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Remember that Scholastic gives you paperbacks as a premium for having books
fairs . They are at no cost to you.
Use them - they are inexpensive, last most of the time and are well liked by
the kids - having 2 harry potter
paperbacks are great when none are around. Remember a statistic - only
20percent of books circulate regularly -and
in terms of hardbacks that can be expensive.
My students like them too, and I get many of them from donations and book
fairs. What I like is being able to offer a
bigger selection of fiction to the kids, and if the book is a classic, or
stays popular I'll buy a copy in hardcover (usually
Permabound). Some of the series the kids like don't stay popular for long
and I would be stuck with 50 books to toss.
They hold up pretty well, I cover them with laminate.
I have a lot of paperbacks. I have not noticed much of a preference either
way. If there is a popular title that all the
kids are reading, they don't care if it is paperback or hardback. I have
found in my own school (and this does not go
for all schools) that kids will browse either section. Do paperbacks hold
up? Not for many many years, but even
hardbacks don't hold up after repeated reading. I have many harbacks that
have seen better days and have had to be
replaced due to their popularity. I know paperbacks don't last as long, but
they are cheaper, so I look at it as pretty
much being the same cost in the end, since their lives are a little shorter.
I pick them up when I am at used book sales
or a few when I am at a bookstore and use library fines to pay for them. I
only buy books like the Stephen Kings and
the ones that I know the kids will read, though. In order to extend their
lives, a little contact paper over the cover at
least helps keep the cover on for a lot longer, which is what is always the
first thing to go on paperbacks. Of course,
you can also use thost hard plastic covers which turn a paperback into a
hardback but I am not really a fan of those,
and certainly not for fiction because books with that stuff on them makes
them feel unpleasant to hold for some
Shiela, Paperbacks will hold up much longer if you use a binding stapler
(less than $200 - a good investment) and
cover the books with a laminating product. You can order rolls or precut
jackets from library supply catalogs, but the
volunteers I have worked with liked the good ol' clear Contact Paper. We
bought the 8 yard rolls. Depending on size,
you'd get about 20+ paperbacks covered for less than 50 cents each. You
don't need to overlap the top or bottom
edges of the book, they seldom get enough wear to justify it, but the open
side edges get lots of use. Trim off the
ragged starting edge. Measure the distance of the book across the front
cover, spine, and back cover, and add 1/2 to
2 inches to that measurement for the front and back cover overlap. Mark this
distance along the long bottom edge of
the paper side of the roll, rolling out as much as you need. Then measure
the height of the book and draw a line up
from the original mark, then carefully draw across the center section at
exactly the same distance. Cut very carefully
as your cover is an exact fit top to bottom. (Note that the precut bottom
edge of the roll will be the bottom edge of
the covering). When doing several books, do all of the same sizes together
(less waste). You can use the top edge for
another set. Save the ribbon of leftover middle for repairing books or small
lamination jobs. Before covering over a
barcode you need to use, try out a piece of Contact over an old barcode.
I've never had a problem scanning through
it, but you never know. You can have student volunteers cover your books but
do stress that you want them done
slowly and perfectly (it takes some time to get the hang of it)with no air
pockets or wrinkles, and with about the same
amount of overlap at each end of the cover sides (less than 1/2" may not
stay stuck). Be sure the spines are sealed flat
without gaps. Use a book bone or wood edge of a ruler for a better bond once
it's on straight. Use a straight pin at an
angle to carefully lance any air bubbles and squeeze them out. I found that
popular paperbacks "pre-bound" this way
(stapled and covered)last 3 to 5 times as long as uncovered books. When you
use the binding stapler, make sure there
is enough room on the inside margins to staple and use the appropriate
length staple. Do the center one(s) first, then
at least one more to each side (top and bottom of spine). Joanne Ladewig
"Library Lady" at Lawrence Elementary
Garden Grove, California

The elementary librarian before me didn't put out any paperback books. When
I came there were over 500 paperbacks
in the back room that were free books from book fairs. I put them out on the
selves with the rest of the collection and
when they get worn we would throw them out. But it has been five years since
we put them out and I've only had to
discard a couple of them. So I would say they work well in an elementary
library. Also, all the primary Guided
Reading books and the AR books are paperback.

In my opinion does not seem to make any difference. If you have alot of
paperbacks get a hot glue gun fixes the very
well. I use the stickon plastic covers. I have many that have 25-50 cir.

