And so we come to the end of the original trilogy with the completion of Destiny. As I mentioned a couple posts back, I have a friend who didn’t realize until very recently that there were more than three books in this universe, that it is actually a series. Which means it’s a great time to talk about format.
See, Destiny does actually end, without a lead-in to the next book, which most of the Symphony of Ages do have. So if you were reading a hardcover, you’d sigh and think about how great that story was. I, however, prefer mass market paperbacks. So I knew that there was another book forthcoming, titled Requiem for the Sun.
Now, back to format. As we all know, paperbacks are generally cheaper than hardcovers in multiple ways. They are smaller and generally less durable in the long run. They are also more widely available. I personally prefer paperbacks for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Price: See above.
- Availability: Print runs tend to be larger and some books are actually not issued as hardcovers first.
- Weight: There are very few paperbacks that weigh more than a hardcover. Also your hardcover might be intended for ages six and under at that point. Makes it a lot easier to stick a book in your bag without worrying about how much extra weight you’re lugging around in case of boredom.
- Size: There’s a number of things here, so get ready. Firstly, I have small hands, so it is easier to hold a paperback up than a hardcover – the latter I’d rather rest on a desk, my knees, whatever. Secondly, if I’m reading in bed, the size of a paperback makes it a lot easier to read – the top of a hardcover’s page might be just a bit too far away for me to read without grabbing my glasses, which kind of defeats the purpose at that point. Thirdly, the smaller size of paperbacks means they take up a lot less space on a bookshelf. If you plan your shelves right, most bookcases allow you to doublestack mass market paperbacks on at least one shelf. My dad always taught me to double and triplestack whenever possible, and while I don’t (yet) have the capability to triplestack books, I can certainly double them up. And no, we’re not talking books in front of books. I need to see the spines on everything except manga series.
Above is an old photo (almost ten years old, so please forgive the quality) of my parents’ basement. That back wall is most of my dad’s 1200 sci-fi/fantasy books. The shelves of the same height on the right are his old textbooks and other schoolbooks. The shelves resting on the floor contain a number of children’s books that my sister and I felt no need to keep in our rooms. You can see how, growing up in that environment, I learned how to store the most books visibly in a particular space. One day I’d like to have a set of shelves just like that.
Now, this photo is more recent (less than five years old) and this is one of my shelves. (I guess the little graduation mouse may have made that obvious.) You may note that some books are missing from the lower row. Yes, the Argonath is standing underneath the Joanne Bertin and Tanya Huff books. What’s missing is the Symphony of Ages.
Well, not all of them. I only have the first five volumes (Rhapsody, Prophecy, Destiny, Requiem for the Sun, and Elegy for a Lost Star) in paperback. The way I collect books is that I (usually) start with paperbacks. If possible, I’ll stick with them, even when it means I have to wait an absurdly long time to buy the next (looking at you, Rick Riordan). However, sometimes if I’m not careful, I might not specify “paperback only” on my amazon wish list, or I might get impatient, or something else. In the case of the Symphony of Ages, it was actually something else. I found The Assassin King in hardcover for $5. The paperback, in the same store, was $7.99. You can see why hardcover won this time.
Once I do have a book in hardcover, I have no qualms about getting the rest of the series in hardcover. In fact, it’s easier that way. I keep all my series in order on my shelves and, though hardcovers are on separate shelves from paperbacks of necessity, I know that once I switch from Elegy for a Lost Star to The Assassin King, I just have to read all the books in the order they appear on their shelves. Not to mention the not waiting a year (or eighteen months if it’s Rick Riordan) to buy the next book.
Of course, if I am waiting to buy a paperback, that doesn’t keep me from checking out the library’s hardcover. If they’re still buying the series.