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Hardcover or Softcover For Your Children’s Book Printing: Which Is Better

Time: 2023-11-06 Hits: 125

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When printing children’s books, one of the decisions authors and publishers have to make is whether to go for a hardcover or softcover format. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages. So it’s important to consider the specific needs of your book and target audience. In this article, we will explore the differences between hardcover and softcover children’s book printing, weigh their pros and cons, and help you determine which format is better for your children’s book.

What’s hardcover?

hardcover children's book printing


Hardcover books, also known as hardback or hardbound books, are books with a rigid and durable cover. The cover is made of thick cardboard or paperboard, which is then wrapped in printer paper, cloth or leather. The pages of a hardcover book are typically sewn together and glued to the spine, providing extra strength and durability. Hardcover books are known for their sturdiness and ability to withstand wear and tear.


What’s paperback?

paperback children's book printing


On the other hand, paperback books, also called softcover books, have a flexible cover that is usually made from a thin cardboard or paper stock. The cover is often coated with a layer of laminate to enhance its durability and protect it from damage. The pages of a paperback book are usually glued or sewn together, making them more affordable to produce. Paperback books are lighter and more portable than their hardcover counterparts, making them a popular choice for readers on the go.


The pros and cons of hardcover children’s book

Hardcover children’s books offer several advantages. First, they are more durable and can withstand the rough handling that often comes with little hands. Hardcover books are less likely to tear or get damaged, making them a suitable choice for young readers. Second, hardcover books also have a premium look and feel, which can make them more appealing to parents and gift givers. Third, hardcover books are often considered collector’s items and can retain their value over time. Lastly, the rigid cover of a hardcover book provides better protection for the pages, preventing them from getting creased or bent.

However, there are also some downsides to printing children’s books in hardcover. The main drawback is the cost. Hardcover books are more expensive to produce compared to their softcover counterparts. This can make it challenging for authors or publishers on a tight budget. Additionally, hardcover books are generally heavier and bulkier, which may not be ideal for children who prefer lightweight books or have difficulty holding heavy objects.

The pros and cons of softcover children’s book

Softcover children’s books have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages is the lower production cost compared to hardcover books. This makes softcover books a more budget-friendly option, especially for self-published authors or small publishing houses. Softcover books are also lighter and more portable, which is advantageous for children who enjoy reading on the go or have limited strength.

However, the flexibility of the cover also means that softcover books are generally less durable compared to hardcover books. The flexible cover and glued pages are more prone to wear and tear. This can be a concern for parents who want their children’s books to last longer. Softcover books may require more frequent replacements. Especially if they are being used in a classroom or library setting where many hands will be handling them. Besides, softcover books may not have the same premium look and feel as hardcover books, which may impact their perceived value and marketability.

Is hardcover or paperback better for children’s book?

The choice between hardcover and softcover for children’s book printing ultimately depends on your specific needs, target audience, , budget and preferences.

If you’re aiming for a high-quality, long-lasting book that can endure repeated use, hardcover may be the better option. Hardcover books are typically favored by parents due to their durability and potential as keepsakes. Because hardcover books are built to last and can withstand repeated use by young readers. They also offer a more premium and luxurious feel, which can be appealing to both children and parents.

However, if affordability and portability are more important to you, then softcover may be the way to go. Softcover books are lighter, cheaper, and easier to carry around. They are ideal for children who enjoy reading on the go or for authors/publishers working within a tight budget. Softcover books can still provide an enjoyable reading experience while being more accessible to a wider audience.

It’s worth noting that some authors and publishers choose to offer both hardcover and softcover options for their children’s books. This allows them to cater to different preferences and budgets, and it can also help expand their potential market. Offering multiple formats can provide more choices for readers and increase the chances of reaching a wider audience.

Is there a difference between hardcover and softcover Books?

hardcover vs softcover children's book

Yes, there are several notable differences between hardcover and softcover books. The most obvious difference lies in the cover material and construction. Hardcover books have a rigid cover made of thick cardboard or paperboard, while softcover books have a flexible cover made of thinner materials. This difference affects the overall durability, weight, and feel of the book.

