What Is Mass Market Paperback

Mass Market Paperback: Definition and Comparison

Mass Market Paperback (MMP) is a type of book format that is printed on low-quality paper, with a flexible, glued binding. MMP books are typically smaller in size than the regular print or hardcover editions, and often priced lower as well. They are usually sold at newsstands, airports, supermarkets, and other locations where impulse buying is common. MMP books are designed to be portable, disposable, and affordable, and are intended for wide distribution and mass appeal.

MMP books have been a popular format for over a century, since they were first introduced in the late 19th century with the rise of pulp fiction magazines. These magazines were printed on low-cost, rough paper, and were often filled with sensational, escapism stories that appealed to the general public. Publishers soon realized the potential of this market and began publishing similar content in book form, in a similar cheap format. Since then, MMP books have evolved to include a wide range of genres, from romance, sci-fi, and fantasy, to mystery and thriller, and everything in between.

Today, MMP books are still a popular format, although they are facing competition from digital books and audio books. However, they have several advantages over these formats that keep them relevant, especially for those who prefer physical books. Here are some of the benefits of MMP books:

Affordability: MMP books are often priced to sell, with the average cost ranging from $5 to $10, depending on the genre and the publisher. This makes them accessible to readers who may not be able to afford hardcover or regular print editions, or who want to try a new author without risking too much money.

Portability: The smaller size of MMP books makes them easy to carry around, whether you are commuting, traveling, or just reading in bed. They fit into most bags and pockets, and are not too heavy to hold for extended periods of time.

Longevity: Despite their low-cost and low-quality paper, MMP books can last for decades if kept in good condition. They are generally made with acid-free paper, so they won’t yellow or crumble with age. They also have a flexible binding that allows them to stay open and lay flat, unlike hardcovers.

Variety: MMP books offer a diverse range of genres and authors, from bestsellers to indie publications. They are a great way to discover new writers or genres, and to explore different topics without committing to a full-price book.

Despite these advantages, MMP books also have their limitations and drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of MMP books:

Durability: While MMP books can last for a long time, they are not as durable as hardcovers or regular print editions. The paper is thin and brittle, and the binding can easily break or tear if handled roughly. They are not recommended for repeated use or sharing.

Design: MMP books are not known for their design or aesthetics, as they often have plain covers, small fonts, and minimal illustrations. They are designed for practicality, not beauty.

Format: MMP books are not suitable for all readers, as some prefer larger fonts, bigger margins, or hardcovers. They may also not be compatible with some reading accessories, such as book holders or page markers.


Q: What is the difference between MMP and trade paperback?
A: Trade paperbacks are a larger, higher-quality version of paperback. They are often the same size as hardcovers, with thicker paper, better binding, and more elaborate covers. They are intended for a more discerning reader who wants a cheaper, but still high-quality edition of a book.

Q: Are MMP books the same as pocket books?
A: Yes, pocket books are another name for MMP books, as they are designed to fit into pockets or small bags.

Q: Are MMP books only for fiction?
A: No, MMP books cover a wide range of genres, including nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, and self-help.

Q: Can I sell my MMP books?
A: Yes, you can sell your MMP books, either online or at second-hand bookstores. However, their resale value may be lower than other editions, due to their low-cost and disposable nature.

Q: Are e-books replacing MMP books?
A: E-books are gaining popularity, but they have not replaced MMP books entirely. Many readers still prefer physical books, and MMP books offer a different experience and feel than digital books. Moreover, not all books are available in e-book format, and some readers may not have access to e-readers or smartphones.