What’s the Difference between Hardcover books and Paperback books?

difference between hardcover and paperback

You may already have asked yourself this question while making an order for your favorite book on Amazon
Do I choose hardcover or paperback? Or sometimes, to make your choice even harder, the Kindle or audio book versions are available

What the difference between hardcover and paperback?
The cover is the main difference between these two bindings methods
Generally, a paperback book is cheaper and use a soft cover
At the opposite, a hardcover book, as the name suggests, use a harder cover, so the book is often more expensive

That’s it for the main difference between both
But I’ll now give you more detail about this coverage types and explain to you how they are manufactured

Paperback book

Definition

A book with a flexible paper binding

Merriam-Webster

This definition doesn’t bring more information than what I already told you
But keep in mind that paperback books are often cheap books with a soft cover in paper or glossy paper

Illustrations

Here are a few examples of paperback books:

Manufacture

Without going into manufacturing details, you have to know that all paperback books are not made the same way
For marketing or cost reasons, the editor can choose to save money depending on how the book is printed

Glued square back

Most of the time, books are printed this way, it’s the cheapest method to print a book
Book sheets are printed, collected and then glued to the cover

When you look a book made this way, you can see the squared form. The cover is perpendicular to its back, as the name says

Sewn square back stitches

On higher-end books, you may see several pages group, like small notebooks in the main books (check on the picture)

Notebooks are made with a seam collecting all pages
And then all the small books are glued to the cover in order to keep everything together inside the book

Flexibility

You may also note flexibility differences between two paperback books
For example, American books are generally more flexible than English books

Formats

You can find paperback in different size formats, there is no rule about this
A paperback book doesn’t guarantee a specific size

The book size can also depend on the book content
For example, literary novels and fictions books have different sizes

And finally you can find paperback books in many topics
The paperback format isn’t limited to a specific type of book
You have paperback books for fiction, school lessons, medical content, etc.

Examples

If you need a few examples of paperback books you can find on Amazon (or any other seller), here are a few ones:

Hardcover book

Let’s see now the other word to categorize a book: hardcover

Definition

Having rigid boards on the sides covered in cloth or paper

Merriam-Webster

For a hardcover book, the backs of the notebooks are sewn together. Then they add a hard cover: the binding.
The hardcover book is harder, and also more expensive.

Generally the cover is simple, mono color (white for example), and you have an additional glossy paper with the book cover
For expensive books, you can have the cover directly on the hard cover (this one is the perfect example, with a leather bound)

Illustrations

You can see on the pictures below a few examples of hardcover books

Manufacture

Like for paperback, you’ll find multiples manufacturing ways to make a hardcover book
As these books are more expensive, you’ll more often find original books with hardcover

Stitched notebooks

Most of the time, hardcover books are made with stitched notebooks
These are glued to the binding, or not attached at all to the back (with this method you can see a gap on the back when you open the book)

Round back

Even if we often find squared backs on hardcover books, the hard cover allows manufactures to play with other forms, like round back
As you can see on the picture, the cover is not perpendicular to the back, there is a slight roundness giving a style to the book

Formats

A hardcover book is generally considered as the high-end format of a book
But you can find a hardcover on many books types:

  • Comics: many comics are made with hard covers
  • Albums
  • Cooking recipes books
  • Beautiful books: most of the time, books you can offer are made with hard cover, it looks better

Examples

Here are a few examples of hardcover books on Amazon:

Conclusion

I hope you liked this post and that it helped you to understand the difference between hardcover and paperback books
If you remember it on your next purchase, I’ll have done my job 🙂

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