Charlot King's Blog Post
I thought this week I would talk about hardback books. For some reason, Amazon contacted me and said they'd like to offer me the opportunity to turn my novels into hardbacks. It came out of the blue as they are 'BETA' testing it - whatever that really is. It does mean that I have not been able to get normal proof copies, as it is all in the trial stage, so I nervously accepted - as I like my books to look good! As soon as my copies arrive I will take pics and let you know what I think.
But it made me wonder who buys hardbacks anymore? I don't mean to be critical, just curious.
I only have a small number these days myself and don't choose them as the first option for myself. But, I have to admit, I do like buying them as gifts! They feel more luxurious, indulgent, higher quality.
Unlike many, I don't keep most of the books I read. It does make me smile when I join a zoom call and see most people sitting in front of rows of shelves stacked with books - somehow trying to show that they read them and hence are intelligent. Call me contrary, but I deliberately sit with few if any books behind me so I don't give off this 'air'. I don't want anyone to think I'm intelligent. It's too much pressure!
I don't keep my books for two reasons. I don't have time to read almost all of them again, as I'm not getting any younger and there are so many new ones out there. So why not give them to charity someone else can? Secondly, after my mother died, I gave away a lot of possessions. Something about clearing things out and not wanting to leave a large pile of 'stuff' for any left behind to have to wade through themselves. I was surprised by how easy it was to let go of almost all my books once I had those two motivations clear in my mind.
Consequently, I must have about ten to twenty hardbacks left. Ones I just cannot part with. I have a couple of art books, such as the drawings by Arthur Rackham which I peruse. I have an early edition of A Tale of Two Cities, and then a few remaining random books which will mean nothing to anyone. Just too sentimental to me to let go of - yet.
For me, hardbacks take up more space, they are heavier to carry, I presume use more of the tree, and always felt a little bit more formal. More scholarly. Traditional publishers would bring out the hardback first, wouldn't they - in the old days. Whereas the paperback was seen more as the airport novel. The commercial hit. The holiday romance read. At least in my mind.
All those days have gone and both the paperback and hardback are interchangeable, I'm sure.
And now it is the decade/s of the ebook. Sometimes I wonder what is coming next. The download straight into the brain book?
I must admit, I am surprised by Amazon's initiative. Are people going to go back to the hardback like those who have returned to the vinyl record? Is it the touch and feel. The gift. Something that ignites nostalgia? I would love to hear from you about why you love the hardback. Or, if even if you don't.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.