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Everything you need to know about hardback books

If you are at the very beginning of your book creation journey, you will have many questions about the types of binding, and which will work best for you. Not only in terms of what will suit your book type, but also from a cost and volume aspect.

Typically, hardback book printing is a little more costly than paperback, so you will want to know everything about the process and the benefits of hardbound book printing over other methods before you invest your hard-earned cash.

WTTB has collated this guide to help you make an informed decision about the binding type that is right for you, whether that be hardbound, paperback or another option.

What is a Hardbound Book?

A hardbound book, also called a hardback book, is a book bound with rigid covers that protect the pages of the book. Hardbound books are more durable than paperbound books and they can come with a dust cover or with the book cover design printed directly onto the rigid cover. As they are a little more costly and time consuming to make, hardbound book printing is a little more expensive, but the finish is sleek, professional, and eye-catching.

Why do hardback books have covers?

Also called dust jackets, publishers began using covers on books in the 19th century to protect the works during transit and the oldest dust cover on record dates to 1829! The covers were not deemed a necessity once the books reached their destination and were often thrown away. In the early days of printing, dust jackets were also necessary to display printed information that technologies at the time would not allow to be printed on the hardcover or spine of the book.

What are hardback books made of?

Hardback books are made from binder’s board or thick paperboard and typically have superior quality paper on which the literary work is printed. Binder’s board is warp resistant and comes in a variety of thicknesses. The hard cover is then sheathed with either fabric, heavy paper, or leather and is often wrapped with a dust jacket to further protect the work and act as a marketing tool to sell the book and make it stand out, often with quoted reviews of the work and information about the author.

Which is Better, Hardbound or Paperback Books?

This is a tricky question because, ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and purpose. Hardback books are great for their durability, and they are more decorative on a bookshelf (not that you should judge a book by its cover!) Hardback books make lovely gifts as they last longer and are of a better quality than paperback in terms of both the print process and materials used. Many collectors opt for hardbound books over paperback, especially super-fans who love a certain genre, collection, or author, and if you are printing your own novel, opting for hardbound binding will ensure your book stands out and makes for a wonderful keepsake for family, friends, and indeed, yourself.

Paperback books are ideal if you are printing large quantities of your book as they are inexpensive and have lower distribution costs. Paperback books are also lighter and easier to take from place to place, ideal for those who regularly travel on public transport and like to have their favourite read with them. Printing your own paperback book is inexpensive, and with WTTB’s option to print small quantities and bespoke batches, there is nothing stopping you from having your book printed in both hardbound and paperback formats!

How do you fix hard bound books?

There are many book restoration options but the chosen repair method depends upon the book’s age, original binding technique, and materials used to create the book. Book restoration on newer books is easier as the materials used are typically easy to come by and the techniques are in line with current practices. However, for older or historic books, you may need a specialist book restorer nearby who can help. If you have a book of great value, be it sentimental or monetary, we wouldn’t recommend you try to restore it yourself, no matter how straight forward the book restoration video on YouTube may make it seem! Give us a call here at WTTB and we will try our best to help you.

What is the difference between hard copy and paperback?

Some people confuse the term ‘hard copy’ with ‘hard back’, but they are not the same thing. A hard copy of a book is simply the book in physical form, a printed version rather than electronic. So, there is no difference between paperback and hard copy – both are printed and bound and can be held in the readers hands as they immerse themselves in the story.

If you are at the start of your creative journey, we hope the information in this article has given you some insight on how to make hardback books. You may have decided that you want to get started, or you might be thinking that paperback or another binding type is better for your literature. We are here to help if you need something bespoke or you’re just not sure which option is best for you, so reach out to our team if you need further guidance.


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