Trade Paperback Vs Mass Market Paperback

Trade Paperback Vs Mass Market Paperback: Which One is the Better Choice?

Physical books are still a popular choice among book lovers despite the rise of e-books and audiobooks. However, purchasing a physical book comes with a variety of formats to choose from. You may have noticed while browsing a bookstore that there are two different types of paperback books- Trade Paperback and Mass Market Paperback. In this article, we will delve deeper into these two formats and help you understand which one is the better choice for you.

What is Trade Paperback?

Trade Paperback or Trade PB is a larger format paperback book that is typically bigger in size and printed on higher quality paper with a heavier cover stock than the Mass Market Paperback format. It is commonly referred to as the “softcover” book. Trade paperbacks are bound with a glued spine and have a wider range of genre – fiction, non-fiction, biography, memoirs, self-help, cookbooks, art books, travel guides, and more.

These books may also feature extra content, such as author interviews, discussion questions, maps, photos, or illustrations. They are more expensive than Mass Market Paperbacks but the quality of the paper, the printing quality, and the durability of the book makes it worth the extra cost.

What is Mass Market Paperback?

Mass-Market Paperback or MMPB is the smaller-sized paperback book, printed on lower quality paper with a lighter weight cover stock. Mass-Market Paperbacks are often referred to as the “pocket-sized” format. This format is the most common type of paperback because of its affordability and portability. Mass-Market Paperbacks are often used for genre fiction -romance, sci-fi, thrillers, and mysteries.

These books are lighter, more compact, and can be easily transported in a purse, backpack or jacket pocket. However, mass-market paperbacks may not hold up as well as trade paperbacks over time due to their lower quality paper and binding, hence the lower price point.

Key Differences

Now that we know what trade paperbacks and mass-market paperbacks are, let’s discuss their differences:


Trade paperbacks cost more than Mass Market Paperbacks. Due to the higher paper quality and binding of trade paperbacks, they have a higher cover price – typically $14 to $20 per book. A Mass-Market Paperback, on the other hand, has a more affordable price point, pitted at $6 to $8 per book.


A significant difference between the two formats is their size. Trade paperbacks are larger and more substantial, with dimensions of around 5.5″ x 8.5″ to 7″ x 10″—which has a more significant surface area, giving them a more luxurious feel suitable for books with more text or images. In contrast, mass-market paperbacks have more compact dimensions of around 4.25″ x 7″, making them easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Paper Quality:

Trade paperbacks have good quality paper that is thicker, brighter, and more opaque than mass-market paperbacks. The higher quality paper makes the book more substantial and durable, perfect for books with more graphics, photography, or illustrations. Mass-Market Paperbacks, on the other hand, are printed on cheaper, lower-quality paper that is thinner and more brittle, making them prone to yellowing over time. This means that mass-market paperbacks may not hold up as well over time as trade paperbacks.


Trade paperbacks are printed with a high-quality, glued binding that ensures the book is intact and durable, even after repeated reading. Mass-Market Paperbacks, on the other hand, are printed with a lower quality, glued binding. This means that the book is more likely to fall apart or lose pages over time.

Which is better: Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?

Choosing between the two paperbacks depends on your reading preferences, budget and usage. If you want a more durable book with higher-quality paper and more extensive extra content, then trade paperbacks may be more suitable for you. But if you’re looking for an affordable and portable option for your genre fiction reads, then mass-market paperbacks are a better choice.

Furthermore, if you’re a collector, trade paperbacks may be the better option because they have the potential to hold their value over time. Trading Paperbacks have it in their larger size and higher quality, which has greater value long-term.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, both Trade Paperback and Mass-Market Paperback formats offer their advantages and disadvantages. For the overall experience, Trade paperback offers higher quality with extra content, although it’s more expensive than Mass Market Paperback which is affordable and portable. Choosing between the two depends on your personal preference, usage, and budget.

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