Shelia -
I buy lots of paperbacks, especially for "popular"
fiction like Stephen King.  We cover each one with
clear laminate (Vistafoil is one brand name) and the
book typically outlasts the interest in it.  Most of
the public libraries around here have one or two used
book sales per year (patrons donate their slightly
used books & the library uses the proceeds to support
programs, buy books, etc).  At these sales, the prices
are usually $1 per hardcover and $.50 for paperbacks.
I stock up on all the most popular authors (King,
Higgins Clark, Grisham, etc) and spend my budget on
more expensive reference books and the like.

I have many paperbacks - mostly fiction. When I came here the fiction
section was so pathetic. Since then I've
purchased hundreds of paperbacks. The students love them. They're lighter,
easier to carry and easier to hold and they
look much more enticing than the hardbacks. Are these good enough reasons?
If our goal is to help students become
life-long readers, then I think we should do whatever it takes! I can get
three paperbacks for the price of one
hardback and I often purchase 3 and 4 copies of one title so that students
can read the "now" titles. I could never
afford to do this with hardbacks. We cover our paperbacks with clear contact
paper - makes a big difference in their
shelf life. I'll be interested in hearing what other librarians say on this
subject because I am always having to defend
purchasing paperbacks in discussions with my librarian friends. to me it's a
no-brainer. What good is "long lasting,
library bound" book that just sits on the shelf??? Hope this info is
helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.
One more plus for paperbacks - I purchase them from a local book store at
20% discount and 3 day delivery if not in
stock so the books get on the shelf (in the wire racks) much sooner.

The paper backs don't last, however, I still buy them for the popular books.
(I'm not sure that hardbacks with regular
binding instead of library binding last much longer than the paperbacks).
This way I can have several copies in the
hands of the kids, not just one. When they fall apart I send a copy or two
to the local bindery. The price of the
bindery + the cost of the paper back is still less than the cost of a

they certainly attrack more teen readers than hardback, i interfile all my
fiction together - for longer life I run a piece
of clear book tape done the spine - that extends the life a little longer -
be warned that you will have to replace ones
like Stephen King, etc. because of use - i often buy at used book stores the
high traffic pbks

No, they don't hold up as well. But the kids prefer them overwhelmingly

I have weeded so many hardbacks that have only circulated once or twice that
I much prefer paperbacks. Because of
the length of the books, we just do not see the circulation that elem
libraries do. The kids prefer paperbacks anyway.

NO, they don't hold up. A popular book can be looking pretty sorry by the
end of the year. Try
Permabound or Bound to Stay Bound. They last for years.
we have thundreds, (probably a few thousand) of paperbacks in our leisure
reading section. They are only entered in
the automation system by author/title. They are the first place students
head when looking for recreational reading.
We purchase other books in paperback format if we think they won't be
heavily used. Or, we purchase multiple copies
of heavy demand items in paperback format. For example, we have 8-10 copies
of each of the Chicken Soup books in
that format.

No, paperbacks do not hold up and I really hate having them - but the kids
like them so..............

The paperbacks, while cheaper, cannot hold up as well and as long as the
hardcover books. I do add additional copies
in paperback if a title is in great demand, but I like to have the hardcover
in the collection first.
I'm a little late in posting because I haven't read my email lately, but I
thought I would give you some input. This is
my first year as a hs/ms librarian and I have been buying a lot of
paperbacks. Obviously, not everything I buy is
paperback. The collection I inherited is fairly outdated and paperback give
me a way to get "caught up" in the fiction.
At the high school level, paperbacks are working well. I cover them and use
book bumpers for added protection, but
overall, not too much of a problem. At the middle school, however, I'm not
having as much success. Books that are
widely popular (the Captain Underpants Series) are going to have to be
purchased in hardback because they are
always checked out...and look well-worn. My philosophy is that if I need to
replace a paperback then I should spend
the money to buy the hard copy.
I have been told by publisher's reps that paperbacks are made with a life
expectancy of 3 years.

I have paperbacks in my 1-3 library, beacuse they are donated or from the
Scholastic book fair. I've found the
covering the cover with clear contact makes them last longer.
I just noticed a small error in my directions - where it says trim off the
ragged starting edge I am referring to the roll
of Contact Paper, not a ragged edge of a paperback. Make a note of that on
your original copy if it's confusing.
Re: the paperback vs. hardbacks argument, I always thought that the teens
(in h.s. at least) prefered the paperbacks. I
find that this is true for the most part. However, about two weeks ago, an
ESL student, when given the choice
between the hc and pbk of a particular title, took the hc. Her reason? the
print was bigger and there was more white
around the print, making it easier for her to read, she thought. Made me
rethink my ideas a little..

Shelia Amos,Teacher
Amelia Middle School
Amelia, VA

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