Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Trade Paperback

Greg Swan (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 09:22:00 -0700 (MST) Although one of the authors on this list could probably set us straight,
my understanding is that the difference is largely one of distribution.
Mass-market paperbacks may be "stripped" by booksellers. In stripping,
the bookseller tears off the covers of books which remain unsold for a few
months. The covers are sent back to the distributor and then the publisher
for credit. The books themselves are sent to the landfill.

Trade paperbacks are distributed like hardbacks. Books are
normally not returned for credit and, when they are, the entire book must
be returned.

While most trade paperbacks are larger size, I recall that the Black
Lizard line was distributed as trade paperbacks. Since the original Black
Lizard books were the same size as mass market paperbacks, I'd speculate
there might have been a great deal of frustration on the part of
booksellers who tore the covers off what appeared to be mass-market
paperbacks and then asked for credit. Oops!
> "Just a short technical question:
> What does the term 'trade' paperback mean (vs. "ordinary" paperback)?" (Frank)
> "My understanding is this - and someone please correct me. A normal paperback
> - your King/Grisham bestsellers etc - are called A format paperbacks, and then
> you have B and C format paperbacks which are larger. These larger formats are
> generally called 'trade' paperbacks." (Paul)
> I believe that pocket-sized paperbacks are considered "regular" p/b, while
> "trade" is a paperbound book that is roughly the same size as a hardback. - Jim
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