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Many People I know (including me) despise paperback books as they are of poor quality and often fall apart, shall i put the following sentence in the article? "Many people do not buy paperback books due to their empheral nature and brightly coloured covers that do not fit into their collection well"-Ted

No, I would beg to differ. Books vary widely in quality, and there are high-quality paperbacks just as there are abysmal-quality hardcover books. Coloration of books also varies greatly. Many paperbacks are quite tastefully designed, while many hardbacks are quite gaudy. I don't believe one can generalize about book quality or design in any relation to paper- or hardcover. Applejuicefool 19:00, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree -- there's no point in saying that "hardcovers are better than paperbacks" or vice versa. This doesn't add any concrete information that one would expect to find in an encyclopedia entry and is NPOV. Accounting4Taste 04:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I would just like to mention that the link: has a lot of broken (404's) in its page. I'd suggest removing the link. --Christopher Wilson 21:37, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

it has about 10 links on the page and 3 go to 404's so there is still a lot of info there, any ideas for a better reference link? Jeepday 03:19, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

we NEED to do some editing here. the first paperback book to my knowledge was printed in 1918 (i have a paperback printed in that year on how electricity works) so shall i put some thing about that in?

I compared this page to what it looked like when it was listed as a stub. To me it looks like it has moved past stub stage. It still needs work though. How do people feel about removing the stub tags and leaving the clean up tag? Jeepday 03:13, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps this is the wrong place to ask this, but I've been looking for information about why trade paperbacks have become so much more prevalent over the last decade or so than they used to be. Some sort of history of what's going on in the industry to explain this. Would it be possible for someone who knows this information to add it to the main page? elklein 18:12, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


This article needs significant work on it's facts. In one place it says the first paper back was 1931 in another is 1918 (sometimes it say 1916 it changes) and one of it's references has this quote some say the first paper back novel is printed in 1840.

Begin quote In June, 1840, Benjamin took the next step in the competition when he issued a full length novel. Charles O'Malley is, technically speaking, the first paperbound full-length novel published in America. Again, Benjamin proved the midas touch; he received over 15,000 orders. end quote

If anyone feels a personal connection to the "facts" in this article please validate them and provide solid references to support them. Cleaning this article up is on my "To Do" list for the first of the year. Jeepday 02:45, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I work in an Antique store and I've sold paperbacks that were from the 19th century, so 1910 or 30 is just absurd. 18:40, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I think what the problem is here is in definition. When most of us living today think of a paperback, we think of a "modern-day mass-market paperback" -- and that's what's defined in the history section on this page. I suggest that that page (Mass-market paperback) should be merged with this one. Yes, indeed, there were many types of paper-bound books published before Albatross Books and the 1930s, but most of them have their own names for specific types of paper-bound books -- "railway books", "yellowbacks", "dime novels", etc., and students/dealers/collectors of these particular publishing categories generally object to finding them treated as if they were "modern-day mass-market paperbacks", because they really are different. The mass-market paperback in the United States alone, in sheer market size, outweighs any of the previous formats -- Pocket Books sold more than six million paperbacks in the eighteen months starting in September, 1939, which is probably more than all previous paper-bound books put together. (My reference for the six million figure is Collectable Paperback Books, Second Edition ed. Jeff Canja, Glenmoor, 2002, ISBN 0-9673639-5-0.) I propose to bring this page up to date over the next while using the definition of "modern-day mass-market paperback" as found under "History" on the article page to equal the definition of "paperback", and if someone cares to contribute articles about yellowbacks or dime novels from their expertise, they should feel free to do so and link to this page. I'll wait to begin this in earnest until people have had some time to comment -- if there's a more sensible way to organize this information, I'd be interested to hear about it. In the meantime, I'm going to work on expanding a few of the articles about particular publishing houses from the earliest days of paperbacks. Accounting4Taste 02:55, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I've added information about "mapbacks", one of the earliest forms of the modern mass-market paperback, to the page on Dell Books. Someone has already done a great job on Ace, and a few others. I'll keep working away on this as time permits. Accounting4Taste 04:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
And I've removed a reference that suggested that some paperbacks are printed on newsprint. Anyone who can cite a single paperback book that is printed on newsprint is welcome to return this reference -- I have never seen one and don't believe they exist. Cheap paper, certainly, especially during WWII, but not newsprint. Perhaps someone was thinking of pulp magazines? Accounting4Taste 04:16, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Merge Suggestion[edit]

