Monday, April 19, 2010

For the Love of Paperbacks

This week I went to the bookstore to find a copy of my book in paperback. It was just released, and I found copies already on the shelf, which I was quite pleased about. Seeing The Rock and the River in paperback made it feel real to me in a whole new way.

I love paperback books. I grew up reading them. They were the ones I checked out from the teen section of the library (dozens at a time), and the only ones I could convince my mom to buy in the bookstore. They opened easily and I never felt bad about dog-earing pages. Hard covers always seemed to me like a waste of time, a showpiece, not a real book for real people to enjoy. If I was a teen reader today, paperback is the version of the book that would have caught my eye. I feel excited to think about all the new eyes that will fall upon the story now that it’s in a friendlier, more accessible form.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to appreciate what hard cover books have to offer. They look great on a bookshelf. They’re nice keepsakes, especially if you can get a first edition with an autograph. They’re sure to last longer, and they come with coats so they won’t even get too dusty. All in all, a neat package, and as an author, I can’t help but note that they bring me more royalties. Still, my heart lies with paperback. Those are the books I still want to curl up with on a rainy Saturday, and tuck into my purse just in case I get a seat on the subway. Those are the ones I reach for when I’m too tired to think and just want to slide into a story.

This is mostly about me celebrating my book’s evolution into a new format, but it’s also an homage to the many, many nameless, faceless paperbacks that did their part to help make me into a devoted reader, enthusiastic writer and now, published author.

Hooray for paperback books!

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