Paperback vs Hardback Books – What’s the Best Print Option?

Are you about to print your book but can’t decide which is a better option: paperback or hardback? It’s a decision that puzzles authors to this day because both formats have their advantages and disadvantages. However, whichever option you choose, you can feel comfortable knowing that there are dozens of reputable book printing companies out there, ready to help you get your book in front of your target audience. So whether you’re looking to engage in paperback or hardback book printing, you’re bound to find a suitable printing company to help print your book.

Without further ado, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of paperbacks and hardback books to determine which is best for you. 


A hardback or hardcover book has a rigid cover, typically made with heavy paperboard covered with cloth or heavy paper, which is usually between 2.5mm to 3.5mm thick. The book has a sewn spine which allows the book to lie flat on surfaces when open.



One of the key advantages of hardback books is their durability. The heavy paperboard covers are extremely difficult to bend and will protect the inner pages from damage.


Let’s face it; in many cases, hardback books look better than paperbacks. They have a classy, professional feel to them that paperbacks cannot compete with.

Customisable spine

Hardback books have thick spines that can be customised, meaning the book stands out on the shelf. 

Higher profit margin

Hardback books tend to be sold with bigger margins due to their premium feel.


Not suitable for short books

If your book is less than 30 pages, a hardcover is not recommended as the pages may not bind properly, and the pages may fall out!


Hardback covers are more expensive than paperbacks to produce. On average, the cost of printing a hardback book is between £5 and £8, whereas paperbacks typically cost between £3 and £4 to produce. If you’ve got a limited budget, you may have to opt for paperback instead. 


Because hardback books are larger and heavier than paperbacks, it will cost more to post them to stores and eCommerce customers. As a result, you may decide that a paperback book is a better option as it frees up more of your budget for advertising costs.

Production times

Hardback books often have longer production times, meaning it’ll take longer for the book to get into the hands of your customers.


A paperback or a softcover book has a thick paper cover and is usually held together with glue.



Paperback books are lightweight, meaning they are easy to carry around and don’t take up much space compared to hardbacks.


Paperbacks are a much cheaper option than hardbacks. While hardbacks cost between £5 and £8 to produce, paperbacks cost between £3 and £4. So if you don’t have a big budget at your disposal, consider printing your books as paperbacks. 


Posting a paperback to your distributors or eCommerce customers is much more affordable than sending a heavy hardback. 

Production times

Compared to hardbacks, paperbacks can be produced quickly. As a result, your customers can get their hands on your work faster!

Preferred by distributors

In some cases, certain businesses such as supermarkets may prefer to sell paperbacks because they take up less space and can be sold to customers relatively cheaply. Hardbacks, on the other hand, take up more space on the shelf.


Easier to damage

Perhaps the biggest drawback of paperbacks is that they are much easier to damage than hardbacks. Because of their thin covers, paperbacks are susceptible to being ripped and bent, rendering them useless. 

Lower profit margin

In the UK, the average paperback book costs between £6 and £10, which doesn’t leave much profit for the author if it costs between £3 and £4 to produce. Because of the lower profit margin, you will need to sell more of them for your venture to be successful.

Verdict: Paperback vs Hardback Books

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your specific requirements. For example, if you have a smaller budget and want to prioritise convenience for readers, print your books as paperbacks. On the other hand, if you have a nice-sized budget at your disposal and your target audience is looking for books with a premium feel, print your book as a hardback. 

The type of cover you choose will also be determined by your experience as an author. For example, if you’re publishing your first book, you probably need to minimise costs just in case things don’t go to plan. In that case, printing your book as a paperback is recommended. Alternatively, if you’re a seasoned author publishing their tenth book, you may feel more comfortable taking a risk on a hardback.

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