What Is A Mass Market Paperback Vs Paperback

When it comes to buying books, customers are often presented with multiple options, including mass market paperback and paperback versions. Although similar in many ways, these two types of books have some distinct differences. In this article, we will take a closer look at what defines a mass market paperback vs. a paperback book as well as the pros and cons of each.

What is a Mass Market Paperback?

A mass market paperback, sometimes shortened to MMPB, is a small-format paperback book that is designed to be affordable and widely available. These books are typically printed on lower-quality paper and have a smaller font size than other types of books. They are also printed in large quantities and sold through many different channels, including bookstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and online retailers.

The term “mass market” refers to the fact that these books are intended to reach a large audience and to be sold in high volume. As a result, they tend to be priced lower than other types of books, which makes them an attractive option for readers on a budget.

Pros and Cons of Mass Market Paperbacks


• Affordable: Mass market paperbacks are generally the cheapest of all the book options, making them an excellent choice for readers who want to save money.

• Portable: Their small size and lightweight make them easy to carry around in a purse, backpack or briefcase.

• Wide availability: Mass market paperbacks are sold in many retail outlets, including supermarkets, drugstores, and big-box stores, making them easy to find.


• Lower quality: The paper and printing quality for mass market paperbacks is often lower than other book formats, which may affect the overall reading experience.

• Smaller font size: The smaller font size used for mass market paperbacks can be hard to read for some readers, particularly those with visual impairments.

• Limited selection: Due to their lower price point, mass market paperbacks are typically not available for newer titles or less popular genres, so it can limit the reader’s options.

What is a Paperback?

A paperback book, often referred to as a trade paperback, is also a softcover book, but with a larger format than a mass market paperback. These books are usually printed on higher-quality paper and have a larger font size, which makes them a more comfortable option for reading. They are generally sold in bookstores, online, and occasionally in retail stores, but tend to be less common than mass market paperbacks.

Pros and Cons of Paperbacks


• Better quality: The paper and printing quality of paperbacks are generally higher than mass market paperbacks.

• Larger font size: The larger font used makes the text easier to read, particularly for readers with vision problems.

• More selection: Paperbacks are available for a wider range of novel titles and categories than mass market paperbacks.


• Less portable: The larger size of paperbacks may make them less convenient to carry around.

• More expensive: While they are usually less costly than hardcovers, paperbacks are usually more expensive than mass market paperbacks.

• Less accessibility: Paperback availability is usually limited to speciality bookstores, book sections of big box retailers, and online stores.

Key Differences between Mass Market Paperback vs Paperback

The key differences between mass market paperbacks and paperbacks include the size, printing quality, paper quality, production volume, and availability. Mass market paperbacks are smaller in size, have lower printing quality, are printed using low-quality paper, produced in large quantities, and are widely available at brick-and-mortar stores and online. Meanwhile, paperbacks are larger in size, have better printing and paper quality, are produced in smaller quantities, and are less widely available.


Whether you choose a mass market paperback or a paperback, it can often come down to taste, preference, and convenience. It is essential to consider their similarities and differences as well as the pros and cons of each before making a choice. Mass market paperbacks are portable, easy to find at retail establishments, and affordable. Paperbacks are of higher quality, making them an ideal choice for book lovers who prefer larger print, better paper quality, and a more comfortable reading experience.