5 Reasons to Give Hardcovers a Home
Why we love physical books more than e-readers
Book of the Month
We heart hardcovers. That's why we send them to our members in nice brown boxes every month. We love when these neat, sturdy boxes arrive at our doors, and we love ripping open the packaging to hold, feel, and smell the book we've anxiously been awaiting to arrive. In this post, we explore five of the top reasons to give a hardcover a home. "
1. The Feel of a Book
Holding a hardcover book is a physical, tactile experience. And that elicits strong emotions. It was one of the first things our Guest Judge Whoopi Goldberg mentioned about her love of reading, "You know I like the feel of a nice book... There's nothing like a good story. Put the phone down get in the bathroom. Take a minute. You can sit on the can and be on the moon at the same time."
Bestselling Author and Book of the Month member Mitch Albom painted an even stronger picture of us - that moment when the book is delivered to your door.
"I remember getting a book shipped to the house. Getting a book, and seeing it arrive is a different feeling than anything else because it has a nice shape...And there's a way of like ripping it open and pulling it out and it first comes out and you see all those, maybe the deckle-edged pages or something. You're holding it in your hands for the first time, you're flipping through it. So tactile you know."
2. The Smell of a Book
In addition to touch, the sense of smell is also strongly evoked with a hardcover book. Whether it's an old, musty book, or a fresh-off-the-press tome with crisp new pages, most readers can't help but hold that spine up to their noses and take a big whiff. Why do books smell so good?
The Daily Mail recently published an article citing the research of a British chemistry teacher. They explain, "Old books have a sweet smell with notes of vanilla flowers and almonds, caused by the breakdown of chemical compounds in the paper, while new books smell like they do because of chemicals used in their manufacture." These chemicals originate from the adhesive, ink, and the paper treatment methods used in the book. The chemist explains that, "No single chemical causes the odour of books. It's a result of a complex mix of volatile chemicals produced by chemicals used in their manufacture, as well as the gradual degradation of the chemicals within the paper."
Whatever the science may be, the smell of a book elicits feelings of nostalgia and comfort. It's something that an e-reader can't do, even with a product that claims to give devices that real book smell.
...We'd rather just read a real book.
3. Share What You're Reading With the World
As insatiable readers, we're always looking for new book recommendations. There are plenty of online resources (including Book of the Month!), but there's something exciting about seeing what complete strangers are reading out and about in public. It's a part of our curious nature. One of the most entertaining ways to pass the time on public transit is to creep on other riders' books. Instagram account Hot Dudes Reading has amassed over 800K followers by taking photos of attractive men reading physical books and papers. Whether you're checking out the person holding the book, or the book itself, a hardcover will give you much more intel than the back of an iPad or e-reader.
4. Hardcovers May Be Better For the Environment
Reading a hardcover may be better for the environment than consuming books on your e-reader. Depending on your book consumption, reading a physical book may be the best way to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum. The New York Times dug into this topic here, with the following conclusion:
"With respect to fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption, the impact of one e-reader payback equals roughly 40 to 50 books. When it comes to global warming, though, it's 100 books; with human health consequences, it's somewhere in between. All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library."
5. It's Easier to Comprehend What You're Reading with Physical Books
You may have suspected that what you read on the screen isn't absorbed in quite the same way as what you read from physical books. Research shows that the absence of a tactile experience when reading from screens and e-readers "prevents people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension." Other research shows that readers may approach reading from a screen in a way that is less conducive to learning, and that reading from a screen may also drain more of our mental resources and make it harder to remember what we read when we are done.
We hope this gives you enough reasons to curl up, read, and sniff a hardcover. Happy reading!