Dave of Dave's Fiction Warehouse asks a perennial question about hardback vs paperback books. "I have fairly strict criteria for buying hardbound volumes: If the book is a gift, if it is a work I expect to frequently reread, if it is a reference book, or if it is something I just can't wait to get my hands on. (Also, if it is offered at steep discount from Sam's Club or Costco, but I can be flexible on that point.)". Dave has just sent his brother the hardback of Ian Rankin's latest for a birthday present. He does not reveal whether he read it first ;-). Nor shall I reveal whether I would have done under similar circumstances ;-).
So when do you buy a hardback rather than wait for the paperback? There are some authors I just can't wait to read: I used to buy Elizabeth George in hardback when her books went through a phase of covering an issue that was particularly relevant to me. At the moment, though, I'm unlikely to read her at all, paper or hard. I buy J K Rowling in hardback the instant her latest is out (naturally). Other authors I buy in hardback include Ian McEwan, Mary Higgins Clark and Nicci French. I don't buy hardbacks for gifts, though -- I prefer paperbacks to read because you can easily fit two into your bag (I always carry two books, "an heir and a spare", to misquote). So I give paperbacks as presents -- unfortunately this means my recipients would have to wait as long as I am having to, to read the last (?) Rebus novel.