Coffee Shop Musings: Paperback, Hardback or Digital?


Coffee Shop Musings is a spin- off of Musings Monday that is originally hosted by Should Be Reading. This weekly feature spotlights occasionally bookish topics. This week’s topic is:

Splurging on Books: Paperback, Hardback, or Digital? 


This is a question that I usually ask myself when it comes to shopping for a new book… or a couple of books. Honestly, the question has gotten a lot harder now that I have started tuning into BookTube. To the point, when it comes to shopping for books, especially since I have been living with a college student budget, I consider the following points:

1. Financial availability/ costs. One thing about being a college student, or even a graduate is that most of your money usually goes to your priorities to survive and even graduate, mainly that would be food, water, shelter, transportation, textbooks and of course,TUITION! And even after you graduate, some of us still feel that big hole in our wallets as we begin to pay off student loans. So when it comes to spending for leisure purposes, the financial budget and the cost of the book is usually one of the first two things to consider. Paperback and digital copies of YA novels are usually cheaper than hardcover books. Digital copies usually ranges from $0.99 to $6.99, I’ve even seen some for free! Paperback copies usually range from $6.99 to $9.99 and hardcovers usually range from $17.99 to $19.99! So the type of cover I get usually depends on the amount the book costs and the amount that I am willing to spend on books and if I could still afford to live 😀

2. Keeping it all the same. Another thing that I usually consider when buying a book, especially if it is part of a series is whether or not I have the previous book in a particular format. Yes! I am that type of book reader/ collector that loves to see all her books in a series in the same size and format. I am a stickler for that, I know, I have a problem. If I have a couple of books in a series in paperback format, then I must get the remaining books in paperback format. If I have a couple of books in hardback format then I must get the remaining copies in hardback format. This is where boxsets come in pretty handy. But then again, I only own one box set (The Hunger Games). Why? Please refer to item #1 .

3. Space. Believe it or not, space has been an issue for me before and I have a feeling that it will not ever stop being an issue with me. I love having lots and lots of space available to move around in easily, especially now that I have a kid. I get all pissy when things are scattered all over the floor or sorted in all the wrong places. I love my space clean and organized. Paperback and hardback take up a lot of physical space, especially if you have accumulated so many books over the past couple of years while digital copies…of course… take up digital space which can easily be bought (so I don’t really have a problem with that), unlike physical space. Why not just sell the books that you have already read? Well, I love books. I love them so so much that it’s just hard to let them go,even the one that I’ve read a looooong time ago. Plus, I have taken really good care of my books  and they just look so good sitting on my shelf. So when I feel like I’m running out of shelf space and if I feel like I don’t really need a physical copy of the book, I would just stick with the digital copies.

4. Availability/ Accessibility. Ok! So I am currently located in the island of Guam. It is a U.S. territory in the Pacific. It is a small, well- developed island (perfect for a summer vacation :D). However, as well- developed as it is, there are only two main bookstores, four public libraries and three thrift stores at which one can choose to visit to obtain some decent reading materials. In addition, each and every single place mentioned contains a very small section of YA novels -.-‘. So the availability of YA titles are strictly limited. Either that or they come in a lot later than when the books have been released. It sucks! There are times when I just get so infuriated when my local bookstore does not carry a particular title, even after the book was released ages ago. Why not order online? I do order online, but like I said I live in Guam, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, shipping rates are sometimes ridiculous when ordering online which brings us back to item #1 of this article. Oh yes and did I mention that ordering online usually comes with a long and excruciating wait time? Yes! It usually takes my packages 21 days, almost a month, to get here. But when desperate times call for desperate measures, I have nowhere to go but online or I just purchase the digital copies of books that are delivered to your reading device instantaneously.

5. Popularity/ Rating. Basically,  the higher the popularity/rating, the higher the chances that I might purchase a copy of that book in hardback. The lower the popularity/ rating, I might just get it in paperback or digital :). Simple as that. BAM!

Financial availability, keeping my books looking all the same and pretty, the shelf space I have available, the availability and accessibility of the book to me, and the popularity and rating of the book are a couple of things that help me decide in whether I should purchase the paperback, hardback or digital copy of a particular title.

What helps you determine which format to buy a book in? Let me know down below 😀 


One thought on “Coffee Shop Musings: Paperback, Hardback or Digital?

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post (3) | Books and Iced Coffee

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