I've always preferred buying paperbacks because they're cheaper.
With its creamy paper and embossed fabric covers, the hardback has always been the elite format for literary fiction.
Now Picador, an imprint of Pan MacMillan, the 8th largest publisher in the UK, which has authors such as Helen Fielding, Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy on its books, has called time on what it describes as "a moribund market". From next year it will launch almost every new novel as a £7.99 paperback, with other large publishers expected to follow.
But then again, I have to admit the experience of reading a hardcover book is incomparable to reading a cheap paperback. The smooth, thick paper, the feeling of substantial weight in your hands... holding and smelling the book, carrying it around with the dust cover off... reading a hardcover isn't just about enjoying the actual contents printed within. After all, you're paying a premium for this edition. It's okay to enjoy your book in a perverse way! (I won't tell if you don't...)
I don't buy every book in hardcover of course, but I will miss the format once it's gone. Picador isn't out to banish it forever though. They're planning "limited edition" releases of their future books which are basically tarted up hardcovers--ribbon bookmarks, fabric head and tail bands, the works. But I don't fancy rushing out to buy a copy of a book I want in hardcover before they're gone... forever.
But then again (again) I suppose you could argue that hardcovers have always been a sort of "limited edition" anyway. Except without the fancy add-ons.