Skip to Content

Paperbacks vs. Mass Market Paperbacks: Understanding the Differences in Book Formats

Paperbacks vs. Mass Market Paperbacks: Understanding the Differences in Book Formats

A softcover book with a thick paper or paperboard cover is known as a paperback (or trade paperback). Unlike hardcover books, which are stapled or stitched together, paperback books are glued together. The pages of a paperback book are generally made of acid-free, high-quality paper.

Paperback books are more extensive, of higher quality, and most expensive, whereas mass-market paperback books are smaller, with less durability but at a lower price. The most significant difference to me is legibility: traditional paperback books are more extensive and spaced more extraordinary between the lines, making them much easier on your eyes.

Mass-market paperbacks are more modest, less durable paperback novels with a thick paper or paperboard cover. Internal pages are rarely illustrated and printed on low-quality paper.


Paperbacks are of good quality

When publishers wish to offer a lower-cost title format than a hardcover book, which is more durable in the long run but also more expensive, they release paperback books. As a result, the profit margin for paperback publications is lower than for hardcover volumes.

Because the author is not well-known, paperback books can be released. Thus, readers may be less likely to purchase a more expensive hardcover book. Or, paperback books may be published to give fans of a popular book a less expensive option. For example, paperback copies of the bestselling Harry Potter and Jane Austen books are available.

If a paperback edition of a title is released after a hardcover edition by the same publisher, the pages in the paperback edition are usually identical in print to those in the hardcover edition, and the paperback book is usually near to the same size as the hardcover edition. On the other hand, paperbacks may be devoid of supplementary information like forewords and drawings.

A paperback book’s cover art may or may not be different from a hardback book’s. The standard paperback size is roughly 5 or 6 inches broad by 8 or 9 inches tall.

A “French flap” can be found on some paperback books. This means that, similar to a dust jacket on a hardback book, the front and rear covers feature a folded area underneath the surface. The goal is to make the paperback book look like a hardcover book while keeping the price reasonable. I do, however, occasionally use it as a bookmark.

Further, paperback books are popular in the nonfiction genre. Most advanced review copies (ARCs) of books sent to book critics for review before the publication of a book are also printed in paperback format, as it is less expensive than publishing a hardcover book but still of higher quality than the lower quality mass market paperback books (which are discussed in detail below).

A paperback book is more accessible to carry around than a hardback book, and it can be protected with a book sleeve, a handcrafted foam, and a fabric pocket a book that can be found in several styles on Etsy.

Mass Market Paperback Definition

They are more minor, less durable paperback novels with a thick paper or paperboard cover known as mass-market paperbacks. The internal pages are printed on low-quality paper and are rarely illustrated.

After the hardback edition is removed, mass-market paperbacks are frequently issued, and they’re commonly offered in non-traditional settings such as airports, drugstores, newsstands, and grocery shops. (However, a book may have a hardcover, paperback, or mass-market market publications.)

Popular genres for mass-market Classics, romance, mystery, suspense, and thrillers are available in paperback. They’re designed to be bought on the spur of the moment and made more freely available to the general population. More widely open to the general public.

Since they are published “in mass,” mass-market book publication may be reserved for the most popular titles and authors.

mass-market paperbacks
Mass-market paperbacks

Some mass-market paperback novels have “strippable” covers, which allow the seller or distributor to remove the book’s surface and return it to the publisher for a refund or credit if the book isn’t sold. Return postage is less expensive, and the remainder of the book is recycled.

It’s worth noting that “non-strippable” books can only be returned to the publisher if the cover remains intact. To save money, self-publishers frequently publish their works in paperback or mass market paperback format.

However, the increased popularity of low-cost e-books that can be borrowed free from the library has jeopardized the market for mass-market paperback novels.

Mass Market Paperback Size

Mass market paperback books are smaller to fit into spinning racks at non-traditional locations, like airports. They are:

  • Four inches broad by six or seven inches tall is the average mass-market paperback size.
  • They are lighter and thinner than classic trade paperback books.
  • The font inside may also be smaller to keep the overall size of the book very small.

Difference between Paperback and Mass Market Paperback

Difference between Paperback and Mass Market Paperback
Difference between Paperback and Mass Market Paperback

The distinction between paperback and mass-market paperback books is further explained in the table below, making it simple to identify what is similar and what is different.

PaperbackMass Market Paperback
CoverThick paper or paperboard coverThick paper or paperboard cover
DurabilityMore durableLess durable
SizeBigger size overall (five to six inches by six to nine inches in the United States)Smaller size overall (four by six or seven inches in the United States)
BindingGlue bindingGlue binding
PagesHigher quality paper, such as acid-free, pages that will not discolor or fadeLower quality wood pulp paper pages that may discolor and/or fade
RetailersTraditional, such as bookstoresNon-traditional, such as airports, drugstores, and grocery stores
DistributionLibraries and traditional retailersNon-traditional, such as airports, drugstores, newsstands, and grocery stores
Difference between Paperback and Mass Market Paperback

Let’s watch a video to understand more about paperbacks and mass-market paperbacks:

Which is better

Final Thoughts

  • Paperback books are larger, of greater quality, and cost more.
  • Mass market paperback books are smaller, of lower quality, and cost less.
  • Paperback is heavy, while mass-market paperbacks are less heavy.
  • Mass-market paperbacks are less durable. Internal pages are rarely illustrated, and they’re printed on cheap paper.
  • Paperbacks are of higher quality paper while mass-market paperbacks are of lower quality wood pulp paper.

Related Articles

Teller Vs ATM (EDD Edition)

Professor Kant Means And Ends Good Or Evil? (Unfold)

Thunderbolt 3 VS USB-C Cable: A Quick Comparison

Skip to content