These Delicate Delights // A discussion on paperbacks & its covers

Today I’m going all out as a book-nerd. I might go overboard in describing my love for paperbacks, but I have no shame or guilt to spare. Where else can I speak about my love for paperbacks and their covers, which I only keep staring at but haven’t made an effort to read?

I’m not gonna speak about the typography today. I have mentioned them here a bit, but I’m limiting my excitement for book covers today.
Do join me in the discussion in the comments below; I’d love to know what type of (physical) books you prefer to read.

My Love for Paperbacks

If you have followed my booksta posts, you’ll notice that I only have paperbacks or ebooks featuring in them. It’s not like I’m crazy about soft covers, but I love their appeal more than hardcovers.
I mean, my blog name has “paperback” in it; what more do I have to say! I had two other names before I settled down with paperbacktomes (paperback+tomes) because I thought they were more cringey and didn’t feel right.
This came out of nowhere, but it was what I needed to blend my love for paperbacks and books in general. Though I read mostly ebooks these days, I keep filling out my shelves with every paperback that I can afford.

Why Paperbacks?

Two factors that make me buy paperbacks instead of hardcovers are their availability and affordable price. Paperbackbacks are far cheaper than Hardcovers in India. Hardcovers are 3 to 5 times costly than Paperbacks in India. And if we take particular editions into considerations, then we have more variations in the price. Sometimes paperbacks are of the same cost as hardcovers or unavailable as eBooks or paperbacks.

Besides that, I have tiny palms and can’t hold paperbacks for hours stretch, so forget about holding heavy hardcovers. It’s simple, I don’t want to have a bad wrist day from holding a book, so I go mostly for paperbacks or eBooks.

Despite me reading one paperback a month, I love the feel of books. They are solid and real. There’s a joy in holding them that I don’t feel while reading my ebooks. Though there are page-turn or color-changing options, it’s nowhere near to holding and reading a physical book.


One of the best things about paperbacks is that they come in all textures. One of the best things about paperbacks is that they come in all textures. I’ll be speaking about a few here


I love collecting Vintage Classic books. They are colorful and have small illustrations imprinted on the cover. I don’t know if there’s is a term for this version, so I’m making one up. This is a Paper-Matte version of Hard Times by Charles Dickens. It’s not soft or laminated, so it is dry and thick paper-like.

Matte Laminated

Most of the books on my shelf are Matte Laminated. They are softbound and not too smooth. I don’t have to worry about the grip because it’ll stay firm in my hand because of its texture.


I guess many old books in this format. It’s softbound laminated, super smooth, and shiny. You might not be able to view the glaring and shining surface, but it’s the most in-your-face kinda cover.

Foil Stamp

Foil stamping is tricky to capture in my camera, but I’ll try to describe it. The crudest way to put it is to imagine a foil paper stamped flat on the typography or the cover. You can see it shining when you till the book, and they come in various colors, not just gold. (For ex: Call it What You Want has a blue-shade foil stamp.)

Embossed Typography

There are two types of embossing. One that’s laminated and the other that’s not laminated. These are pretty common and can be easily identified. You must have seen book covers with titles that are slightly raised, where you can feel the grooves if you run your hands over them- those are embossed ones. If you see a glossy or non-glossy overcoat on these embossed titles, they make the Laminated ones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the embossed ones on my shelf, but both Clap When You Land and We Hunt the Flame here fall under the latter category.


There’s another type that I’m going to skip because I couldn’t differentiate the ones on my shelf. Debossed is the reverse of embossed covers. Here instead of a raised surface, you have sunken ones going inwards.


On the upside, paperbacks are easy to carry and shelve, but on the downside, many things can ruin them.
My walls are damp in the rainy season, so I keep worrying if there might be infestations that’d probably damage the books. I saw a bookstagramer posting about their shelf completely ruined by termites, so there’s that to worry about.
Paperback spines are very delicate. Sometimes when you want to open the book to 180°, the binding might give out. I hate to see papers coming unbound from the book. So these are some of the issues that I have with them.


P.S. This is my first ever discussion post, so I didn’t push myself too much and kept it short. I initially thought of using These Delicate Delights only as a subheading, but the previous heading was too bland, so I stuck to this. It may or may not be a play on These Violent Delights, though.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t post on the BBN page. I was so confident that I’d have replies earlier this week, but since the bloggers told me that they needed time to reply, I left them to it. I’ll let y’all next week about it.

Happy Weekend!


  1. I’m a fan of paperbacks too! I tend to buy paperbacks because like you, I find them more accessible. Easier to hold/carry, and easier to store it in my bag hehe! I also am guilty of loving cracked spines so obviously paperbacks are like the way to go! And yes, Isha, price is a HUGE factor for me! Hardbacks are way too expensive to spend money on most times!


    • It’s so cute that you like cracked spines. I’d have loved them if I can make out the author’s or book’s name, but other than that it shows how much a book is loved, so there’s that. Me too. I prioritize my wishlist based on the prices; I could read 3-4 books instead of one hardcover, I’d definitely pick paperbacks. Gald that you brought this up.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally get your love for paperbacks. I, like you, am one of the very few people in the bookish community who actually prefers paperbacks over hardbacks, not only because they are cheaper (I am Indian too) but also because I just like their feels. Great discussion!!


  3. I’m a hardcover girl but I do love a good paperback! The thing is that there are indeed many different sorts of paperbacks and when you preorder or order online you just don’t know what to expect and I…do not like that lol! I’ve known some really annoying paperbacks haha.


  4. Loved the post, Isha! I’m usually very particular about what edition of a book I want, and that decides whether I want a hardcover or a paperback. It’s usually very random, but for example I really liked the paperback edition of A Little Life with a face on the cover, so although the hardback is exactly the same, I wanted that one 🤷‍♀️ I totally get why you love paperbacks, they’re much more convenient!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am right in the middle~ it depends if I like the book or not. If I really like I usually opt out for the hardback (if I can) but if it’s a book that I don’t know if I like it or not and I sorta want it I’ll probably get the paperback hahahaa Love this post ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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