Printing Hard Cover Books vs Soft Cover Books (Paperbacks) Which is best for publishers, authors, and their readers?

Our customers often wonder which type of book to produce – hard cover or paperback. The answer depends on the purpose of each book. Is it a large format book about architecture or a sci-fi novel about space pirates? Is it a text book or a potential collectors’ item? Will it sit on a coffee table or travel in a purse? Here are some quick considerations if you’re wondering what type book is best for your target market:


All books are comprised of two parts – the cover and the text (which could also contain photos, graphics, illustrations, etc). Generally speaking, it costs much more to create the cover of a hard cover book. It may also cost more to produce the internal pages being that the text of a hard cover book is usually sewn.

A hard cover book’s cover is made of binder boards (rigid gray cardboard) covered by a wrapper which is glued over the binder boards. The material of the cover wrap can be cloth, paper, leather, suede or more. Foil, stamping, debossing, and stickers can be added to the cover. Finally, a paper dust jacket may also be added to protect the hard cover and brighten the appearance of the book. All of these materials and treatments can add to the cost to produce the book.

Soft cover books cost much less to produce because they don’t use all these materials or treatments. If cost is your top concern, then a paperback might be the way to go. However, if you want your book to appear more classy or prestigious, then hard cover is your best choice.


Hard cover books stand the test of time because they have a sturdy cardboard armor on them. If you’re publishing art, photography, or large format books, then you may want your precious pages protected from wear and tear by a durable cover. However, if you’re producing a book that will rarely leave the nightstand or office desk, then a soft cover is probably sufficient.


Because they’re comprised of more material, hard cover books can be much heavier than paperbacks. While the weight of a cookbook may not matter (since it stays in the kitchen), the weight of a guide book for traveling the state of Michigan might matter since readers will be carting it around with them in their purses and backpacks while they visit the Henry Ford Museum and the Mackinac Bridge.


Hard cover books hold their value better than paperbacks. With their luxurious covers, thicker paper, and deluxe jackets, hardbacks are a joy to keep on your book shelves and refer to over time. Some collectors say they prefer showing off their hard cover collections because of the treatment on the books. Imagine bragging about your autographed Harry Potter collection in paperback – doesn’t seem quite right, does it?

We’re dying to know which you prefer (hardbacks vs paperbacks) as a reader, author, or publisher. Send us a comment to let us know which type of book is your favorite

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