What is a Mass Market Paperback?

mass market paperback

Mass Market Paperback books are frequently be found in high traffic areas like airports

There are so many standard book sizes, and even more trim sizes used for specialty purposes. One of the questions we are frequently asked is What is a mass market paperback?.

What Is A Mass Market Paperback?

When a book is first published they release hardcover and trade paperback versions. These books are released to book stores and where ever someone is looking for a high quality version of the book. A mass market paperback is a smaller, less expensive version of a book that is usually printed well after the hardcover and trade paperback versions have been made available.

While most mass market paperbacks are reprints of hardcover hits they are also used for lesser sold genres like riddle books, thriller, artistic or genuine fiction.

The goal of a mass market paperback book is to keep the price down for the publisher and buyer. To achieve this the publisher uses multiple strategies to keep the cost low:

  • small trim sizes
  • lesser page count achieved by smaller fonts and spacing
  • thinner and lower quality paper
  • non-illustrated pages
  • inexpensive bookbinding

Return Policy for Mass Market Paperbacks

Mass market paperbacks are traditionally distributed in high-traffic venues or areas. On bestseller lists these books are given full credit for unsold copies. Any unsold copies have the cover ripped off and sent back to the publisher. The vendor then pulps (destroys) the remainder of the book. This is in contrast to the hardcover and trade paperback version policies of  allowing full refunds from the publishers..

Where Can They Be Found?

As mentioned previously mass market paperbacks are often sold in high traffic areas like grocery stores and airports. When they were first created mass market paperback books were the original paperback and sold in racks at spots like drugstores and markets. Trade paper is closer to that of a hardcover book, costs more and is generally found in book shops, in spite of the fact that this qualification is not as clear now that there are more places that offer both like Walmart.

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