Paperback Versus Hardback Book Printing

If you are considering self publishing you may be confused as to the best format in which to publish your book. Should I choose paperback or hardback which are the advantages and disadvantages between these formats? What do people usually choose and why?

We’ve put together our guide on the things you need to consider when choosing between hardback book printing and paperback book printing that will help you decide which is best for you.

Authors personal choice

An often underestimated aspect to be considered when you are weighing up the difference between hardback and paperback is personal choice.

Authors dedicate a lot of time and effort to writing so it seems obvious that you wish to have your book published in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible.

One simple question to ask yourself is whether you feel that your book would look better in hardback or paperback – had you already envisaged what it would look like when it was published? If you had envisaged your book as a hardback then you may well prefer to choose this option to fulfil your dream of seeing your work in print.

First edition publication

Traditionally first edition novels are always printed in hardback, usually in large format hardback. If you are expecting your novel to be popular and are expecting to do more print runs in the future. You may want to consider doing a shorter first print run as a hardback.

Genre of book

Some genres of books are traditionally printed as hardback and this is for both style and practicality reasons.

For example, if your book is about Art, or has numerous illustrations you may want to consider hardback book printing. This will display and protect the contents of your book better than paperback book printing.

Look at your competitors

Hard cover books often exude a feeling of opulence or luxury to the reader making them an attractive prospect for any self publishing author.

It is best to match the format of your book to the world in which you are publishing, a hardback book may look a little odd if all your competitors are publishing paperbacks.

The printing budget

It’s sad but true that cost will often be a guiding force in the decision you make when considering hardback book printing in comparison to paperback book printing.

Self publishing a paperback is cheaper than self publishing a hardback. If you are on a tight budget it’s important to measure up the amount of copies of your book that you require alongside the cost of publishing.

If you wish to make a profit, it’s important to consider your margins. You may well be able to charge slightly more for a hardback book than a paperback – will this recoup the difference in publishing costs? Will the cost that you have to charge for the hardback make it less competitive with other books in your genre?

The functionality of the book

The way in which the book is going to be used by the reader may also have an impact on whether you choose hardback or paperback book printing.

For example, if you are publishing a recipe book you may find that a hard cover is a more popular choice as the book will be protected whilst being used in the kitchen. If you are writing pop fiction you may find that a paperback is a better choice as someone will easily be able to take their book with them in a bag, handbag, or laptop case.

Ebook publishing

A third option but one that has little been discussed so far is that of eBook publishing. There are both advantages and disadvantages to eBook publishing.

eBook publishing is cost-effective and, if you are little tech phobic, you can employ someone to help you get your work in the correct format.

In the world of fiction, eBook publishing is still often seen as sub standard to that of a paper. This is an opinion that is changing slowly but many readers still prefer the tactility of books.

Often it is worth considering both book printing and eBook publishing together to capture all potential readers of your book.


We are an all round UK book manufacturing and printing service. We work closely with publishers, self publishers and authors. We have a state of the art factory, complemented by our sales and marketing office in Westoning, Bedfordshire. We have invested in the very latest digital and litho printing technology, to integrate with a fully equipped craftsman bindery.  The conclusion of which means we are offering both softback and hardback books, to a very high standard of quality.

Order your book printing online or contact our team for more information.