Paperback vs. Hardcover: Which One Is For You?

Paperback vs. hardcover, which team are you? What is the difference and why does it matter? Let’s dig into the great book debate!

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You walk into a bookstore and feel like you are in heaven. That scent of paper and the calming atmosphere. But then freeze when it comes to deciding what kinds of books to get. There are so many choices to expand your collection. Or maybe you are an author deciding how to self-publish your book! And you can not decide what format to use best for sales. There has always been this big debate—paperback vs. hardback—on which format is better for as long as bookworms and bibliophiles existed. No one really knows how it started, but this basic debate has caused a rift in the bookish community forever.

However, each format has its own pros and cons. I personally own a majority of paperbacks. I like the glossy or sometimes matte feel of them, and they are easy to flip through. Plus, they tend to be thinner, so that means more room for more books! Can we say #winning!

Paperback vs. Hardcover – What is the difference?

Paperback covers are made of thin card stock-like material. Often the binding is held together with glue. Whereas Hardcovers can be cardboard in cloth or leather. The binding for hardcovers is usually stapled or stitched together. Let’s dig into a few key features that differ from one another.

Are you more practical or looking for something more stylish for your book collection? Here are some pros and cons of each format type to help you choose!


woman-reading-open-paperback-book-Paperback vs. hardcover
  • Lightweight! They are easy to carry around and ideal for traveling. Put this in your purse and go to the beach or while on a plane. If you like cute, small, pocket-sized books, this is for you.
  • Cost Effective! Paperbacks are a lot cheaper than their hardcover counterparts, usually. If you go through your TBR quickly, this may be a better option. It can be really expensive if you are a fast reader and in constant need of a new book—or twenty.
  • Easier to damage. Unfortunately, because they are softer and therefore more flimsy, it is easier for paperbacks to be damaged over time. Nothing really lasts forever, and if you truly love taking your books wherever you go, then there is no doubt they will be banged up after a while of seeing the world with you. But that is okay! It just means it is another good excuse to get the same book again but with a newer, prettier cover design.


  • Stylish cover! It is no secret that the biggest appeal of hardcovers is the different designs they can have. Countless TikToks are showing these books with sprayed edges or painted designs. Besides, why else do people buy books if not for the aesthetic of it? Nothing looks better than a whole series of matching covers sitting on your bookshelf.
  • Expensive! This format is more expensive, unfortunately. But so worth it! If you love beautiful covers that are also durable, then a few extra dollars can be sacrificed.
  • Lasts a lot longer! Hardcovers are known to be more durable. They can usually take on a lot more abuse than paperbacks and stay put together. This also means that they are heavy and bulky due to the material used to make them. Probably not ideal to carry around, but it is more of a stay-at-home book. So curl up in your reading nook with it!
stack-of-vintage-hardcover-books-Paperback vs. hardcover

So, paperback or hardcover? Honestly, it just depends on what kind of person you are. You can probably weigh the pros and cons of each and how it works with your lifestyle. Or mix and match and do both! There is too much discourse in the book community over which is better. At the end of the day, it is all opinion anyway. Besides, there are no rules. Do whatever makes you happy!

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