B&N Reads

Hot Take: Paperbacks are the Superior Format

Paperbacks versus hardcovers has long been a hot topic in the book community. “Hardcovers are harder to damage,” some might say. While others might argue that the lightness of paperbacks make them the best option for reading enjoyment, I must admit that I’ve been someone who waffles between the two, mostly because I’m an impatient soul who wants to own new releases NOW, even when I won’t have time to read them until much later (so much later that I might as well have waited for the paperback release anyway … whoops).   

Other than that small fact of my grand impatience, I think paperbacks would have to be the superior format in my book. I mean, hardcover books don’t have a national day to celebrate them, but there is a National Paperback Book Day (spoiler alert, it’s today, July 30). So, obviously, there are other people in this world who agree, or else paperbacks wouldn’t have a whole day to themselves!  

Think about it: paperbacks are lightweight, making them the perfect format to tuck into a purse, tote bag, or suitcase for travel and spur-of-the-moment reading pleasures. And while the thin paperbacks are perfect to fold and cram into the back pocket of jeans on the go, I personally cannot condone this treatment of paperbacks (I mean, the HORROR).   

Some of us are even paperback collectors. Once we get books in paperback format, we want all the rest in the series to match. One of the rare series that I have actually been patient with is the City Spies series by James Ponti. I got the first book in paperback when leading a book club for middle grade readers, and ever since, I’ve been lucky enough to read advanced copies of the series and then waited for each to release in paperback before adding to my shelves.   

With genre fiction blessing us with the trade paper original, particularly in romance, it’s clear that even the publishers understand that it’s the best format, especially for voracious readers. I mean, romance novels are like tote bags: you can’t just own one. If you’re a book enthusiast, then your first step is to survey your overflowing shelves, and your second step is to go to the bookstore to buy more.  

Which leads me to perhaps the best part: the lower cost of paperbacks. You can pretty much buy two paperbacks for the price of a single hardcover. Double the books means double the enjoyment! Last time I was at my local Barnes and Noble, I was picking up From the Jump, and I ended up with Booked on a Feeling and Every Summer After too. 

Speaking of buying more, another perk of paperbacks is that they so often are the recipient of bonus material. Whether it’s bonus chapters, a sneak peek at the author’s next book, or new content that readers haven’t had access to previously, the addition of this material only makes paperbacks that much more superior! Take the paperback of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, for example. I couldn’t get enough of this book in hardcover, BUT THEN the addition of a chapter from Sel’s point of view, one of the most iconic and enigmatic characters in the whole book, had me absolutely scrambling to get my hands on a copy to read that extra material even though I already owned it in hardcover! 

That brings me to my final point about why paperbacks are superior: you can fit more of them on your bookshelves. They take up less space and weigh less, so not only can you cram more on your overflowing shelves, but when you do have to move, it’s easier because they won’t break your back quite as much (disclaimer: it still depends on how you pack them and whether you’re lifting with your legs or your back, so please don’t come at me if you end up with back problems).   


Stock Your Shelves with Paperbacks

Are you looking for paperbacks to add to your shelves and join me in celebrating this wonderful day? Check out the books below for some of our favorite paperbacks out now and some coming in paperback this fall! There’s a little something for everyone with these titles.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Get lost in other worlds through these sci-fi and fantasy stories full of adventure and magic.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel

Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel

Sue Lynn Tan

Paperback $14.99 $17.99

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir

Paperback $20.00

Mystery/Thriller/Horror

Be prepared to have shivers sent up your spines with these suspenseful stories that will make you check that you’ve locked your doors and sleep with the lights on.

False Witness

False Witness

Karin Slaughter

Paperback $14.99 $16.99

Billy Summers

Billy Summers

Stephen King

Paperback $17.99 $19.99

These Silent Woods

These Silent Woods

Kimi Cunningham Grant

Paperback $14.39 $17.99

Fiction

Get lost in these amazing reads full of heart, whimsy, and identity explorations. These are books that will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished them (along with a love story that will leave you with the warm and fuzzies), and they make great additions to your paperback collection.

Homegoing

Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi

Paperback $14.49 $16.95

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

Colson Whitehead

Paperback $14.99 $17.00

The Storyteller's Death: A Novel

The Storyteller's Death: A Novel

Ann Dávila Cardinal

Paperback $16.99

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr

Paperback $17.99 $20.00

The Sentence: A Novel

The Sentence: A Novel

Louise Erdrich

Paperback $18.00

Love on the Brain

Love on the Brain

Ali Hazelwood

Paperback $14.99 $17.00

Nonfiction

For all our fans of nonfiction, these three titles are unbeatable. If you’re looking to read and learn, these books are ones you must add to your collection!

This Is Your Mind on Plants

This Is Your Mind on Plants

Michael Pollan

Paperback $14.99 $18.00

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

Paperback $14.99 $17.00