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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Random bookdweebiness...(The term's now officially a tag on this LJ! ^_^;; ) 
14th-Jul-2006 01:47 pm
An article informing us that history textbooks are often written on an assembly line (like we didn't already know that) mentions that James W. Loewen is updating his 1995 bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. OhboyohboyOHBOY!!!!! This has got to be one of the best "What the Hell is wrong with our country???" screeds that I've ever read. I can't wait to see what he's got to say about the misrepresentation of history that I've actually lived through!

And, in an interesting article about books that become bestsellers in paperback after doing only modestly well in hardcover, an interesting comment: The target audience for a paperback is often different from that for hardcovers. “I think of paperback readers as the smarter, hipper, younger readers,” said Marty Asher, editor in chief of Vintage/Anchor Books, the paperback imprint of the Knopf Group. He noted that books like “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, or titles by Haruki Murakami, the Japanese novelist, tend to appeal to readers who frankly prefer the lower price of a paperback.”

Err. Would that be my demographic that Asher's talking about? Hmm. Let's see. "Younger"? Most likely. "Smarter"? At best arguable. "Hipper"? *bwa ha ha* Nah... *coughs* Anyway, color me unhip, but I'm one of those people who'd rather have a hardcover book. Especially with the advent of online shopping, the price difference between most new hardcovers and their equivalent trade paperbacks is only about $4-$5--and if five bucks stands between me and a book that will last a hundred years versus a book that may look nice for four years, max, on the shelf, whatcha think I'm going to buy? Especially, nowadays that trade paperbacks are hardly better quality than mass market paperbacks. Still, both Penguin Putnam and HarperCollins have recently been testing the trade paperback market with high-quality paperbacks (rough-cut edges, french flaps, acid-free paper, etc.), which are a halfway decent consolation prize as the pretty hardcover slowly goes the way of the dinosaur and publishers expend more effort on literary fiction in paperback original.
14th-Jul-2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
I tend to prefer softcovers (though only nice trade paperbacks) because 1) they’re easier and more comfortable to actually handle/read, and 2) I’m poor! With discount books, $4.00 can equal another book ^__^
14th-Jul-2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
I'd say 95% of trade paperbacks sport paper that will yellow and moulder quite quickly. It's depressing, so I prefer to hunt down used hardcover editions of books I want to read, if necessary. High quality trade paperbacks are a very new permutation--and there are only about a dozen to choose from as of yet. >_<

Otherwise, I usually buy hardcovers remaindered, anyway (average price $5). In fact, I actually deliberately WAIT until hardcover editions of books I want to read are remaindered (which, incidentally, tends to coincide with the release of the paperback edition).
14th-Jul-2006 06:33 pm (UTC)

Some of the books I get from BookCloseouts are already a little yellowy around the edges >_< And paper and print quality is highly variable.. But, they’re just, easier.. Plus, I’m not really worried about books lasting 100 years, because, I really doubt that I’ll be looking at them for that long ^_^;;;;
14th-Jul-2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
Paperbacks yellow on the bookstores' shelves before the stores return them to the publisher to be pulped or remaindered. ^^; But you gotta remember that I'm a collector at heart, and I like the idea of amassing a book collection that will outlive me just on principle.

Besides, it's much, much easier to pay much less than full price on a hardcover book than a paperback due to the way that stores discount more expensive things more deeply. You know, I even found Everyman's Library hardcovers offered online for $7.95 each!!! ^___^
14th-Jul-2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
I’ve noticed some on closeout where the hardcover is less expensive than the paperback, but usually it’s just a little more expensive. And yeah, when it’s really close like that I get the hardcover ^_^;

My oldest books are a set dated 1812, though they’re not in the best shape.. I also have an English grammar book from the 1840s, and it looks like it was printed last week ^^
14th-Jul-2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
I have a really old grammar book as well (back when they still used the English subjunctive). But other than that, the only person who would've had really old books was my mother's father, and they've all been thrown away long ago.
14th-Jul-2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
1846! That’s the copyright date for the grammar book ^_^ At least most of my trade paperbacks are better quality than the mass market ones.. Their pages always get yellow and brittle, not to mention they’re often difficult to read ^^;
15th-Jul-2006 03:13 am (UTC)
Their pages always get yellow and brittle, not to mention they’re often difficult to read ^^;

And if you dare to break their spines the pages start falling out like leaves in autumn. :P
15th-Jul-2006 03:04 pm (UTC)
That's very poetic ^_~
14th-Jul-2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I prefer softcovers because if something happens to the book, like lending it out, coffee spilling on it, etc., I don't feel so bad. If something happens to one of my hardcover books, I feel guilty (this was probably instilled in me by my English professor father, who loves his books), but I'm a naturally clumsy person, so these types of things happen semi-frequently.
14th-Jul-2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
Heh. My books are prized possessions. I never lend books that aren't expendable.
15th-Jul-2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Probably better that way. I've had a couple books returned in horrible condition and it made me want to strangle the person who I thought cared enough about books (or at least, me) to not damaged my property. But then there are those books that you just want to promote and that the library doesn't have. :( Small town = bad library.
15th-Jul-2006 03:14 am (UTC)
*nods* I know what it's like to have a sucky library. And the worst part is that the extensive county collection is less than five minutes away--but I can't borrow books from there because my town opted out of the county system. *grr*

When lending and you want your books back intact, you could say something like, "Break my book's spine and you break mine." ^_~
15th-Jul-2006 03:02 pm (UTC)
That's a good saying. ^_^ I'm saved, somewhat, because the college has a great library that they keep open to everyone (except a couple book hoarders who are now banned). But the town/county library has about 5 huge rows reserved for harlequin romances. Shows what people in my county read. The nonfiction section is only a couple rows larger than that.
15th-Jul-2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
We actually don't have much in the way of paperbacks in our library...but one thing they're REALLY good at is only stocking later installments of a multi-part series. Drives me crazy.
15th-Jul-2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
Or, break my book's spine, and I'll break yours! ^_^

You can't pay for access to that library?
15th-Jul-2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
You can't pay for access to that library?

A year's membership costs nearly $100. Not. Worth. It.
15th-Jul-2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah really, just use the $100 to buy books on closeout....
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