Difference between Paperback and Mass-Market Paperback

By: | Updated: Nov-19, 2021
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If you’ve tried shopping for books online, you probably have seen labels like “paperback” and “mass market paperback.” Many people think they are the same, but these two classifications are actually completely different. So, what sets them apart from each other? This article will focus on the difference between a paperback and a mass market paperback book.

Summary Table

Paperback Mass-Market Paperback
High-quality paper; typically have the same illustrations, pagination, and size as their hardcover editions or may be slightly smaller; usually have a “French flap” Low-quality paper; usually not illustrated; smaller or “pocket-sized”; no “French flap”
More expensive Cheaper
Printed in order for the readers to have the same reading experience they have with hardcovers but without the heavy cover Printed to appeal to the public at the lowest cost for the largest distribution
Not “strippable”; unsold paperbacks should be returned for credit “Strippable”; unsold mass-market paperbacks can be stripped of the front cover (and sometimes the first few pages) which will be returned to the publisher for credit; the rest of the book should be shredded and recycled
Can be bought from bookstores, book dealers, distributors, and resellers Usually found near the checkout lanes in drugstores, supermarkets, airports, etc.
Can be printed without a preceding hardcover edition; copies that are sent in advance for review and feedback are often printed in the paperback format Some self-publishers and new authors of romance, thriller, mystery, and fiction books print their first works in this format, which may or may not be succeeded by a paperback or hardcover edition


A paperback and a mass-market paperback edition of the same title

The term paperback refers to “trade paperback” or “trade paper edition.” Paperback books are typically printed as a softcover edition of a previously printed hardcover edition but can also be printed as an independent release (no preceding hardcover). They are priced lower than hardcovers, but often have the same pagination, type of paper, and illustrations as the hardcover edition. Some paperback size are even of the same size as their hardcover editions (5.5” x 8.5” or 6” x 9”), while others are slightly smaller.

Nowadays, a paperback book can be identified by its “French flap,” an extension of the front and back covers that is folded over inside (similar to the paper cover of hardcover books). Its purpose is to make paperback books look similar to its hardcover edition but for a more affordable price. Often, books are released in advance in paperback and are sent to scholars and institutions for review and feedback.

Paperback books are not “strippable.” This means that the front cover cannot be stripped by the distributors when they remain on the shelf after a long period. This means that if nobody buys them, the distributor simply returns the unsold books to the original publisher for credit.

Paperback books can be found at traditional trade outlets such as bookstores, book distributors, and book dealers, hence the name “trade paperback.”

On the other hand, mass-market paperbacks are cheap, small editions of books (4” x 7”) that are printed on low-quality paper that may discolor over time. They have an inexpensive binding and are typically not illustrated. This book format is printed and promoted to attract a large number of people at the lowest cost.

Mass-market paperbacks are sometimes called “pocket-editions” because they are small enough to fit in a pocket or handbag. These pocket books are usually found in locations that do not primarily sell books, such as convenience stores, pharmacies, gift shops, supermarkets, airports, etc. and are displayed among items near checkout lanes. The quality and price of mass-market paperbacks make them easy to buy on impulse and then discarded after reading by reselling or donating to charity.

Mass-market books are “strippable.” This means that distributors and book publisher can simply strip the front cover (or sometimes, the first few pages) and return them for credit. The rest of the book should be shredded and recycled and should not be resold.

Some new authors and self-publishers publish their first books in mass-market paperback format only. Genres that are often printed in the mass-market paperback format are fiction, romance, thriller, and mystery.

Paperback vs Mass-Market Paperback

What, then, is the difference between paperback and mass-market paperback?

Paperback books are printed on high-quality or acid-free papers and usually have the same illustrations, size (a format or b-format), and pagination as their hardcover editions. They have soft covers and may sometimes have a “French flap.” They are more affordable than hardcovers or hardback but are more expensive than mass-market paperbacks. They are printed in order for the readers to have the same reading experience they have with hardcovers but without the heavy book cover. Mass-market paperback books, on the other hand, are printed on lower quality paper. They are significantly smaller and more affordable than standard trade paperbacks. They do not have a “French flap.” The printing of mass-market paperback aims to make the widest distribution at the lowest cost. They can also be bought on impulse because of the price.

Paperback books can be bought from bookstores, book dealers, distributors, retailers, and e-commerce such as Amazon. If they remain unsold after a certain period, the booksellers simply return them to get full credit. Conversely, mass-market paperback books (MMPBs) are usually found near the checkout lanes in drugstores, supermarkets, railway stations, airports, newsstands, etc. If they remain unsold, the front cover (sometimes including the first few pages) is stripped and returned to the original publisher for credit.

