Paperbacks vs Hardbacks: An Ageless War

If you’re a bookworm tight on money, you’ve probably asked yourself this question a million times now. Would you purchase the skinny but cheap and light paperback, or the pretty, sturdy, and outrageously expensive hardback? How much time did you spend weighing out the pros and cons? How did you manage to settle on a final decision, if you ever even decide to buy at all?

Welcome to my (probably) first ever bookish discussion post! It’s also gonna be sort of a… book format battle…thingy.

So, as the title and the introduction suggests, this is going to be between… *drumroll*

Paperbacks and Hardbacks, and preferences!!!

*insert “yay” + clapping sound effect*

Paperbacks and Hardbacks have been on each other’s throats since the dawn of book empires. Today, we are going to pit them against each other, once more!

Let’s just get on with it, shall we?

So, ahem. I hereby cut the ribbon and declare this discussion open!


There’s something oddly satisfying about buying an expensive hardback book, especially if it is a special edition. The moment the copy is yours, you gingerly lift the dust jacket, and behold! The raw, stunning glory of a hardback. You rub your palms (or even face?) on the glossy dust jacket, as the familiar musty aroma of paper fills your nose.

Sounds tempting, right? It’s so hard to resist buying a hardbound book sitting seductively on a bookshelf by the bookstore’s front window, which happen to catch your eye as you innocently pass by.

Hardbacks are pretty and all, and they sure are as strong and sturdy as a steadfast soldier on a raging war, but they’re not exactly, um, “healthy” for four wallets. It’ll probably be no big deal at all when you’ve just won a million bucks from the lottery, but what if you’re a broke, caffeinated, half-alive witch trying to survive by eating book pages themselves?

As a student bookworm since childhood, hardbacks are a rare luxury for me. My goal every time I visit the bookstore is to buy as many books as I can with the money I have, so that usually means several paperbacks. If I were to choose between 1HB + 2PB and 4PB, I’d definitely choose the latter.

Of course, I don’t always buy paperbacks, I give spotlight to hardbacks too, once in a while. Circumstances include: when there are no paperbacks available, when I really like the cover, when I think the price is pretty much worth the story, etc. Sometimes, I buy hardbacks because, you know, mood strikes.

Another factor I consider when buying books is comfort. Hardbacks are big and bulky and hard to carry around, which are not on my list of guidelines. Again, some hardbacks (oddly enough) are sturdy yet light, and sometimes it just spurs me on to read…I don’t exactly know why so.


She didn’t quite belong here,

Lived a life within her head

Like she’d slipped out from the covers,

Of a paperback instead.

– Erin Hanson

Paperbacks compose 92% of my book kingdom. I don’t generally prefer them over their backboned cousins, but like I said, I prefer buying paperbacks over hardbacks.

They’re my ideal reading format. Why? Because they’re light and compatible! It couldn’t hurt to bring a paperback to school or for the car ride (and bring its friends also, so it won’t be lonely). They’re easy to fit in my backpack (with appropriate protection, of course) or any of my sling bags, or pretty much most of my bags in general.

Okay, paperbacks aren’t all that perfect. Definitely not.

The downside is, paperbacks are very prone to damage. Cracked spines, creased covers, easy to bend, etc. And trust me, I really HATE it when my books get damaged. It doesn’t even matter who did it (well, usually) because as long as it’s damaged (crack spine, creased cover, pen marks, etc.), I probably won’t fall asleep for that night. And every time I see the damage I would blame myself and I’d get a feeling as though my heart is being staked.

A lot of you know this feeling. It feels horrible, right? No bookworm wants to damage their book (unless if it’s a published fanfic where their OTP or fave characters die).

My Verdict

We’ve come to the final part of this discussion. Let’s consider the odds. Paperbacks are light, cheap, and compatible, but they’re easily damaged. Hardbacks, on the other hand, are sturdy, pretty, and long-lasting, but they’re expensive. Which weighs out which?

Actually, if you ask me, both are equal in my eyes.

Sorry, I know that sucks, but it’s true.

Hardbacks = Paperbacks.

Both have their pros and cons, their advantages and disadvantages. Both have positives and negatives. Honestly, both are as balanced as the sun and moon.

I like to think they’re meant to be that way.



What about you, which side are you on? Team Hardback or Team Paperback? Or are you a neutral like me?

Which one of the two (HB or PB) do you own the most copies of?

What is your favorite Hardback book? How about Paperback?

Random Question: So you smell your books?




20 thoughts on “Paperbacks vs Hardbacks: An Ageless War

  1. alilovesbooks says:

    I have more paperbacks than hardbacks but I’m afraid I will always prefer a hardback. Yes, they’re more expensive but they’re so pretty (especially when it’s a collectors edition). Hardbacks are less portable but when it comes to reading on the go, I much prefer an ebook anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ella @ TheBookishGoddess says:

    Paperbacks dominate my bookshelf for sure because back in high school, I could not, for the life of me, carry that hardback book while carrying all other academic books to school. The only time I ever buy a hardback is if the paperback is not available anywhere in bookstores here (*coughs* Alex & Eliza *coughs*) and if it’s for a special occasion, like for a book signing for an author’s first time in my country. Paperbacks are really just that much more fun to carry around and are durable for comfort reading. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leslie says:

    I agree with your points! I have a good mix of both. I get a lot of my books from Half Price Books and they will have hardbacks at a great price. If I’m too impatient to wait a year for the paperback, I’ll go that route. If the paperback is out, I’ll buy it because it’s cheaper! I prefer to read paperbacks because they are much easier to hold and transport! Hardbacks can be really awkward for me to hold, especially, if it’s a 900+ page book! Ouch! Hardbacks are beautiful though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maria Angela Calleda says:

    This discussion literally hit a spot somewhere in me (probably in this space where I tuck my books tightly, my heart). I *inhales deeply*, really, really feel the same! Though I settle for paperbacks than hardbacks because, like you said, their cheaper and much easier to carry around. I own some few hardbound ones and those are my most precious ones (couldn’t hardly resist them when they hit the sale store with incredibly low, low, low, price yet in a very good condition, now that’s a God sent!). But I promise myself that once I graduate and find me a decent job, I’ll be spoiling myself with those lovey dovey hardbound books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Athena | The Night Faerie ☽️✨ says:

      My hardbacks are one of my most well-kept treasures! I’m definitely spoiling myself with special edition hardbounds when I graduate, but that’s still more than ten years away since I’m taking a medical course when I’m older haha. So until then, I’ll have to make do with paperbacks.


  5. Britt K says:

    I largely buy paperbacks for the same reason you cited, cost, but I will splurge on a hardback when I know it’s something I’m super excited about or a collectors edition of some form.

    Liked by 1 person

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