I see User:Quiddity has suggested a merge from mass market paperback and trade paperback to here. I think that a merge and redirect is good idea, both of the suggested articles have similar content to Paperback and Paperback would clearly be the parent to both. At a later time it might be appropriate to extract them back to single articles if and when they can stand on their own, or Paperback gets to big. I am going to go post the {{Mergeto}} on those articles. Jeepday 13:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I completed the merge and redirect. Still needs to be some clean up done. Jeepday talk 02:55, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Jeepday for doing the merge and redirect work; I've made a first attempt at cleanup. I combined paragraphs, eliminated duplication and organized a more logical table of contents, added some reference citations. Oh, and I took out the reference that suggested that the pages of the illustration had yellowed -- that book is in my collection, and it was issued with yellow edge-staining, which was common. More cleanup is still needed, and I will try to contribute what I can. Accounting4Taste 03:48, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Penguin Classics.jpg[edit]

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Image:Penguin Classics.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 20:11, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

YesY DoneAwotter (talk) 20:28, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Sewn or glued[edit]

This page does not address the difference between sewn and glued books. It is a mistake to redirect from Soft cover. Often, a distinction is made between paperbacks, which are glued together, and soft covers, which are sewn and can be given to a bookbinder. Long before the emergence of paperbacks, people used to be able to buy sewn softcover books which they would have bound in a cover of their own taste. Used bookstores usually distinguish between paperbacks and softcovers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lotsson (talkcontribs) 15:36, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone know when paperback books were first introduced into public libraries? I do remember a time when you couldn't get a paperback at the library but now they are there. If anyone knows the answer and/or history of how this occurred, I would be grateful for the information. Thank you! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Relevance of Lead Photograph[edit]

The current lead photograph is just the cover of a book called Enemy Coast Ahead. While this may be a good example of a book printed in paperback, it would be much more appropriate to show that it is a paperback, not just the cover of a book. I think any of the other pictures in the article would be more appropriate as a lead photograph.Ryanfrei (talk) 23:56, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

It has since been changed to Imaginary Worlds ... which has the same problem. It's just the picture off a book cover, it doesn't illustrate what a Paperback actually is or looks like ( the three or four people in the world who don't know, but somehow have web access). I could probably get a nice threequarter shot of a vanity-published paperback written by a friend of mine that'd likely be free of most copyright concerns, if he'd agree to it? (Uncertain - he since disowned the whole thing) .... Or we can try and find an old pulp novel that's out of copyright. (talk) 16:50, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Old pulp (or more than 1, in a single photo) preferred. Keep it simple. :) -- Quiddity (talk) 23:15, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't paperback original means never previously published in hard cover or magazine[edit]

I'm pretty sure all Hammett's completed novels were written before 1934 and published as hard-cover editions, so this statement is incorrect: some, like Dashiell Hammett, were published as paperback originals.
The paperback writers ( for instance Donald Hamilton, Donald Westlake, and Elmore Leonard) wrote for the paperback market and had they been as old as Hammett would probably have written mainly for the pulps. Nitpyck (talk) 05:42, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Sizes do not Match[edit]

