You’ve come across hardcover and paperback books at a bookstore and probably wondered why there are two types of book.
What is a hardcover book?
What is a paperback book?
You’ll find that paperback books are far cheaper to produce than hardcovers.
Publishers usually print paperbacks in large numbers.
This mass-production version usually comes after the book’s hardcover release and the publisher will market it towards a wider audience.
Because of the cheaper production, paperbacks are lighter and a great choice for travelers.
A lot of new writers will also start with a paperback, as they don’t have the established audience to warrant a hardcover release.
Many print-on-demand services print in paperback too, making it incredibly popular for self-publishers.
What is the difference between hardcover and paperback books?
Below are some key differences between hardcover and paperback books.
- Hardcover books are far more expensive
- Paperback books are lighter to carry
- They print hardcover books to last
- Hardcover has better print quality
- Hardcover books are collector items
- Paperbacks are better for traveling
Hardcover books: Pros and cons
Pros of hardcover
Nice to look at
Pages don’t get damaged as easily
Usually no need for a bookmark
- Great for a gift or collectors
Cons of hardcover
Heavy… you can’t take more than one on a trip with you
Obviously more expensive. Sometimes double or triple the price
Paperback books: Pros and cons
Pros of paperback
Usually cheap to buy
Easier to carry and far more light
More likely to find the title you want
Cons of paperback books
The pages are easily broken or torn
Covers can get damaged
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions in regards to comparing hardcover and paperback books.
Is paperback better than hardcover?
It really depends on what you’re after in a book.
If you just want a quick read or a cheaper alternative, then paperbacks are definitely better than hardcover books.
Paperbacks are also better if you’re traveling because hardcovers are more rigid and a lot heavier.
If you’re looking for a book to keep long-term though, then hardcover books are better.
Why are hardcover books so expensive?
Hardcover books are more expensive than paperback books because they’re significantly better quality.
The cover is a harder board that is made to protect the book for the long term. Likewise, the paper is of higher quality and the printing is better too.
Why do people buy hardcover books?
Due to the higher price, hardcover books are usually for collectors and major fans.
When you spend the extra money for the hardcover, you’re doing so knowing that the book will last long-term.
When a book by a popular author is first released, they’ll come out as a hardcover first to profit from the bigger fans and those giving the book as a gift.
Are hardcover books worth it?
If you want a book that will last the long-term, then a hardcover book is definitely worth the money.
However, if you just want to read the book and that’s it, you should look to buy the paperback, as it is better value for money.
What is the paperback edition of a book?
A paperback edition of a book is usually released after the initial hardcover release of a book.
The paperback release is to bank on a book’s growing market by offering it to a wider audience.
Paperback books are usually mass-distributed, so many people can purchase.
How long before a book comes out in paperback?
The waiting time between an initial hardcover release and a paperback release really depends on the book.
Publishers want to make the biggest profit possible from the hardcover before releasing the mass-published paperback.
Some books will release the paperback six months after initial release, whereas others will come out a full year after initial release.
Hopefully, by now, you know more about the differences between hardcover vs paperback books.
The question of which is better between paperback and hardcover is more a question of why you’re buying a book.
If you want a book for a quick read or to read while traveling, then paperback is for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a book to last, collect, or give as a gift, then you’ll get more benefit from a hardcover.