Hardcover: A Luxury Worth Investing In
By Amy Groening

Softcover books are the bread and butter of the book market—the cheaper materials of paperback copies make them more affordable to print, meaning they are can also be priced lower, and shipped for cheaper (since they don’t have the added weight of a heavy cover), which makes them appealing on a mass market level. However, the proliferation of cheaper and cheaper paperback books has done nothing to decrease the appeal and popularity of a beautifully bound hardcover book.

Hardcover books have a special place in the book market, and are extremely popular, despite their higher production costs. Beloved by hardcore fans and bibliophiles who like to keep their collections in pristine condition, hardcover books can be a wonderful keepsake item for you and your readers.

Reasons to print hardcover:

1) As a keepsake item or “Thank You” gift: A hardcover edition can make a beautiful gift for loved ones, and is a great way of thanking anyone who worked with you on your book: Did someone give you extensive research materials to work with? Give you a pep talk every time you had doubts about publishing? Give you so many tips on the writing process that you feel as if they practically wrote the book with you? People who were intimately connected with the creation of your book—especially those who volunteered their time free of charge—may really appreciate a copy.
Some publishers (including ours) can print as few as 25 copies of a book, which is great if you’re thinking of handing them out as gifts instead of putting them on the market.

2) To mark a milestone: A hardcover edition can be a great piece to commemorate reaching a milestone with your book. Is it the 10th anniversary of your publication? Have you just sold your first 1,000 copies? Did your book win an award? These are all fantastic reasons to splurge on a more luxurious edition of your book!

3) To appeal to a selective market: As hardcover books are more expensive, they are often considered a luxury. Avid readers gravitate towards hardcover if they care about keeping their collection pristine; some people will only buy a book if they can buy it in hardcover. The look, feel, and durability of a hardcover book appeals to those who prefer high-quality books that will stand the test of time.

Additionally, if yours is a children’s book, keep in mind that hardcover books hold up to wear and tear much better than soft cover. Children tend to be rougher on their books, so hardcover may be a selling feature here—however, a hardcover picture book can get pretty pricey, so this option is most appropriate if you’re planning on printing a large run of books (500 or more), so that the retail price is still appropriate for the children’s book market.

Types of hardcover books

We print two main types of hardcover books: casebound, and clothbound.

In casebound books, the heavy board cover is wrapped in a “case” printed with your original cover design. The case is bonded to the cover, and is most popular with children’s books.

Clothbound books start with that same heavy board cover, but it is wrapped in coloured cloth. The title of the book is stamped along the spine in gold foil, and then the book is covered in a removeable dustjacket, complete with your book’s original cover design and wrap-around flaps. The dustcover protects the cloth of the book’s cover, and allows you to keep the flash and colour of your original cover, while the gold foil stamped cover beneath gives the book a classic look for the best of both worlds!

Market Popularity

Hardcover books stand out as a permanent fixture in the publishing industry. As the industry works to publish more and more affordable books (eBooks and paperbacks are notably lighter on the wallet than a hardcover edition), hardcover books have continued to be a solid investment and a favourite for book lovers everywhere. Surprisingly, the growth in popularity of eBooks has not been met with a decrease in the popularity of hardbacks: hardback sales have continued to hold steadily—and at times increase—even as they were overtaken by eBooks for overall sales (as reported by the NY Times in 2011; and the Wallstreet Journal) and, surprisingly, hardback books actually outsold eBooks in the first half of 2014!.

With odds like that, it’s safe to say hardcover books stand the test of time—both on the market and on your bookshelf! Just another great reason to print hardcover editions of your book!

About this Contributor:

Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cats committing random acts of feline crime.

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