An example of the modern hardcover book with dust jacket: The first edition of William Faulkner's 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury

A hardcover, hardback or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). They may have flexible sewn spines which allow the book to lie flat on a surface when opened, although most modern commercial hardcover books have glued spines.[citation needed]

Hardcover books are often printed on acid-free paper, and are much more durable than paperbacks, which have flexible, easily damaged paper covers and glued spines. Hardcover books are also marginally more expensive to manufacture and usually much more so to purchase. Hardcovers frequently come with artistic dust jackets.



If brisk sales are anticipated, a hardcover edition of a book is typically released first, followed by a "trade" paperback edition (same format as hardcover) the next year. For very popular books these sales cycles may be extended, and followed by a mass market paperback edition typeset in a more compact size and printed on shallower, 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, the paperback, is released to entice further sales.


Hardcover books tend to cost more than paperback versions of the book. Hardcover editions of popular books are usually reserved for authors who are (or are expected to be) successful; however, many academic books are often only published in hardcover editions.

Differences in structure

Old book bindings at the Merton College library.

Hardcovers generally consist of pages, two boards and a cloth covering them. Their pages are glued into a flexible piece between the boards, and it too is covered by the cloth. A paper covering, usually artistic in nature, is put over the cloth, folding over each horizontal end of the boards. On the folded part over the front cover is generally a blurb, or a summary of the book. On the back folded part is where the biography of the author and/or illustrator can be found. Reviews are often placed on the back of the jacket. Although they are different nowadays the world is seeing an era of go-green[citation needed] and both types of books are slowly being made from recycled material to help the environment.

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hardcover — ☆ hardcover [härd′kuv΄ər ] adj. designating any book bound in a relatively stiff cover, as of cloth covered cardboard n. a hardcover book: distinguished from PAPERBACK …   English World dictionary

  • hardcover — hard cov*er n. & a. Same as {hardback} n. and a. Syn: hardback. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hardcover — adjective Date: 1949 1. having rigid boards on the sides covered in cloth or paper < hardcover books > 2. of or relating to hardcover books < hardcover sales > • hardcover noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hardcover — hardcovered, adj. /hahrd kuv euhr/, n. 1. a book bound in cloth, leather, or the like, over stiff material: Hardcovers are more durable than paperbacks. adj. 2. bound in cloth, leather, or the like, over stiff material: a hardcover series. 3.… …   Universalium

  • Hardcover — Bücher mit Festeinband Hardcover (englisch) bezeichnet ein Buch mit Festeinband. In der Buchbindung wird oftmals der Begriff Deckenband verwendet, da der Buchblock in eine aus Pappen gefertigte Buchdecke eingehängt wird. Manche Deckenbände,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hardcover — UK [ˈhɑː(r)dˌkʌvə(r)] / US [ˈhɑrdˌkʌvər] noun [countable] Word forms hardcover : singular hardcover plural hardcovers a hardback …   English dictionary

  • hardcover — hardback hard back , hardbacked hard backed , hardcover hard cov*er hard bound hard bound adj. Having rigid front and back covers, usually boards covered with paper, cloth, or leather; of books. Contrasted with {softcover} and {paperback}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hardcover — Buch mit festem Einband; gebundene Ausgabe * * * Hard|co|ver 〈[ha:dkʌvə(r)] n. 13〉 Buch mit einem festen Einband [engl., „harter Deckel od. Einband“] * * * …   Universal-Lexikon

  • hardcover — noun Hardcover is used before these nouns: ↑book, ↑edition, ↑novel …   Collocations dictionary

  • hardcover — hard|cov|er [ˈha:dkʌvə US ˈha:rdkʌvər] n also hardback a book that has a strong stiff cover >hardcover adj →↑paperback …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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