As far as I know, many readers aren’t aware of mass market paperbacks, but before we go ahead with any further explanation, let’s talk about the all-time traditional trade paperbacks.
What is a Trade Paperback?
A Trade Paperback is the softer version of the hardcover books and has paper thin covers, although it’s thicker than the pages. The covers are, sometimes, better in design compared to the hardcovers, but mostly not.
Trade Paperbacks are produced in more quantities and hit the stores with more numbers compared to hardcovers. The quality of hardcovers is better than that of paperbacks, not just in the quality of the covers but also the paper quality. The quality of the paperbacks depends on the publishing house but is good nonetheless. They mostly come in the size of 6”x 9”, which mostly is as same as the size of the hardcovers, not always though. I have added the screenshot of the Amazon trade paperback bestsellers for your reference.
What is a Mass Market Paperback?
Mass Market Paperbacks are like a rough and raw version of the paperbacks, meant for readers who are looking out for a more reasonable version of the same book. Therefore, the price is pretty less compared to that of the paperbacks, but so is the quality of the paper and the cover.
They are mass marketed and sold in large quantities, not typically at reputed bookstores and mostly elsewhere. They mostly come in a quite compact and pocket size fashion of 4”x 6” or 4” x 7”, which means that it is smaller, thinner and softer compared to the paperbacks, but just with a more watered quality. I have added a screenshot of the Amazon mass market paperback bestsellers for your reference.
What is the Difference Between a Trade Paperback and a Mass Market Paperback?
The difference between a Trade Paperback and a Mass Market Paperback is just this—a Mass Market Paperback is smaller in size, has low-quality pages, is cheaper, readily available at bus stops, railway stations and small bookstores, and has low-quality cover.
If you are buying books which are meant to be shelved in your book library, you should probably go with the trade paperback, or even better, go with a hardcover.