All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?
My father used to throw paperbacks away … and I rescued them. I couldn’t bear the idea of books being thrown away, but he came from a generation that thought paperbacks were rough replicas of their lofty hardback originals and didn’t deserve a shelf life (on his shelves).
But I love paperbacks. They’re lighter in your pocket (or bag, or suitcase) and they cost less to send to a friend. Often they have better covers so they look prettier on your shelves and their spines bend more easily … paperbacks every time for me. (Even though it is lovely, as a writer, to see your work in hardback it really isn’t necessary, or particularly green.) I think there’ll be fewer and fewer hardbacks as paperback publishing becomes more and more sophisticated. There are some beautiful trade papebacks out there in the world, with front and back flaps and wonderful production values. Long live the paperback.