Years ago (ok, I was probably in my 20s), I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club. Every couple of months I could get the book they picked out for me, an alternate pick or choose something of my own. They were all hard cover books.
I was working a full time job (at Master Lock) and a part time job (at Walgreens). I had my own apartment, a 1968 New Yorker and a refrigerator that always had a bottle of wine in it (Annie Green Springs).
I joined the club by filling out a post card in a magazine that offered 5 books for 99 cents and 2 additional books for a discounted rate, so of course, I did that. When the books came, I felt like I was living the life of a rich person. I bought a bookcase that took up a large portion of my studio apartment and went to work filling it. The excitement of receiving those books every other month never diminished. It was often the highlight of my day. Many times I read the book the same day or the next and then would want to share it with friends.
When I’d have guests over, I’d just have to show off my latest addition to the collection. We were all such cerebral young adults, even though many of my books were just plain fun, I did manage to have a few “serious” books.
Hard cover books in my youth meant a certain social standing. But more than that, they were mine. I could read them over and over again. I would take the dust jackets off while I read them so I wouldn’t ruin it.
Where ever I moved, the hard cover books came with me. There were a lot of memories attached to them that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the stories. I’d remember who I shared them with, the discussions we had about them and the authors who wrote them. I’d think about where I lived and what was going on in my life when I got them.
Now it doesn’t really matter to me what format I read a book in, but I’m not sure a lot of memories are getting attached to them. I think I miss that part the most.
Bottom Line: “The paperback is very interesting but I find it will never replace the hardcover book – it makes a very poor doorstop.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock