Mass Market Paperback Meaning: A Comprehensive Guide
Mass market paperback, abbreviated as MMP or MM, is a type of paperback book that is produced and marketed mainly for the general reader mass market. They are characterized by their small size, usually measuring approximately 4.25 inches by 7 inches, and their low production cost. The mass market paperback has become a popular format for publishing literary works in recent years, and it continues to gain readership across the globe.
A Brief History of Mass Market Paperback
The origins of mass market paperbacks can be traced back to the early 19th century when a British publisher, Joseph Cundall, introduced the concept of cheap books. He printed the first mass-market paperback titled “The Pictorial Pocket Library of Novels and Tales” in 1842, which cost only one shilling. The books were printed on inexpensive paper with a plain cover, and this made them affordable for the working-class people.
However, the mass-market paperback did not gain popularity until the 1930s in the United States. During the Great Depression, people were looking for affordable alternatives to hardcover books, and the mass-market paperback filled that gap. Pocket Books, an American publishing company, printed the first mass-market paperback in 1939. The book was “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck.
Soon, other publishing companies followed suit, and mass-market paperbacks became popular among readers who could not afford hardcover books. The cover of the mass-market paperback books was designed to attract readers, and the price was kept low. By the 1960s, the mass-market paperback had become the preferred format for publishing genre fiction like romance, mystery, and science fiction.
Mass Market Paperback vs. Trade Paperback: The Difference
The trade paperback and mass-market paperback formats are often confused, but they are different in many ways. Let’s take a look at the difference between these two formats:
The size of a trade paperback is usually larger than that of the mass-market paperback. Trade paperbacks usually measure 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches or even larger. Mass-market paperbacks, on the other hand, measure approximately 4.25 inches by 7 inches. This makes them easy to carry around and more affordable.
Trade paperbacks are more expensive than mass-market paperbacks. The price of a trade paperback is usually between $10 and $20, while the price of a mass-market paperback is between $5 and $10. The price of a mass-market paperback is relatively constant, while the price of a trade paperback can vary depending on the length of the book, the edition, and the publisher.
Trade paperbacks are usually printed on higher quality paper than mass-market paperbacks. The paper used in trade paperbacks is usually thicker, and this makes the book last longer. Also, trade paperbacks usually have a unique cover design, which makes them stand out in a bookstore. Mass-market paperbacks, on the other hand, are printed on inexpensive paper, and the cover design is often generic.
Trade paperbacks are usually marketed to a specific audience, while mass-market paperbacks are marketed to a broader audience. Trade paperbacks are often used for literary works, academic books, and memoirs, while mass-market paperbacks are used for genre fiction, like romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy.
FAQs on Mass Market Paperbacks
1. What genres are commonly published in mass-market paperback?
Ans: Mass-market paperbacks are commonly used for genre fiction, like romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy.
2. Are mass-market paperbacks of lower quality than trade paperbacks?
Ans: Yes, mass-market paperbacks are printed on inexpensive paper and have a generic cover design.
3. Can mass-market paperbacks be found in libraries?
Ans: Yes, mass-market paperbacks are a common format found in libraries.
4. What is the price range of mass-market paperbacks?
Ans: The price of a mass-market paperback is between $5 and $10.
5. Why are mass-market paperbacks popular?
Ans: Mass-market paperbacks are popular because they are affordable, easy to carry around, and targeted to a broader audience.
Mass-market paperbacks are a popular format for publishing genre fiction that targets a broad audience. They are affordable, small in size, and easy to carry around. Their popularity can be traced back to the 1930s in the United States when people were looking for affordable alternatives to hardcover books. Today, mass-market paperbacks continue to gain readership, and they are an essential format for every publishing company.