My Love/Hate Relationship with Paperback Books

All the things I love about books:

  1. The weight of a book in my hands
  2. The smell of opening a new book; it smells like home
  3. The sound of the plastic library book cover crinkling
  4. The look of a beautifully organized bookshelf
  5. Looking through the books on the beautifully organized bookshelf
  6. Learning about people through the books they like or dislike
  7. Words
  8. Stories
  9. Everything

Having said that, we need to discuss paperback books. Paperback books are the spider of the literary world, I understand their purpose and, possibly, why they should exist but I want no part of them. They are eternally infuriating. They rip, bend, break, and are completely useless on a bookshelf. Why have a book on a bookshelf when YOU CANNOT EVEN READ THE TITLE? Books are supposed to have substance, gravitas. Instead, paperback books have a hollowness, spinelessness. Every single thing on my list above is untrue of paperback books (okay, that is just mean…they have words and stories, but everything else…). They have no weight. They smell like mass packaging. If you hear a crinkling sound it’s because YOU JUST RIPPED A PAGE. And they look terrible on a bookshelf!

The biggest issue with paperback books is that you cannot outright hate them. They are important, very important actually. And that makes them even worse! Without paperback books, most classrooms would be empty of books, many children would not have any books at home, Scholastic book sales would not even exist and I, myself, would not have anywhere near the number of books I have. While everything about a hard cover books is a dream, like in life, we cannot afford the dream. Paperback books make the dream a reality. Now, teachers and schools are able to afford building up classroom libraries and students can save up their allowances while paging through the Scholastic book order pages looking for books they can actually afford to order themselves. Study after study confirm that children need to be read to and exposed to books from the earliest ages. Because of paperback books, parents are able to buy more books than they otherwise would be able to afford. This makes them essential to society. Like generic brand medication, it brings something vital but unattainable into reach. You cannot, in good conscience, hate such a thing (or can you?).


If you can read one name in this stack of books, you get them all.

Just kidding, I would never do that to someone…you get the joy of winning! (Now we know why our kids hate that term so much. It is highly unsatisfying…not unlike a certain kind of aforementioned book.)




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