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Format Definitions

Available Formats

For popular new releases and expected best sellers, the hardcover edition is the first format to be released. Typically, the "trade" paperback edition would be released the following year (or later) depending on sales. Then, lastly, the mass market paperback edition is released. Each edition would offer the same content at a lower price point then the last.

Below are Details Regarding the Various Book Formats Available from BookPal


Hardcovers or hardbound books are bound with rigid protective covers, usually cardboard covered with plain cloth or leather. Hardcovers frequently come with “dust jackets” that have the cover illustration and a synopsis on the back or inside flap. Typically, a book will first be released in a hardcover format. Although hardcover books are more expensive, they are sturdier than paperbacks.


Paperbacks, or softcover books, are made with thick paper or paperboard covers and have spines that are glued, rather than stitched. Trade paperbacks, which are larger than the mass market (see below), are released after the hardcover. Trade paperbacks are generally 5.5 x 8.5 inches.

Mass Market Paperbacks

Mass market paperbacks are similar to the trade editions, but they tend to have thinner pages and smaller dimensions, as well as a lower list price. A standard mass market paperback will usually measure 4.5 x 7 inches.

Board Books

Board books are printed on thick paperboard, which is used for both the interior pages and the cover. The pages are glossy and the binding is specially folded and glued together. Board books are durable and are designed for young children.

Library Bound Books

Library bound books are paperback editions that have been rebound for use in schools and libraries. Unlike hardcovers, library bound editions do not have dust jackets. Instead, the interior pages are rebound within a hard, glossy cover that features the original paperback artwork. Library binding extends the life of the books, as the new covers are sturdier and more resistant to wear and tear.


eBooks, or electronic books, are digital content that has either been converted from print books or created specifically for electronic distribution. BookPal has its own proprietary platform for managing eBook purchases. The BookPal reader is available on all Android and iOS devices. Please note that eBooks purchased from BookPal are not available for resale.


Journals are blank or lined pages bound in a hardcover or paperback format and are intended for writing or record keeping purposes. Contact us about customizing journals for your organization.

Audio Books

Audio books are recordings of books or text being read. BookPal offers some editions of books on audio CD upon request.

Picture Books

Picture books are books that consist mainly of pictures or illustrations, with little or no text. Picture books are available in many different levels for beginning and intermediate readers and can be hardcover or paperback.

Spiral Bound Books

Spiral bound books are secured with a metal or plastic binding instead of a sewn or glued spine. In most cases, spiral binding is used on training materials or educational guides. Spiral bound books usually have thin plastic or paper covers.

Mixed Media Books

Mixed media refers to books that have other components, such as stuffed animals or special items that relate to the text and encourage an interactive reading experience.