrations, no creases, no angles, the aroma and beautiful covers to show off! A hardback has it all. Except you know affordability in bulk, which is how I buy my books.
I think all of this, including neck pains, accounts for the reading experience and my attitude towards the book, something I don’t intend but happens nevertheless. Ergo, I should suppose that it’s really very important to select the right edition/biding book by book, so physical discomforts don’t detract from my enjoyment because I’m worldly enough that while immersed in faraway sands, I can still feel the call of my spine and the screams of my book covers.