Why are books released in hardback first?

When it comes to publishing books, there is usually a pre-set order to the way books are released. Hardcover books come first, followed by paperback, and then you have e-books or audio. Even in today’s modern world, hardback book printing still reigns supreme. But why? They are more expensive to print than paperbacks, and certainly more expensive to produce than e-books or audio.

Yet, the order remains? Let’s take a look:

Hardcover books generate more revenue

The main reason is cost. Whilst hardback book printing may be more expensive than other forms of book printing, book printers are still relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things. So, producing hardcover books to sell at a higher price ensures a higher revenue for authors and publishers.

Hardcover books always sell for more money, so the higher you can sell the book for, the more revenue you are likely to receive. It’s that simple. 

Hardcover books are a superior product

The look and feel of a hardcover book retains that level of prestige that doesn’t come from a simple paperback version. Booksellers, critics and even some readers will only consider stocking, reviewing and/or reading hardcover books.

Making them worth more than any monetary value. Their size and shape give them greater appeal too, as they are easier to stand up for display purposes, commanding more presence than a paperback. A hardcover book is more durable too, and longevity is particularly important in certain places, such as libraries, who may consider choosing hardback over paperback as they have more permanence.

Hardcover Coffee Table Books

High end coffee table books are a luxury item used to promote high value goods/services, or to be a show piece for a company or individual. Coffee table books add charisma to any living space, office or showroom and can instantly elevate the look of an office or room.

Hardcover books with a spiral binding

High quality Coil/Spiral Bound Hardcover book printing is perfect if you want to produce a highly professional finish that lays flat. A hardcover is durable enough to be picked up many times.

How long until hardcover books are released in paperback?

Whilst this is dependent on the publisher, a general rule of thumb states that paperback editions tend to follow around 6 months to 1 year afterwards, on average. They usually follow around the time the sales of the initial publication start to subside. The paperback edition then tends to have another round of PR surrounding it to entice new readers and even tempt existing reasons with another, arguable more portable, version of their book; further increasing sales.


So, if you’re looking to publish your first book, or the latest edition, consider the benefits of choosing a hardback cover first. We, at Print2Demand, offer hardback books in long and short runs to an exceptional high standard, from as little £3.39 per copy.

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.