In hardback. It mattered that I bought it in hardback. And then I realized, I've assigned a heirarchy to my book collection based on the book's cover.*
I believe books say a lot about their owners. I believe you can gain a little insight into someone's personality by browsing their bookshelves. Not only do the titles tell you a little bit about them, but sometimes the form in which they own the book says something, too. Was it a family heirloom? Was it a cheap thrift store find? Was it an unscathed, perfectly clean hardback? The character of the book can say almost as much as the content.
In my weird little world, the full heirarchy looks like this:
Hardback - Numero uno. I am proud to own this book.
Hardback or softback - I have no preference as long as it's reasonably priced.
Paperback only - like a cheap-o $4 mystery novel at the airport.
Check it out from the library or borrow from a friend - I want to read it but not enough to spend $ on it or take up space in the apartment with it.
Antique books have a special charm all their own so they can be anywhere in the heirarchy.
The funny thing is, I haven't figured out where e-books fit in all this. How important is it to have e-books? And what does it say about me that I don't really have any?
To be honest, I'm kinda skeptical of the whole thing. I want to hold a book. I want to flip the page, and maybe dog-ear it to remember something for later. I want to take it out at a park, then set it down in my lap in between chapters as I soak in the sun. It's not really the same with an e-book. I can't get a paper cut from an e-book. So, are they below library books? Or above? Or do I not care whether it's paperback or e-book?
Do you have a heirarchy in your book collection? Where would e-books be for you?
*I fully realize this is the nerdiest post I've ever written. Sometimes you gotta let your inner nerd shine.