By primary research (so I won't change the listed values), my collection of books do not match the size values given. I am in the United States. Is there the possibility these are European publisher values or pre-trim (the difference seems about right for a trimmed bleed area or similar)? Please do not measure some paperbacks to "correct" these values, but if somebody can cite something from the book publishing industry to either correct or clarify what those sizes refer to (The press leaf size, pretrim? For a specific region?), it would be quite helpful for the article. The reason I suspect this may be a regional issue is that the cited article is from a UK publication.
JabberWokky (talk) 19:31, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

The A and C sizes are about right if you subtract half a cm on all sides for bleed. However, the B size is either way off or there's a new standard. The majority of books I measured are about 133mm x 193mm, or about 4.25" x 7.5". This seems to be a new standard that is popular among publishers these days for newer releases. This transition apparently happened about six years ago, according to USA Today [1].
Dgatwood (talk) 02:33, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

(Kloodge sub-sub-section retrofitted for aid in reducing confusion invited by lack of formatting)[edit]

It would be helpful if the entry provided size information for the A-format and C-format too. In fact a table of common sizes would be helpful. Ingram Spark list a quite large set of size options, grouped as follows, with sizes in inches, for the US market:

Small Paperback 4.25 x 7, 4.37x7, 4 x 6, 4 x 7 5.06x7, 5x7, 5x8, 5.25x8, 5.5x8.5, 6x9, 5.83x8.27, 6.14x9.21, 6.69x9.61, 7.5x9.25, 7.44x9.69, 8x8, 8.5x8.5, 8.5x9

Large Paperback 6.625x10.25(comic standard), 7x10, 8x10, 8x10.88, 8.25 x 10.75, 8.25x11, 8.268x11.693 (A4), 8.5x11

Small Hardcover, case/cloth w/o jacket 5x8, 5.5x8.5, 6x9, 6.14x9.21, 6.69x9.61, 8x8, 8.5x8.5, 7.5x9.25

Large Hardcover, case w/o jacket 7x10, 8x10, 8x10.88, 8.5x11

In mm, the equivalent categories (in Autralia) are: Small Paperback 152 x 102, 178 x 108, 178 x 102, 178x111, 178x127, 198x129, 203x127, 216x140, 210x148, 229x152, 234x156, 235x191, 244x170, 246x189, 203x133, 203x203, 216x216, 229x216

Large Paperback 280x210, 297x210, 254x178, 254x203, 273 x 210, 276x203, 280x216

Small Hardcover, case laminate 203x127, 216x140, 229x152, 234x156, 244x170, 203x203, 216x216, 235x191

Large Hardcover, case laminate 254x178, 254x203, 276x203, 280x216
The following facsimile of a colleague's sig & time stamp has been added here by me, solely to minimize the potential for confusion about authorship (which i have risked here in trying to remove who's-addressing-whom ambiguity on this talk page).--Jerzyt 13:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
     Lukekendall(talk) 04:56, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
The immediately preceding facsimile of a colleague's sig & time stamp has been added here by me, solely to minimize the potential for confusion about authorship (which i have risked here in trying to remove who's-addressing-whom ambiguity on this talk page).--Jerzyt 13:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
     (This sub-subsection may, on the whole, help ameliorate confusion risked by the lack of formatting by a colleague (conceivably surnamed Dall (but surely not surnamed Gatwood!)), in Lukekendall's sole 14 June 2016 contribution on this talk page, which contribution continues in the following sub-section "Second kluged portion of the talk section", which i hereby add. (That is only a sub-section and not another sub-sub-section -- despite long-standing [surely bcz of Mostly Harmless] peculiarities of rendering that could suggest otherwise -- of the (default section-level) section "Sizes do not Match", added in that same talk contribution.)
--Jerzyt 13:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

(Second kluged portion of the "Sizes do not Match" talk section -- this one only a sub-section (rather than a deeper subordinate unit of "Sizes do not Match")[edit]

