Typically, I am quite a big digital fan. Owning a Kindle opened up a whole new sphere of reading for me, especially when I lived in The Bahamas (where we have all of 2 glorious bookstores, mostly empty, mostly very Christian, which is fine… but not my thing). For once I had access to books! It’s light, comfortable and I can prostrate myself in any ridiculous position I find suitable in that moment (there are times when I resemble a cat, twisted and contorted). However, when I went to the UK I found myself ignoring my digital books in favour of my paperback friends. There is something so fun and seductive about a physical copy! All in all, digital books are great for longevity, durability and access but they lack a presence, an experience that a physical copy would have. After all, when you put your e-reader down, it’s down. There are no brightly colored words or covers to call to you, just a screen. But I must complain, $10 or £10 for a book I can’t even touch?! What capital is put into making these? They are ever reproducible and you don’t have to pay for a bunch of costs to produce them. Since becoming a student I’ve since gone off of digital, too darn expensive.
Oh! Another plus, you can tote around 1000 books in a small thing. Epic for students battling suitcase bulge.
Whilst in Oxford I found myself purchasing and borrowing a number of paperback copies. My tiny room was stacked with tomes, everywhere. I kept knocking things over because I’d borrow 10 books at a time (I have no self-discipline). I quite enjoyed the overall paperback experience, covers can be beautiful or not, the paper feels sturdy and of course, it smells amazing. What I liked most about paperbacks was their simplicity. They can be beat up, torn, ripped and so on and I didn’t feel too bad if I spilled my tea on it, because it was a cheap paper option. However, there were times when I tried to make them immaculate, and I’d still find cracked spines, torn edges and chaffed covers. They’re also not as bad travel wise, they can be pocket sized and fit in a purse or small enough to shove in a bag. Warning: too many paperbacks and you’re ending up with a heavy suitcase. I had 1 suitcase full of books moving back home (I had 3 suitcases in total). Plus they’re relatively cheap.
As a teen I only purchased books in hardback, because I was relatively sedentary and they looked so pretty on my bookshelf. I was guaranteed longevity and for a higher price, they were worth it. Now, I never buy hardback. I move too much and I do too many things to tote a large and heavy book with me. They’re lovely on bookshelves but that’s it. It’s sad for me to say that at 25 my lifestyle doesn’t condone those rigid and beautiful tomes. Plus I’m broke and sometimes hardbacks are expensive.
If this was a smack-down I guess paperback would win? Each format has it’s many uses but as a 25 year old who is constantly moving, shifting and entering or leaving borders, paperback or digital are my best options though cost wise, I prefer the value of the paperback (but the suitcase weight! ah!).