Monday Musings | When Was the Last Time You Bought a Hardcover Book?

April Wrap Up One More Page Blog 2015

I’ve been learning a lot during my time in publishing school, friends, and some of the most interesting aspects of it have had to do with reader behaviour. Where do we find our next read? Is there a higher chance of purchasing a book online if we heard about it online and vice versa? How many in-store purchases are impulse buys?

In last week’s lecture, my class discussed the future of publishing, and how some countries have been slower to adapt to e-reading than others. It was also mentioned that some countries tend to buy more hardcovers than others. When I heard this, my book blogger brain came out, and I thought, “Why not ask my internet friends what their habits are?” A statistician will probably roll their eyes at me, but I just love polling my friends and seeing how my circle of friends fit into the statis.

So, let’s play a game! When was the last time you bought a hardcover book? When was the last time you bought an ebook? Do you have a preference when it comes to print or e-reading? Also, if you’re comfortable sharing this, which country are you from?

33 thoughts on “Monday Musings | When Was the Last Time You Bought a Hardcover Book?

  1. literatigeekblogs says:

    I’ve actually changed my stance on this a lot. I used to be a complete hardcover snob. I wanted all my books to be hardcover and wouldn’t think of buying a paperback. Now that I have to buy most of my books myself, I’ve seen the value in the cheaper paperback. The last time I bought a hardcover was at a clearance sale when they were $2. As for Ebooks, when they first came out I was still in my hardcover book snob phase. Now that I’ve moved past that I’ve finally come to terms with the fact my hands are just too small and I’ve had too many sports injuries not to take advantage of the ease of holding an e-reader. My only aversion towards them is the fact the ebooks are often the same price as the physical books; for some reason that still bugs me. If I’m paying $20+ bucks I want to see it. In my dreams one day hardcover books will come with a QR code to download the ebook version. (I’m in the US.)

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Oh man, $2 hardcovers are a book lover’s dream! Yes, I have that same issue with e-books (price), but my prof brought up a great point: one of the reasons why they’re not dirt cheap is because publishers want to preserve the perceived value of the books they put out, which makes a lot of sense to me. Having to shell out $12 for an ebook makes me think the quality will be better than a $0.99 one (no matter how unfair that judgement may be).

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. joyousreads says:

    Ah well. I’m probably not the right person to ask considering I’m at a bookstore practically every week. So the last time I bought hardcovers was—actually, today. I ordered some new releases that are coming out tomorrow. Lol. I also downloaded an e-book today. See? Not the right person. I’m a hoarder, after all.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Haha! I have a feeling that my poll isn’t going to be a very fair one, as we’re all addicted to reading 😉 I’m totally a hoarder – so much so that I feel guilty bringing more books home, but still do it anyway! Ha!

  3. Nish says:

    I rarely buy books, I am a total library girl. But I can never resist a good-quality hardcover of some of my favorite books, and when it comes to classics, it is hardcover all the way.

  4. Amy says:

    I bought a hard cover about 10 days ago. I never buy ebooks. I usually try to find books at the library first. If my library doesn’t get a book, and I am confident I won’t DNF it or never read it, I will get a hardback. If I am less confident I will like it, I wait for the payback or look for a used copy.

  5. Denise says:

    When I used to volunteer in a charity shop, we would dread it when a hardcover came in! They were so difficult to sell – I am guessing it is because they are heavy to carry around and even inconvenient to read. I bought a hardcover (unusually) because I heard Hannah Rothschild talking about her book The Improbability of Love on the radio, and I didn’t want to wait for it to come out in paperback in case I forgot about it. It was good, but the interview gave the impression it was amazing! So the marketing worked there.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      It’s interesting that you bring up the radio, because I learned that radio is surprisingly good for promoting books! I never would have guessed it, but you’re the second person that has told me a radio segment has encouraged them to pick up a book they hadn’t heard of before. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. KatieMcD says:

    – The last hardcover book I bought was “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehsi Coates, which I bought about 2 weeks ago.
    – The last e-book I bought was “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I bought in March.
    – I used read primarily on my Kindle, but now that I have a house with built in book shelves and more room, I’ve been reading and procuring more physical books, which if I had to choose, would be my preferred reading format. I like both methods, and usually have on physical book and one kindle book (and one audiobook) going at any given time.
    – I’m from the U.S.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Ooh, I’ve heard so many great things about Between the World and Me. Sounds like a great one to splurge on a hardcover for. A house with built-in bookshelves is a DREAM. Thanks for sharing! I don’t have any stats about audiobooks… I wonder though!

  7. Naomi says:

    Your course sounds interesting!
    Always print for me. I rarely buy new hardcovers, but I often find them at book sales. That probably doesn’t count. If I buy new, I prefer trade paperbacks.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      It has been one of the best learning experiences of my life. It sounds hyperbolic, but it really feels that way! I mostly read in print too. I wonder if there will be a higher percentage of e-readers once this generation of kids grows up? (Trade paperbacks are my preferred reading format too!)

  8. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    I rarely buy new hardcovers. I make two exceptions, though: 1. I absolutely love the book and want a beautiful edition of it, and 2: the cheapest used copy is in hardcover. If get a library book, I prefer a hardcover, too, because they are sturdier. Otherwise, to save money and space, it’s paperback or e-book for me. I prefer print, but I don’t mind e-books. Now that the price of e-books is inching up here in the U.S., I usually go with whatever is cheaper.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Yes – when it comes to library books I rarely choose paperbacks! I think it’s very wise to use e-reading to save space. It’s definitely something that I should do more often. Any theories as to why e-book prices are increasing?

      • TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

        I think the most important reason is that here in the US, e-books are now popular enough that many people value convenience more than price. And since e-books come out at the same time as hardcovers, in comparison, e-books are still the cheaper option.

