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A hardcover, hard cover, or hardback (also known as hardbound, and sometimes as case-bound)
book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

book
is one
bound Bound or bounds may refer to: Mathematics * Bound variable * Upper and lower bounds, observed limits of mathematical functions Geography *Bound Brook (Raritan River), a tributary of the Raritan River in New Jersey *Bound Brook, New Jersey, a borou ...
with rigid protective covers (typically of
binder's board Paperboard is a thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically and/or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poaceae, grasses or other vegetable sources in water, draining the water thr ...
or heavy
paperboard Paperboard is a thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with ...
covered with
buckram Buckram is a stiff cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cel ...
or other
cloth A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, ...

cloth
, heavy
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
, or occasionally
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of arti ...
). It has a flexible, sewn spine which allows the book to lie flat on a surface when opened. Modern hardcovers may have the pages glued onto the spine in much the same way as paperbacks. Following the
ISBN
ISBN
sequence numbers, books of this type may be identified by the abbreviation ''Hbk''. Hardcover books are often printed on
acid-free paper The acid-free-paper symbol. Acid-free paper is paper that if infused in water yields a neutral or basic (chemistry), basic pH (7 or slightly greater). It can be made from any cellulose fiber as long as the active acid pulp is eliminated during pr ...

acid-free paper
, and they are much more durable than
paperback A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making p ...
s, which have flexible, easily damaged paper covers. Hardcover books are marginally more costly to manufacture. Hardcovers are frequently protected by artistic
dust jacket The dust jacket (sometimes book jacket, dust wrapper or dust cover) of a book is the detachable outer cover, usually made of paper and printed with text and illustrations. This outer cover has folded flaps that hold it to the front and back book ...

dust jacket
s, but a "jacketless" alternative has increased in popularity: these "paper-over-board" or "jacketless" hardcover bindings forgo the dust jacket in favor of printing the cover design directly onto the board binding.


Marketing

If brisk sales are anticipated, a hardcover edition of a book is typically released first, followed by a "trade"
paperback A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making p ...
edition (same format as hardcover) the next year. Some publishers publish paperback originals if slow hardback sales are anticipated. For very popular books these sales cycles may be extended, and followed by a
mass market paperback A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making p ...
edition
typeset on a composing stick A Miller & Richard composing stick, showing the adjustment mechanism (left side) In letterpress printing and typesetting on a composing stick on a type case. , letter founder, from the 1728 edition of '' Cyclopaedia, o ...
in a more compact size and printed on thinner, less hardy paper. This is intended to, in part, prolong the life of the immediate buying boom that occurs for some best sellers: After the attention to the book has subsided, a lower-cost version in the paperback, is released to sell further copies. In the past the release of a paperback edition was one year after the hardback, but by the early twenty-first century paperbacks were released six months after the hardback by some publishers. It is very unusual for a book that was first published in paperback to be followed by a hardback. An example is the novel '' The Judgment of Paris'' by
Gore Vidal Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and Human self-reflection, reflec ...
, which had its revised edition of 1961 first published in
paperback A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making p ...
, and later in hardcover.


Prices

Hardcover books are usually sold at higher prices than comparable paperbacks. Books for the general public are usually printed in hardback only for authors who are expected to be successful, or as a precursor to the paperback to predict sale levels; however, many
academic book Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written output that is not formally ...
s are often only published in hardcover editions.


Usual structure

Hardcovers usually consist of a page block, two boards, and a cloth or heavy paper covering. The pages are sewn together and glued onto a flexible spine between the boards, and it too is covered by the cloth. A paper wrapper, or dust jacket, is usually put over the binding, folding over each horizontal end of the boards. Dust jackets serve to protect the underlying cover from wear. On the folded part, or flap, over the front cover is generally a
blurb A blurb is a short promotional piece accompanying a piece of creative work. It may be written by the author or publisher or quote praise from others. Blurbs were originally printed on the back or rear dust jacket The dust jacket (sometimes b ...
, or a summary of the book. The back flap is where the
biography A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or c ...

biography
of the author can be found. Reviews are often placed on the back of the jacket. Many modern bestselling hardcover books use a partial cloth cover, with a cloth-covered board on the spine only, and only boards covering the rest of the book.


Gallery

File:Old book bindings.jpg, Old hardcover books at the
Merton College Merton College (in full: The House or College of Scholars of Merton in the University of Oxford) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = ...
library. File:Dust jacket.jpg, Dust jacket on a hardcover book File:Bicentennial Bible.jpg, A Bible bound in blue faux-leather cloth. File:Dickens Great Expectations in Half Leather Binding.jpg, Hardbound book with half leather binding (spine and corners) and marbled boards. File:Harry Potter Book 2, 1st American ed. without dust jacket.JPG, Contemporary hardcover, with partial cloth cover, on the spine only, and boards for the rest


See also

*
Book size The size of a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, ...


References

{{Book Publishing Process Book formats