There's something hugely satisfying about owning a hardback book. Something nice and meaty and solid. Perfect for reading in bed, or curled up on the couch. Crap for reading in the bath, or on holiday, or when you're wearing a rubber romper suit on your way for another fortnight of fun and frolics on an oilrig in the middle of the North Sea. Seriously - they make you wear a rubber romper suit: a big, bright, primary-coloured all-in-one suit with booties and a hood.
The idea is that if your helicopter crashes in the middle of the North Sea, the suit will keep you alive. Which is highly un-bloody-likely, given the fact that you'll die from the cold in 15 minutes. And no matter what anyone tells you, those suits give bugger all heat insulation. If it's hot in the helicopter: you swelter, if it's cold: you freeze. How the hell's it going to cope with the North Sea? What the suit really does is provide a convenient container for your dead body when they fish it out of the drink. Even comes with a nifty handle on the back. But I digress...
A paperback book fits perfectly into the little zippy-panel thing that runs down the romper suit's leg, and makes a fine companion for the 2 hour, deafening flight offshore. It fits in a jacket pocket, or that little pouch thing on the front of a manbag*.
In short - a hardback's for keepin', a paperbacks for havin' dirty fun.
And soon people in the good old US of A will be able to have their own dirty fun with the new PB version of Cold Granite from St. Martins Press (shameless plug). You can stuff them down your leg zip pouches to your heart's content and no one will be any the wiser.
Hardback on the left - paperback on the right. Do the hokey-kokey and we all fall down. Or something like that anyway.
*Agent Phil knows what I'm talking about.