      • Karen @ One More Page... says:

        That’s a great point! I recently bought the e-book version of The Royal We because 1. it’s LONG and would be heavy to carry around, and 2. I knew I was going to read it really quickly and it made more sense to pay the e-book price. Great observations!

  9. Jada says:

    I usually only buy hardcovers when they’re on bargain. I actually just picked up four hardcovers this past week, mainly because I can’t resist a great book deal. However, while I love the beauty of hardcovers (Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance is GORGEOUS, and has prompted me to seek out a hardcover edition of The Way of Kings), they tend to be really hard to read, and rather expensive, so I often buy paperbacks. When it comes to ebooks, I can’t seem to reconcile the price of them compared to their physical counterparts, so I usually only buy ebooks when they’re on sale. I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased an ebook… (Also from the US)

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Book deals are going to be the death of my wallet – haha! But at least it’s a deal, right? 😉 I love love love beautiful covers, and am totally susceptible to cover buying! I agree about e-book pricing. Sometimes it just makes sense to pay the extra few dollars and get the tangible thing.

  10. The Paperback Princess says:

    I’m jealous that you get to go to publishing school!
    I don’t have an ereader so I never buy ebooks.The last time I bought a hardcover was this month when I got The Royal We because I just could not not. I think that was the last hardcover I bought – I was gifted one just last night though.
    I try to buy mostly paperbacks because they are cheaper but if there’s a book I really want, then I’m probably going to go ahead and get it. I’m not waiting for anything JK Rowling writes to come out in paperback for example. A lot of the books I buy are TOTAL impulse buys. I tend to get more books from my list at the library for some reason.

  11. Charleen says:

    The last physical book I bought was in hardcover, just a few weeks ago. I can’t remember the last paperback I bought… probably not since last year. (I don’t actually buy books very often.)

    When it comes to reading, I have no preference, but when it comes to purchasing, I definitely prefer to spend my money on a physical object rather than a digital one.

    (Oh, and I live in the US.)

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      So interesting! The impression I had was that Canadians buy more hardcovers than Americans (and that Americans on average buy more e-books than Canadians), but this is proving to be inconclusive with my informal poll! Thanks for sharing 😀

  12. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts says:

    I bought a bunch of paperbacks just a few days ago—it’s my preferred purchase. I think the last time I bought a hardback was in January. They’re certainly nice and pretty, but I find them to be cost prohibitive, plus they’re too big and heavy to carry around easily.

    I don’t tend to buy a lot of ebooks, though I think they make up at least 50% of my reading. Mostly I get my ebooks from the library. It always feel weird to spend 10$ on a book that I can’t really “hold” in my hands. Kind of weird, I know.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      No, I totally get it! I don’t buy a lot of e-books either, but I do prefer them for longer books that would be heavy to carry in hardcover, or if there’s a really good deal on it. I don’t think it’s weird at all!

  13. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    Very cool – please keep sharing gems like this from your publishing class! Here are my answers:

    1) So long ago that I can’t remember…and, I’m sure it was a gift b/c I NEVER read hardcovers.
    2) Last week
    3) I’m 100% electronic reading. It’s much more convenient for my lifestyle and I can get so much more reading done that way. It’s been years since I’ve read a hard copy book…hardcover or paperback!
    4) USA
    Looking forward to seeing your informal results!

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Will do, Sarah! Looks like your format preferences fit into the statistics that I heard, which is that Canadians generally buy more hardcovers and fewer e-books than Americans. So interesting to read the comments and see what everyone else’s reading preferences are like! I know my post is super unscientific, but hey, it’s all in good fun.

  14. Angélique says:

    I think your reading habit definitely depends on where you live (= what’s available).

    Here in Canada:
    – My last hard-cover purchase: Seveneves, somewhere around the end of May this year. And it was an exception because no trade paperback was available in store.
    – My last eBook purchase: Still Alice in March (in the middle of the night ahah).
    – My preference: printed. Trade paperback. I do read a lot on my eReader too and I like it too. But nothing replaces a printed book 🙂

    Note that in France, my answer would be different: 1) I don’t remember seeing a hardcover fiction ever. The high quality edition of a book is the equivalent of trade paperback. 2) my preference would go to mass paperback in France, since they are so inexpensive and excellent quality. 3) Forget the eBooks, never bought an eBook from France (price was not worth it last time I checked)

    All this being said, I mostly read hardcovers and eBooks because I borrow a lot of from the library. When I buy, I mostly go for trade paperback.

  15. Shaina says:

    I’ve bought both a hardcover and eBook recently! Between the World and Me was a pre-order (I couldn’t resist) and I can NEVER resist the $1-3 Kindle deals when they’re books I was already interested in. But I’m truly a library gal at heart. 🙂

  16. Heather (@beesbookbuzz) says:

    I almost exclusively read on my Kindle these days, and I can’t recall the last time I bought a hardcover for pleasure reading. I’ve even started experimenting with textbooks on Kindle, but I still mostly prefer hardcover for that purpose. My hubs is the complete opposite, so if there’s a book we both want to read, I don’t go electronic. I Am Malala is in my Amazon shopping cart once we’re both caught up with our other reading.

  17. Lynn @ Smoke & Mirrors says:

    I’ve read one ebook–that was enough! I much prefer a hardcover and will purchase that over any other format, if available/convenient. I love hardcovers for loaning out, which is what I love to do with my books! Other than reading them myself, of course! 🙂 Though lately I have been donating more of them to my local library than not. But then I am now the President of the Board of Trustees for said library, so perhaps I feel more compelled to make such a contribution than I might have done in the past. I think perhaps this preference is due more to age than not. Being almost 60 years old I grew up with real books and I still much prefer them. Nice post and a great idea to poll others!

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