Confessions of Neurotic Book Buyer

Like all the best people out there, I'm a little crazy.  I have some serious OCD tendencies and an obsessive personality and I'm neurotic about some of the strangest things.

One, not very strange in my opinion, neuroses I have revolves around my books.  I love hardcover books - like love love love them.

I always prefer to buy hardcover over paperback.  There are practical reasons.  I can reread without wearing the book out.  I can lend it out without worrying it'll come back in tatters from too many people bending it every which way (I do not lend dust jackets).

But one of the real reasons, is that when I put the book on my shelf, it looks better - neater - when all the books are hardcover.

This becomes a real problem for me when books are paperback originals.  I still buy and read them of course, but I am always hoping the book will come out in hardcover later.  In fact, I compulsively check amazon to see if I can get a hardcover edition.

Like with Kim Harrison's The Hollows series.  The first several books came out in mass market before switching to hardcover.  Which of course presented a huge problem for my bookshelves.  I can't possibly display mass markets next to hardcovers but I can't break up a series either!  (After biting my nails and secretly stressing about it, I do now own this entire series in hardcover...and I still own those mass markets too.  They're shelved behind the hardcovers.)

Occasionally though it's hard to get a hardcover edition.  I've ordered them from the UK a few times.  Or I've bought them used when they're out of print.  (Side note: I'm also obsessive about collecting used books with inscriptions to other people.)  Which brings me to...


A few days ago, I ordered a used book online.  A hardcover, of course.  The bookseller described the book as being in excellent condition, no markings, no stickers, almost like the book looked new.  This was perfect for me.  I sent my money through the internet and awaited arrival of said book.

Today it came.


I didn't shed any tears, but I did have a minor fit in the office about it.  (Thankfully no one was hear to witness it.)  And then I ordered another copy from another bookseller after double-checking to make sure their copy does have a dust jacket.

I know how crazy this is.  I know.  But on the upside, people like me are the reason print books will never die.

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Kelsey said...

Don't worry, you're not alone. I just recently gave away a paperback in a series because the next one was hardover. So now I have an unfinished series on my shelf and it's driving me insane. I have to get the hardcover soon.

D. Robert Pease said...

I also have this issue. I have the whole Wheel of Time series on my shelf in hardback, but the second book in the series is smaller than all the others. I forgot to check the dimensions when I ordered it. It just sits there between it's larger brothers and sisters, taunting me. I know I'll have to break down and buy a new copy at some point, but my wife already doesn't understand my obsession. This is THE main reason I don't own an e-reader. All those pixels just don't look good on the bookshelf.

Sarah said...

Paperback tend to take up less room on the shelf, so I'm more likely to go that way. It leaves more room for more books. I know I'll never achieve the perfect shelf aesthetic where the books are all the same height and size, so I've let go of that dream.

My weird neurosis is that I like slightly unusual books. Advance copies, UK or other editions, books with odd inscriptions, books that come in strange sizes, etc. If something is a little bit strange about a book, I'll probably pick it up.

Michelle said...

My first Nancy Drew book in hardcover at age six...and I was sold. Hardcover forever!

Hope you get that dust jacket soon. ;)

Julie Hedlund said...

I recently gave away a copy of The Girl Who Played With Fire that was given to me because it was the mass market version and I cannot read mass market books. They're too small, they wreak havoc on my eyes and I can't stand the way I get ink all over my hands.

So we all have our issues!

LupLun said...

See, this is why I always either use the library or buy new. ^_^ Used always brings problems you don't expect. My favorite eBay story-- it was either eBay or Amazon used, I don't remember-- was when I ordered a box of CCG cards. I paid the price plus a shipping cost that I thought was a bit much. There was nothing wrong with the item-- except that it arrived in a beaten-up, formerly used several times box that read "Playtex Breast Cream" on the side. I was still living with my mother at the time, and she was like, "Umm, son? Is there something you want to tell me?"

Grrr... -_-#

And, yeah, I get the appeal of hardcovers. The old saying about judging a book by it's cover is very true, but when I look at a hardcover, my instinctive thought is "Oh, this looks good." For a mass-market paperback, my instinct says "Oh, this looks like it might be fun." For a trade paperback, the thought is "Oh... this looks really cheaply put-together." So it goes.

