Always Wait for the Paperback.


Open letter to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ publisher

This one’s a guy ranting about why he won’t buy The Da Vinci Code in hardcover. (For the record, I’m the other person who has not yet read The Da Vinci Code.) And why won’t he? Well…

Why? Well, it’d go against one of the two rules by which my mother taught me to live life: Always Wait for the Paperback.

FOCLMAO. I had the hardcover vs. paperback discussion with some other reader/writer-types a few years back. I said I only bought paperbacks. Trade paperbacks, usually, but paperbacks, nonetheless. I think people thought I was wacky or something. Like, hardcovers are soooo much better! They smell great, etc. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. They’re also f’ing expensive and big/heavy (i.e. hard to carry around). I have changed my stance on the hardcover thing a little in the last couple years, though, since I discovered the remainder table. I mean, if I the hardcover is selling for $2.99, who’m I to say no? (I actually got one for 99 cents! That’s like FREE in American!)

I suspect there’s something politically incorrect about buying books off the remainder table. Like the author gets no royalties or something. (Anyone know?) But here’s the thing: if I’m buying full-priced paperbacks, I generally stick to writers I’ve read before. Who wants to shell out 20 bucks for a book that sucks? Also, the regular bookshelves in a large bookstore can be somewhat overwhelming–there are so many books! Which ONE to choose? So it’s easier just to go to my favorite authors and look for something I haven’t read yet.

With the remainder table, I can get 4 books for 20 bucks. If a book sucks, well, it’s no great loss. I’m free to take risks. The selection is smaller and more eclectic. It’s generally not literary phenomenon-type stuff, The Book Everyone is Reading. Which is good, because I’m really not into jumping off cliffs just because everyone else is. But often there will be books by “name” writers that I haven’t read. Hey, here’s a chance to check them out. And I always look at first novels. Sound interesting? I’ll pick it up.

It’s the randomness of it that I like. It’s the same principle as used bookstores, which I’ve always loved. You never know what you’re going to find, what you’re going to discover. And the selection is never the same twice. So you can’t waffle. You have to leap.

And the thing is, all it takes is one book to hook me. Next time? I’ll be looking for you on the regular shelves. As long as you’re in paperback 😉