The English language is a funny thing, especially when “breaking-in” something is what you do to prevent something from breaking. But there it is.
I love hardcover books. The quality of paper the printers use is generally of a higher quality, and the bindings tend to last longer. But a good binding will only last if it is treated properly. When you get a new book, you never want to open it straight down the middle when you first handle it. Doing this can damage or even crack the spine and ruin your new book. Instead, you want to ease it open, little by little.