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Paperbacks are books that have flexible covers made from paper or
cardboard, as opposed to hardbacks, which have covers made from more
rigid materials, such as stiff cardboard covered with heavy paper,
fabric or leather.
Also referred to as softbacks or softcovers, paperbacks are also
bound differently than hardback books. The pages in paperback books
are usually held together with glue, rather than being stitched or
Paperbacks are not as durable as hardbacks but are less expensive to
produce and to buy. The soft cover format is generally preferred by
publishers when a book is not expected to be a big seller, and the
publisher wants to make a smaller investment in production, or when
a book has exhausted large sales numbers in hardback format, and the
publisher believes the majority of new sales will come from less
In the past, if a book was first released in hardback, the publisher
would typically release the paperback version about nine months
after the hardback release. However, in recent years, publishers
have become more flexible, releasing the paperback version of some
titles as quickly as six months after hardback release, and delaying
the paperback release of other titles, if the hardback is selling
particularly well, as much as a year or more.
Paperbacks are generally smaller and lighter than hardbacks, making
them more portable and convenient for travelers to carry. However,
since softcover construction is less sturdy, they are more likely to
get damaged with handling than hardcovers. Therefore, many consumers
prefer to buy paperback versions for books they only plan to read
once, but hardcovers for books they plan to keep.
There are two main types of paperbacks: mass market paperbacks and
trade paperbacks. Mass market paperbacks are smaller than trade
paperbacks, do not contain illustration and are printed on
inexpensive paper than can yellow with time and tear easily. Some
titles, such as novels by new authors or genre fiction, are printed
only as mass market paperbacks.
Trade paperbacks are often used as the softcover follow-up for a
title printed initially as a hardback. Trade paperbacks are larger
than mass market paperbacksósometimes the same size as the hardback
editionócan contain illustration and are printed on higher quality
paper than a mass market paperback. The trade editions of a book
often look identical to the hardback version except for the softer
|Paperbacks - probably the largest choice of
Paperbacks in the UK!