Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Secret Confessions of a Hardcover Lover or Why I Love Hardcovers!

I love hardcovers (or hardbacks to some people). I love their heft. I love their feel. They feel safe to me, and they feel important. I prefer them in all that I read. Whether it be to my children or to myself. I do own 100's of paperbacks, but I wish they were all hardcovers. In fact, I am constantly searching for hardcovers to replace the paperbacks that I cherish.

Why am I a hardcover snob? Hmm. Good question. I grew up with paperbacks, and I don't remember them falling apart back then. Nowadays, I seem to buy brand new children's paperbacks and the middle sections fall out just by turning the pages. When I get "vintage" kids paperbacks (anything over 20 years old), the staples are rusting and/or falling apart a lot of the times, or the glue is deteriorating and the pages just fall out. This has happened to my four-year-old son as he reads to himself. He sits there quietly turning the pages, and then a group of four pages fall out, *plop* in his hands. He looks up at me with a pained and anguished expression in his eyes. His mouth forming an excuse that he doesn't have, "I… I…" He has "hurt" the book he loves, and it is almost too much to burden. Then, of course, I have to "fix it"… somehow. If anyone has advice on how to fix these problems, PLEASE tell me.

I do not care if my hardcovers are ex-library. In fact, ex-library ones usually have special extra secure bindings! Of course, I still don't prefer them because the 30 and 40-year-old ones are usually pretty tattered from re-readings. I recently noticed on Amazon that you can buy a lot of the new children's books as (not ex-library but) library bound hardcovers (for about $10.00+ more then the paperback). The price hurts, and I personally haven't made that jump.

I prefer my hardcovers to have dust jackets. Especially if they don't have a picture printed on the cover itself! Why? Because there is usually exclusive artwork on the dust jacket, and artwork is a big part of children's books. I have bought many children's books just because of the awesome artwork (what parent hasn't?).

There is one more BIG reason that I want hardcovers, and there is a stipulation here, to be specific, first edition hardcovers… not because of their collectibillity but because a lot of kids books get edited over time. Why? Who knows? My guess is that publishers start deleting pages to save printing costs. I will write another blog about this very soon, but I will mention one book now: The classic original Little Critter book, "Just for You" by Mercer Mayer. The first printing has about 6 or more pages of artwork and story that are totally missing from the edition that you buy today. For a preview, see the pictures I uploaded onto Amazon's page for it here: Just for You

Of course, some books are so rare or hard to find, that I am satisfied to buy a paperback for cheap if I run across it at Goodwill or another thrift store... BUT I will still be constantly searching for the hardcover to replace it with.