This information is taken from the IngramSpark products and services document.
I think the mapping from A-format, B-format, and C-format to explicit sizes is not one-to-one: my impression is that these three categories each cover a range of sizes, as the current article suggests.
Lukekendall (talk) 04:56, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
   (Here endeth the (now multi-section) content of the talk contribution of User:Lukekendall, which i have endeavored to clarify (perhaps enuf to matter), by splitting it between a sub-sub-section and a sub-section within the default-level section that began with talk contributions, by two other colleagues, who respectively --as of 13:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)-- are alone in having contributed to the default level of "Sizes do not Match", without their contribs being later moved by me into a deeper (sub- or sub-sub-)section subdivision of the section they started.)
--(Me again,)
--Jerzyt 13:11, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

How ISBN differs?[edit]

How to find out the ISBN of paperback through hardcover and vice versa? Also, how to find out EEE ISBN? --Rrjanbiah (talk) 19:57, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe the numbers issued (for hback and pback) have any direct connection to each other. They're simply the order published (with publishers having a range of ISBNs assigned). Check our article on ISBN for further details, and ask at WP:REFDESK if you need more help. -- Quiddity (talk) 23:14, 29 September 2010 (UTC)


To begin the history of the paperback in the 1930s is patent rubbish. There were paperbacks of sorts circulating as early as the 1890s and perhaps earlier. Allow me to update. Orthorhombic, 09:59, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree, find some evidence or reference and we can change it. ProudHuman42 (talk) 00:59, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Have added a few words and ref's as a start (talk) 22:33, 23 January 2013 (UTC)


It occurred to me to wonder what the etymology of "trade paperback" is - i.e. what does the qualifier "trade" signify? This page was the first place Google sent me, but it doesn't address the question. Having read this article and a few other things, I still don't know the answer, but I would guess that the distinction is in the way the books are sold - i.e. mass market paperbacks are sold from all sorts of outlets (hence the mass market) whereas trade paperbacks are only sold by specialist bookstores, who refer to themselves among themselves as "the trade". This sounds plausible but isn't obvious to an outsider like myself (I was thinking along the lines of trading cards, which is a more common use of the word trade in everyday language). If anyone knows the correct etymology and can cite a reputable source for it, I think it would have a place in the article. (talk) 21:46, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

A very good question and the reason I came here. I already know THAT a collection of comics in a series is called a "trade" paperback. What I don't know is WHY they are called that. Does anyone out there know? (talk) 08:54, 17 February 2014 (UTC)n0w8st8s

Fawcett's contract[edit]

In the part about Roscoe Fawcett, what's the "contract" it refers to having loopholes in? It's the first, and only, time that Roscoe and his contract is mentioned. It looks like a bit of cut-n-pasting occurred here, without proper cleaning up. (talk) 10:59, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

who invented the paperback[edit]

Why is Charles Dickens not mentioned the first paragraph of the stre÷et section

who invented the paperback[edit]

Why is Charles Dickens not mentioned the first paragraph of the stre÷et section — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:45, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Differentiation between major publishing companies and other publishing companies[edit]

What are the criteria used to determine whether a publishing company is major? (talk) 21:17, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Scholarly artices as references[edit]

These references were added to the article but i think they need more info and need to be linked to certain passages. I have moved them here so they are not lost but i don't have access tot he sources to be able to incorporate them into the article.

  • Schick, Frank L. The Paperbound Book In America; The History of Paperbacks and Their European Backgrounds. R.R. Bowker Company (1958). HATHI TRUST. Web. 10 October 2015.
  • French, Warren. "The First Year of the Paperback Revolution." College English 25.4 (1964): 255. Web. 10 October 2015.
  • Mercer, Ben. “The Paperback Revolution: Mass-circulation Books and the Cultural Origins of 1968 in Western Europe.” Journal of the History of Ideas. 72.4 (2011): 613-636. JSTOR. Web. 10 October 2015.
  • McCleery, Alistair. "Penguin and Post-Colonial Publishing 1948–1972." The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 48.1 (2013): 131-44. Web. 10 October 2015.

LenTheWhiteCat 11:28, 21 December 2015 (UTC)