Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Sunday Salon: A Book In Any Other Format

At the bookstore...

One of the perennial questions of book blogging is, how has blogging changed changed your reading habits? I've always found this question interesting if completely speculative--interesting because I like to torture myself thinking of what might'ves, and speculative because the same personality traits that led me into book blogging also guide my choices in reading. Let's face it, as soon as I knew about blogging, the concept of me blogging about books was pretty much inevitable. So my reading interests without the influence of book bloggers was just never going to happen.

Anyway, there is one area where I'm confident book bloggers have changed my reading, and that's in the format of the books I read. I'm not necessarily thinking of eBooks versus paper books (although the volume of eBooks I read right now probably is a direct result of book blogging); rather, I'm thinking of bindings for paper books.

I used to ONLY read mass market paperbacks. I couldn't (and still can't) afford trade paperbacks or hardcovers--especially when you consider the number of books I read every month--so I wouldn't even look at them in the store. Why torture myself? Oh, I might buy a hardback or tpb if my one most favoritest authors started publishing in that format and I absolutely couldn't wait to read their lastest novel, but for trying out new or just okay authors? No way. Plus, both trade and hardback are a pain in the ass to carry around. I can't fit that crap in my purse!

Then I started getting book recommendations from bloggers. On the internets, you can't "see" what format a book is in, so you can't avoid trade paperbacks or hardcovers (you also can't see how long the book is, which is another problematic thing for me)! Around the same time I started getting most of my books from the library, because a lot of the books I wanted to read were suddenly in more expensive formats. Libraries buy more hardbacks and trade editions than mass market, for obvious reasons, so that availability made the price ceiling I'd placed on myself irrelevant.

Now the vast majority of books I read are hardback or trade paperback. If I buy a book, it's usually in eFormat--even mass market paperbacks are out of my price range these days. $8 or $9 for a mmp? I really don't think so (now I understand why my mom was always whining about paying five bucks for them back in '90s; that seems like a bargain these days... and now I feel old). Some publishers still have agency pricing on their eBooks, which means they sell at the same price as the paper version; but most other eBooks are four dollars or less, which is quite reasonable and cheap enough that I'm willing to take a chance on new authors or genres that I normally wouldn't.

The thing is, that used to be the role of mass market, so I can't help but wonder if mass market books are phasing out. I hope not; they're still more convenient to carry in my purse than a kindle.

Has blogging changed the format you prefer to read in?


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