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Paperback vs Hardcover: What’s the Difference?

You may have wondered what’s the difference between paperback and hardcover before. Which one is better? It may seem like there isn’t much of a difference but you’d be wrong. In this article, we will provide you with all the answers you’ve been seeking.

Paperback books are always much lighter than hardcover ones. You’d be able to transport them very easily as they are bendable and you can stuff them in any bag. On the other hand, hardcover books are much more durable. Not easily transported like with paperbacks but they will not damage very easily.

Difference between paperback and hardcover

Paperback Hardcovers
Cost of the book Much cheaper due to its simple design and lesser focus on the quality The cost goes up to being five times more expensive as they are usually higher quality and have a very appealing design
Durability Not very durable because the materials used are quite cheap, very easily damaged because of that Highly durable, the paper has an acid-free material which prevents it from damaging in long-term
Weight Paperbacks are much lighter because of the soft materials used, easily transported and carried because of that Hardcovers are more often than not quite heavy so you won’t want to carry them places
Appeal Not very interesting covers or a design in general, usually printed out to be simple, lesser quality and for one-time use. They have a much more appealing design and that’s why they are great as gifts and for a collectors’ bookshelf
Popularity You can find almost any book in paperback version, they are very widespread and easily accessible Hardcovers are not as popular due to being more expensive and only certain books are printed out as a hardcover

Which one is better?

For readers that definitely depends entirely on the person. There is no real answer which one is truly better or is not. It depends on your preference.

Paperback books are generally lighter and compact. You can easily hold them and read them whenever you want. You can easily take them with you on trips because they can fit easily in your luggage.

Most books get printed out as paperback because it’s cheaper and therefore sells more. Their only setback is that they are not very durable and are not very high quality most of the time.

Hardcovers are much sturdier and a bit heavier. This makes them not very transportation-friendly. However, they do come with a much better appeal.

They are also a much better quality in general. The papers are usually acid-free which prevents damage. The letters in the book are also larger so it’s not strenuous for the eyes.

hardcover books

How to choose between the two?

It may be hard to choose between the two options because both have such compelling pros. Well, with this list, we have made it easier for you to make a decision. We hope it will help you!

  1. If you are on a tight budget, definitely go for a paperback. Due to using cheaper materials and being of lesser quality, they are naturally much cheaper.
  2. If you are one of those collectors, then hardcover is the way to go. They always come with a good design and they will look good on your bookshelf. Not only that, but they are also very durable. That said, you don’t need to do much to keep them in a good condition over time.
  3. You’ll notice that the first editions of a book are always hardcover. So, if you’ve been waiting a long time, you may want to get a hardcover. Or, you can wait a bit longer and get a paperback instead if you are not very impatient.
  4. If you want to read on a train or a bus, then a paperback is the right choice. They are very light due to soft materials being used. They are also good if you are planning to travel as you can easily store them in your luggage.

Which one is more expensive?

This one isn’t very hard to figure out. You have probably noticed that most, if not all, hardcover books are much more expensive than paperbacks. In fact, it goes up to being 5 times more costly than a paperback book.

That’s why if you want to print out a hardcover book, you’ll be losing more money than gaining it. A lot of people are not willing to pay that much money.

You’d be much better off printing out a paperback book. Especially if it’s your first time publishing it and you don’t have an audience. A lot of books that have been anticipated for a long time get printed out as a hardcover. That’s because only then they’d be sure to sell it and gain more than lose.

Are hardcover books worth it?

Hardcover books are definitely worth the money. They provide a whole different experience because of their higher quality and general durability. You can also read much more easily because of the larger font.

You will have that book for a long time too because they don’t wear out fast. But, if you want to just read a book then you should just stick with a paperback.

How to keep paperback books in a good condition?

We all know that hardcover books basically “take care of themselves” although we also know that they are a bit more pricey. So if you want to save money, it’ll be good to know how to keep a paperback book in a good condition.

  1. One way to keep the paperback in a good condition is to keep it in darker parts of your room. That is because direct sunlight can cause discoloration of the book. In fact, over time it can also change the temperature of the room. The paper is made from natural material and the sun can affect it very easily.
  2. It is also important to note that humid areas are very bad for books. These harsh conditions can affect its longevity and its quality. So, make sure not to put your books where humidity is high such as cellars. Keep them in drier (but not too dry) parts of your house or get a dehumidifier if you must store them in humid places.
  3. Be careful how you grab that book. Handling a book in the wrong way can actually damage its spine over time. Firstly, make sure you store the book upright. And then when you want to take it from the bookshelf, grab it by either side of the book. Never grab it from the upper lip.
  4. You can also always get a digital copy of it. That way you will be sure that it won’t ever get damaged. But keep in mind to find someone who can handle books well so they won’t damage it during digitizing. So, make sure to find an expert.
  5. And lastly, you can get a storage box for it or just buy a wrapping for it. There are some really good storage boxes made specifically for books. These ones will help you keep a paperback book in a good condition for a very long time.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.