Lupines and Lunatics

Angie said...

Love your neurosis. I'm more of the type that every book has to match the rest in the series. I had bought soft covers of the first two Mortal Instruments series and waited an extra year just to get a soft cover for the third. I do also get your hardcover fixation though - mostly for how neat they look when all stacked together. :)

Unknown said...

There's a blog post..."OCD readers are the future of print books."

LOL we all have our addictions some are easier to detect than others. I'm a Mormon who can and ocassionally cuss like a sailor. Did I mention I'm a convert Mormon.

Either way we all need our healthy secret desires fullfilled...speaking of which I have a paranormal romance I need to finish writing.


E. A. Brass said...

You know what's completely flail-worthy? I have some series on my shelf that are half paperback and half hardcover---but they're signed. Now I can't replace the paperbacks, because they are signed and the replacements would not be.

I completely understand why stores don't continue to regularly stock hardcovers when the paperbacks are out, but it would be nice for those hardcover emergencies like when authors dart into your store or you find out that day they're signing that night.

(Thankfully, for Kim Harrison, the HCs were all available when I started reading. The only paperbacks of hers that I have are ARCS, mwahaha. Now, if only those short stories would get collected in a hardcover edition!)

Tracey Neithercott said...

It's not just you! I prefer hardcover, too. Aside from the fact that it's easier to read hardcover (it sits better on the lap, I think) it also makes for a pretty bookshelf. My husband laughs at me for this, but I like order on my shelves and pretty dust jackets are part of that.

So, no, you're not crazy. A little OCD? Maybe. But the best of us are. ;)

Mike Koch - Protect The Risen said...

You always make me smile when you post blogs like this one. I thank you for that on this fine monday morning. The best part of the hard cover experience for me is the shiny/large picture on the jacket front. It makes me even more giddy whent that picture wraps itself around to the back. So yeah it would have drove me bonkers as well to have a book show up without the cover.

Unknown said...

Ha!! I know exactly where you're coming from. I, too, am a hard-cover fiend. When I lend out my books (after long and careful deliberation. hey! I don't want my books to come back with folded over pages or broken spines) I never, ever, ever give out the jackets. Also, this is where I have to confess that my hardcovers are kept seperate from my paperbacks which are kept seperate from my mass markets. They just look prettier when all the same ones are housed together. Why yes, I do understand that that sounds a touch insane. So, what? :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I have ADD, so I tend to skip around a lot when I read. I always have at least three paperbacks in my bag with me at all times.

I hate folded corners on paperbacks most of all, so I bought quite a few cases to keep them in so they don't fold over. (Think oversized eye glass cases).

I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one with this quirk!

Rebecca Christiansen said...

You have no idea how relieved I am after reading this! I'm totally the same. While I love paperbacks and hardcovers equally, I'm SO ANAL RETENTIVE about my books! Can't stand a single bent corner or scratch or folded dust jacket. Drives me absolutely insane. My heart almost broke when I ordered a book (brand new) online and they shipped me one with a wrinkled dust jacket, a torn corner, and a crappy binding. Seriously, I almost cried!

Anonymous said...

This happened to me too. I spent £12 on a 1962 David Attenborough book on Amazon marketplace and no dust jacket. Next time I bought the most expensive (at £35) version of a 1963 David Attenborough book to hopefully guarantee a dust jacket, and this time I got one.

Chersti Nieveen said...

Oh that is so funny, and I know exactly how you feel. The Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner is the same -- I am dying to get the first 2 in hardcover. For now, where DO you put them on the shelf?

And then I have a thing for matching covers, because when a series is slower and suddenly a new book comes out, the publisher decides to redo ALL the previous book covers. So of course I fall for their ploy and have to go BUY all the books again so they have the matching covers. Or that new book will never fit on my shelf.

Becca C: Wow, that's so me! It too me a whole year at college to believe that it was okay to highlight the textbook and make notes in the margins. Even then, it had to be super neat or it drove me nuts because it was "damage" to the book.