Oct 22

In Praise of the Trade Paperback

Books come in many shapes and sizes. Small books, big books, long books, short books (as Dr. Seuss might say). They come in different colors, with different pictures on their covers (or no pictures at all). They have tiny writing or big, bold letters with 3-inch margins. Almost no two books are the same. However, there is one type of book that I always prefer over any other — the trade paperback.

Types of Books

For the most part, books come in two different general types: Hardcover and paperback. Hardcover speaks for itself — it’s any book that has a hard cover. Paperback books, though, get further broken up into trade paperback and mass market paperback. Trade paperbacks are, for the most part, a bit larger than mass market paperback books, printed on higher quality paper with a larger, more spread out font and printing style. Mass market paperbacks, are smaller in size and printed on lower quality paper. These are the types of books you’ll see at airport newsstands. Wikipedia has a great article on paperbacks that really defines the differences between the two types of paperbacks.

Why Trade Paperbacks Rock

This article, however, is my “shout out” for the trade paperback. Many people claim that the hardcover version of a book is the best. While it is often the best in terms of simple quality (the paper, the ink, etc.), from the practical standpoint of actually being able to read a book, nothing beats the trade paperback.

Continue reading

Oct 05

Are Books Dying?

We’ve all heard the expression, “print is dead,” but does this really apply to books? Are books as physical things dying out? Will the internet, audio books, or digital readers spell the end for books?

I don’t think they will, and in this post, I’ll explain why I think that way.

If you’re reading this site, you’re more than likely an avid reader. So, off the bat, I’m writing to a readership that probably doesn’t think books are dead or dying. However, you are reading this on the internet, so you might also be a bit more tech savvy than the average book reader. You might see where things such as the internet or digital readers could foretell the death of the book.

Let’s look at a book for a second, though, and examine it from a material aspect. The book as a form has a long history, with copies of books being mentioned in Roman texts. When the printing press was introduced in the 15th century, books were mass produced for the first time, and almost anyone could have one. The book as a form is certainly not a new thing.

Books themselves have physical qualities that the internet, audio books or digital readers just don’t have. First, and foremost, is that they are extremely portable. A small paperback book can slip in your pocket. I remember running around Portland shortly after college with a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in the back pocket of my jeans. No laptop will ever fit there.

Continue reading