View all

Resource Centre

Pros and cons of different book covers

Firstly, in this resource, when we talk about book covers, we mean bound covers rather than the design of a cover. However, book cover design is just as important as the type of cover you choose, but initial priority is making sure your chosen cover will suit your design and suit your intended purpose. Take a look at our BookWIZARD service, so that you can price up your chosen project.


Paperback books

A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback is traditionally used for mass market/trade books. The material used for the paperback is typically thicker paper, which is known as a paperboard cover – or PPC – stuck with glue.

from £0.87 / copy


  • Portable – easy to carry with you
  • Cost-effective
  • Flexible spine – easy to read
  • Offers inexpensive quality finishing options


  • Prone to damage
  • Publishers do not adhere to a standard size

Hardback books

A hardcover or hardback (also known as hardbound, and sometimes as case-bound) is bound with a variety of materials, such as cloth. Hardback books can also come with a separate sleeve/dustcover – this helps to protect the book. We recommend that you go for this option if your book is deemed special or collectible.

from £1.68 / copy


  • Often has a removable dust jacket to keep the cover looking pristine
  • Better binding and paper, great for building collections
  • Available before paperback; first editions are usually hardcover
  • Durable


  • Heavy/less portable
  • Customers find they’d rather pay less for a paperback

Spiral-bound books

Spiral-bound or coil, (because of their metal or plastic spine) is more commonly seen in educational textbooks due to being able to fold the pages over a full 360 degrees without damaging the book itself.

from £1.67 / copy


  • Offer versatility and flexibility, ideal for educational materials
  • Spineless – can be laid completely flat without damaging
  • Great for short-runs or one-off projects
  • Works well with index tabs


  • Coils can be prone to damage or damaging other books
  • Not acceptable for standard distribution and retail channels.

Saddle stitch booklets

A cheaper option for those looking at the spiral-bound and has the advantage of being perfect for scanning pages. With folded pages, one inside the other and stapled together, saddle stitch booklets are a great option for low cost marketing materials.

from £0.45 / copy


  • Highly economical, especially for small, short-term booklets
  • Lays relatively flat without damaging
  • Has a quick turnaround
  • Low-cost


  • Less durable; the cover and interior can be easily damaged
  • No spine – make sure you consider this for design purposes

If you’re also looking for book cover design, why not take a look here.