The Great and Thrilling Bookstr Debate: Hardcover, Paperback, or Ebook

We asked our team to tackle one of the greatest bookish debates: hardcover, paperback, or ebook. Come read their decisions about which medium is the best!

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A line of books organized by rainbow color, starting with red.

It’s been debated for years: which book medium is the best? There are ebooks, with their ability to provide you with a book at any time and keep your place while you’re reading. There are hardcovers, with their durability and longevity, as well as gorgeous dust covers. Then there are paperbacks, with their worn pages, bookish smell, and smaller, sleek design. We tackled the debate and asked our team which book medium(s) they prefer and why. Come read their answers!

Hardcover and Paperback

I prefer to have physical copies of my books because it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at on a shelf, and I love the smell of the pages as I’m leafing through them (more so older books). There’s also something about a quiet, chilly night that’s filled with the crackling of the fireplace, which could be real or an ambient sound, and the sounds of the pages being turned that I enjoy immensely.

Books stacked on top of each other with the top one open to a page.

I have tried an E-book here and there, but my poor eyesight mixed with reading a bunch of words on a bright screen does cause strain over time. I tend to pause more often than I would want to since I know it’ll affect me later on in the day, so I would avoid it whenever possible. Another thing, I have the worst luck with breaking things, so I rather not jinx myself on that either! 

  • Jaiden Cruz, Graphics

Hardcover, Ebook, Anything and All!

I am notorious for owning my favorite books/series on all reading mediums. Hardcover books have a special place in my heart and line the walls of my home; they’re a comfort and readily available whenever I may not have power or need to conservative battery.

A girl holding up a tablet pointed at a bookshelf, which is showing on the screen.

I do not own an e-reader; instead, I read from my phone on the Kindle app. But I have a large phone and can do so without straining my eyes. When I am busy and need my hands free – cleaning, cooking, working – I like to listen to audiobooks. Reading is just a part of who I am, and I appreciate all of the mediums in which I can get my hands on books.

  • Kristi Eskew, Editorial

Hardcover Always; Paperback as a Backup!

When it comes to the medium in which I read, I will always choose the physical feel of a book, and it will almost always be hardcover. Hardcover books keep better, and they are easier to hold while reading, especially at night while lying down. But honestly, I just like the feel of a hardcover book, and they tend to have the best cover art.

A top-down view of a hardcover book with the pages toward the viewer.

They don’t bend as easily, so I can prop open a book, and set it down when my hands need a break, and the book and pages don’t flop around and close on the page I’m reading. The only time I will take paperback is if/when the hardcover version is out of stock or isn’t a choice. Paperback books are fine and nice, but they will always be a backup to hardcover books for me. I’m a hardcover-book-lover for life!

  • Quiarah B, Editorial

Hardcover and Paperback With the Occasional Ebook

There’s nothing better than reading a physical book! I love the smell, I love the feel of the pages, and I love how they look on my bookshelves. Between paperback and hardcover, I don’t really favor one medium over the other in terms of the reading experience, but if it’s one of my all-time favorite books and I want to display it on my shelf, I think hardcovers make for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation.

A bookshelf with many books sorted by color.

I never got on the e-reader hype train, so if I do read an ebook, it’s either on my phone or my tablet. I usually read before bed, and I try to avoid too much screen time before I go to sleep, so ebooks aren’t ideal. Also, reading an ebook just doesn’t have the same effect as reading a paperback or a hardcover book. If I’m traveling, I might read an ebook on my phone just for the sake of convenience, but my preference is always going to be for physical books. 

  • Lauren Nee, Editorial 

Hardcover All the Time

Three books sitting up toward the camera with a plant in the background and a heart light. There is a light pink wall behind everything.

I really love the feeling of physically holding the book in my hands when I read it. There is something really rewarding about turning each page physically as you go through the journey of the book. I also prefer hardcover over paperback because I like the sturdiness of the hardcover. I don’t like it when my books get all bent and creased so I always feel like hardcover protects the book more. It also makes it look super nice. I will still use paperback if I have to though, but I have never tried ebooks before. Maybe one day though!

  • Elizabeth Hoyer, Graphics


A black and white book with headphones sitting in the spine of the open pages.

I think I prefer paperbacks. They’re just lighter and not too annoying to move around while traveling. I really don’t know why. They just look nicer. Lately, I’ve been thinking of trying more audiobooks so I can draw while I “read” cause I like to multitask and have something to listen to while I’m doing something creative. 

  • Talya Golian, Graphics 


I honestly prefer paperbacks. I’ll take a hardcover if that’s all there is, but I prefer the feel of a paperback under my hands. The more I read it, the more worn it gets, and I think there’s something beautiful about seeing how worn a book is. That’s how you know it’s been loved and read. I like the bend of a paperback under my fingertips, and hardcovers just feel too bulky for me.

An old worn book with the pages frayed.

I’ll take an ebook if I want to read something in a flash and can’t go out and buy a physical copy, like if I can’t wait for a book to come from Amazon or it’s 3 am, and no bookstores are open, but I prefer having the physical copy. I like holding books in my hands and love the smell of a good book. However, I’m also that person who likes to have every version of their favorite book, whether it’s a hardcover or a paperback. 

  • Alexandra Mellott, Editorial

Hardcover and Ebook

A stack of hardcover books piled on top of each other in front of a dark gray background.

Although I mainly read ebooks at the moment due to lack of space, I love, love, love a hardcover book! The weighted feeling of a hardcover book brings absolute joy and comfort, especially knowing that the cover won’t get easily damaged if someone mishandles it. Also, I love the art that goes into the inside book covers, as it gives a prelude to what I may be reading. Don’t even get me started on “special edition” hardcover books! They are so gorgeous!

  • Jhade Gales, Graphics


A stack of hardcover books on top of each other with a white background.

For me, there is almost nothing better than a beautiful, hardcover book. The feeling of it in your hands, the beguiling art on the dust jacket, and the sense that you have a very special object to treasure is so wonderful. All of my books are very significant to me, but I love giving particular care to my hardcover copies. Additionally, they help me to curb my not-so-lovely habit of cracking the spines of paperbacks! 

  • Austin Decker, Editorial 


A paperback book on a brown table.

Looking at my book collection, I have a fair amount of hardcovers and paperbacks. I’m going with paperbacks only because they just overall feel better and are more convenient when traveling. Hardcovers don’t have the same bend and give as paperbacks. So I find I can pack more paperbacks in a bag. But if it’s a book I absolutely need, I’ll take any format I can find!

  • Olivia Mason, Editorial 

Paperback and Hardcover

A bunch of books stacked on top of each other in piles next to one another.

Ever since I started reading when I was little, I was always holding a paperback book. I found it more comfortable, even when reading larger works. Now I’m still leaning on that side, but I will get hardcovers if the cover is prettier or someone gifted it to me. If I read a hardcover, I make sure to take off the dust sleeve while reading so I don’t damage it at all. I will always be #teamphysicalbooks when it comes down to it; nothing will beat the feeling of holding a crisp, unopened book.

  • Sydney Wright, Editorial 

Did you enjoy our team’s answers? Where do you fall on the great debate spectrum? Do you prefer hardcover, paperback, or an ebook?

For more articles with the Bookstr team, click here.