Additionally, a paperback book can be printed without a preceding hardcover. The copies that are sent in advance to scholars and institutions for review are often in paperback format. New authors and self-publishers of fiction, romance, thriller, and mystery books often publish their first works in the mass-market format, which may or may not be followed by a hardcover or paperback edition.

The barcoding is also different in each of these types of books. The mass paperback uses a UPC code while the paperback uses an EAN code.

What Are The Advantages of Mass Market Paperback?

There are several advantages to buying a mass market paperback over a paperback. This includes the following:

  • Low price — One of the main advantages of mass market paperback is that they cost much less than hardcover books, even though they may have more pages. It means that you will save money if you buy more than one book at a time since the price per book will be less than if it was paperback. You can get these paperbacks at any major bookstore or even online through many sites.
  • Easy to take with you — These books are very small and compact, they are much smaller than hardcover books or paperback. They are easy to take with you wherever you go. If you want to be able to read your book in public, this is a great option for you. They don’t take up much space in your bag, and they also weigh very little, so it won’t be too heavy for you to carry around all day long. You can also put these in a backpack or other bag without having any problems whatsoever when it comes to weight distribution. If you plan on taking a vacation and plan on reading some books while there, mass market paperbacks are perfect for this. These pocket books are also great for giving away as gifts, mailing to friends and family especially overseas or for selling in your shop.
  • Wide variety of different types — Mass market paperbacks have a wide variety of different types of books, so you will be able to find something that you will like reading from this type of book. You can even find a mass market paperback version of a hardcover book if you want to save money on buying both versions. This is a great option if you want to save money on buying hardcover books, but don’t mind the smaller font size and less detailed illustrations. You can also find many other types of books, such as classic novels, cookbooks, and textbooks, among others, through this type of book.
  • Easy to find — The great thing about mass market paperbacks is that they can be found in most places, even places that don’t normally carry hardback books! It makes it easy for parents to find these cheap paperbacks when traveling and make sure that their kids have plenty of good reading material when we’re on the road together. They are also available at many libraries and bookstores throughout the country — which means that even if you don’t have a local bookstore, you can still find the books you need to buy.
  • Easy for children — Mass market paperbacks are written in simple language and easy to understand. Children can easily read them and learn many things from them, which makes them very popular among children as well. They also love the pictures, which are very beautiful and beautiful to look at.
    What Are The Disadvantages of Mass Market Paperback?
    Some people who don’t like the idea of mass market paperbacks feel that the books are of lesser quality than hardbacks or hardcover books. The print quality is generally not as sharp as that of a hardcover book. The paper used in these types of books tends to be flimsy and can easily be torn if you do not treat it properly, so it is important to follow the proper handling techniques in order to avoid this problem. Some people also find these types of books uncomfortable to hold because they are thin and lack padding. If you want your mass market paperback book to remain soft and smooth, it is important to keep it on a flat surface for long periods of time so that it does not crack or bend over time due to its lack of padding.

Who Should Buy Mass Market Paperback and Paperback?

If you like the feel of better quality and bigger size of paper in your hands when reading, then you should consider buying a paperback. You can read this in an open space or lie down with it when reading. This is perfect for those who like having bigger size of books in hand while they read or if they like reading in bed while holding the book in their hands.

For those who do not like holding a big book in their hands while reading and don’t mind smaller font size, a mass market paperback is perfect for them. This is because the books come in pocket-sized which makes them easy to carry around with you while you are on the move. These small size books make them very easy to read without getting tired of holding them for long periods of time.


As the whole world is well aware, books are an important part of our lives The writers and readers in the world do their best to make the book market much more progressive and growing. Mass market paperbacks and paperbacks are one of the most common and useful categories of books that we read. Mass market paperback books are cheap, and they can be purchased anywhere. They can be purchased in any type of store, such as the grocery store, bookstore, and many other places. The second category is called paperback books, which are a bit more expensive than mass market paperback books. They can be purchased at the local bookstore or online bookstores such as Amazon. The difference between a mass market paperback and a paperback is that a mass market paperback is bound with a thinner, cheaper material. These pocket books are simple and small in their appearance but still contain a lot of information in them. There are many advantages to having mass market paperbacks, including the ease of reading, lightweight design, and easy to carry around. Mass market paperback, however, are not intended for long reading; they are intended for casual browsing and for reference purposes only.

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