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 Australian schools must think alike.  I, too, am in a 7-12 High School and
ususally buy paperbacks.  I was out of the library for a few years and when
I went back last year I was surprised to see a new book with library
binding!  These are rarely used here.  Those books that do have library
binding are almost always from the States.
When I was working in an elementary school library, picture story books that
were in hardcover were usually better because of the printing process.  Now
the process is so good, softcover editons are just as good.
I will rarely buy a novel in hardcover.  When I do, it is probably because
the book or author is so popular that I don't want to wait for a year before
the paperback editon comes out.
I also prefer buying non-fiction in paperback because information changes so
rapidly.  Even if the content is relatvent, the format and language of a
book can make it unattractive to readers.  I would rather have a book fall
apart with use, then have it stay on the shelf in pristine condition. And as
Jan mentioned, with a paperback edition, one can buy more then one copy.
(Back from her whirlwind trip in the States)
Dona J. Hartwich
Senior Librarian
Horsham College
Horsham, Victoria, Australia

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