Paperbacks: Trade versus Mass Market

I love reading first thing in the morning and anytime I need a break during the workday.

I always learn something new about food, science, politics, business and other topics and am constantly adding books from the NYTimes Book Review to my list of books to read.

Today, I learned the difference between trade and mass market paperbacks:

Mass-market books are designed to fit into the racks set near the checkout counter at supermarkets, drugstores, hospital gift shops and airport newsstands. They are priced affordably so they can be bought on impulse. There are other production differences in binding and paper quality (historically, paperbacks were printed on “pulp” and could fit in the consumer’s pocket)…

Besides being somewhat larger in size, trade paperbacks are generally printed on more expensive paper and with sturdier binding. Because they are more expensive to produce they are higher in price and often (not always) printed in smaller numbers. Unlike mass-market paperbacks, which are usually sold on racks, trade paperbacks are sold in bookstores (“to the trade”) and are shelved with their spines facing out, like hardcovers. Sometimes they are sold on display tables, lying flat so that customers can respond to their cover art. Trade paperbacks may be originals, which are not preceded by a hardcover edition, or reprints of hardcovers.

You know, I’ve always preferred the “original” — trade — paperback (instead of the version that’s been released with a movie — mass market) and now I finally have a reason for doing so — the trade paperbacks are generally of better quality!


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