Second difference is the binding method. Hardcover books are typically sewn together and glued to the spine, providing added strength and durability. Softcover books, on the other hand, are usually glued together. This difference in binding affects the overall lifespan and ability to withstand wear and tear.

Another difference is the manufacturing process. Hardcover books need more steps such as binding the pages to the cover, adding end papers and ribbons, etc, which contribute to their higher production cost and longer production time. Softcover books, on the other hand, can be produced more quickly and at a lower cost since they don’t need these extra steps.

Why do parents like hardcover children’s books more?

hardcover children's book

Parents often prefer hardcover children’s books for several reasons. Firstly, the sturdiness and durability of hardcover books make them a wise investment. Parents want books that can withstand the rough handling of their children, ensuring that they can be enjoyed for a long time. Hardcover books offer this level of durability, making them a reliable choice for parents.

Additionally, hardcover books are often perceived as more valuable and timeless. The rigid cover and premium feel give them a sense of quality, making them suitable as gifts or keepsakes. Parents appreciate the aesthetic appeal of hardcover books and the lasting impression they can have on their children.

Why are hardcover children’s books printing more expensive?

The higher cost of printing hardcover children’s books can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the materials used for the cover of hardcover books are generally more expensive. Thick cardboard or paperboard and cloth or leather coverings contribute to the overall cost. Additionally, the binding process of hardcover books is more complex and time-consuming, requiring skilled labor and specialized equipment.

Furthermore, the demand for hardcover children’s books may also play a role in their higher price. Hardcover books are often associated with higher quality and perceived value, which can lead to increased demand. The higher demand for hardcover books can drive up the production costs, resulting in a higher price tag for consumers.

What format is best for children’s books printing?

The best format for children’s book printing depends on various factors, such as budget, target audience, and publishing goals.

Hardcover books are ideal for authors or publishers who want to create a premium and durable product. They are suitable for books that are meant to be cherished and passed down through generations. Hardcover books can also be a good choice for authors who want to showcase their work in a more professional and prestigious manner. Besides, hardcover books are ideal for children’s books that are expected to be read and handled frequently. They offer excellent protection for the pages and can withstand the wear and tear that comes with young readers.

On the other hand, softcover books are more affordable and accessible. They are suitable for authors or publishers who are working with a limited budget or targeting a wider audience. Softcover books are convenient for children who enjoy reading on the go or for classroom/library settings where multiple copies are needed.

print hardcover children's book

How much does it cost to publish a children’s book, per hardcover and paperback?

The cost of publishing a children’s book can vary depending on various factors, such as size, the number of pages, printing quantity, and additional features. Generally, hardcover books are more expensive to produce than softcover books. A rough estimate for printing costs per unit can range from $5 to $10 for a hardcover children’s book, while softcover books can cost between $1 to $5 per unit.

It’s important to note that these estimates are just a general guideline and can vary depending on the specific requirements of your project. It’s recommended to obtain quotes from different printers and compare their prices and services to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Should I do paperback and hardcover for children’s book self publishing?

Deciding whether to do both paperback and hardcover for children’s book self-publishing depends on your goals and budget. Offering both formats can provide flexibility and cater to different preferences. Offering both formats can also enhance the perceived value of your book. Some readers may be willing to pay a higher price for a hardcover edition, considering it as a collector’s item or a special gift. On the other hand, a paperback edition can attract price-conscious readers who are looking for a more affordable option. By providing multiple formats, you maximize your chances of attracting a diverse range of readers.

However, it’s important to consider the additional costs and logistics involved in producing both formats. Printing two different versions of the same book can increase production expenses and require additional storage space. It’s crucial to carefully assess your target audience and market demand before deciding to offer both formats.


When it comes to children’s book printing, the choice between hardcover and softcover depends on various factors such as durability, cost, and target audience. Hardcover books offer superior durability and a premium feel, making them a popular choice among parents and for special occasions. Softcover books, on the other hand, are more affordable and portable, catering to a wider audience.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your specific needs, budget, and publishing goals. Consider the preferences of your target audience and weigh the pros and cons of each format. Whichever format you choose, remember to prioritize the quality of the content and illustrations, as these are key factors in creating a memorable and engaging children’s book.


If you’re ready to bring your children’s book to life, contact us today for expert advice on hardcover and softcover printing options!

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