What's A Mass Market Paperback?


If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably come across the term “mass market paperback” at some point. But what exactly does it mean? In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of mass market paperbacks, including their history, characteristics, and why they’re still popular today.

What is a Mass Market Paperback?

A mass market paperback, also known as a pocket book, is a small, compact book that’s typically sold in bookstores, supermarkets, and other retail outlets. They’re called “mass market” because they’re printed in large quantities and sold at a relatively low price point compared to other book formats.

History of Mass Market Paperbacks

The first mass market paperbacks were introduced in the United States in the late 1930s by publishers such as Pocket Books and Avon Books. These books were printed on cheap, low-quality paper and featured covers with bright, eye-catching designs. They were also much cheaper than hardcover books, making them more accessible to the average reader.

Characteristics of Mass Market Paperbacks

Mass market paperbacks are typically small in size, measuring around 4.25 x 7 inches. They’re printed on thin, low-quality paper with a rough texture, which helps to keep the cost of production down. The covers are usually made of glossy cardstock and feature bright, colorful designs that are meant to catch the reader’s eye.

Why Are Mass Market Paperbacks Popular?

Despite their low production quality, mass market paperbacks remain popular among readers for several reasons. First, they’re affordable, making them accessible to a wide range of people. Second, they’re lightweight and portable, making them ideal for reading on the go. Finally, they’re often the first format in which new books are released, making them a popular choice for people who want to read the latest bestsellers.

The Future of Mass Market Paperbacks

Despite the rise of e-books and audiobooks, mass market paperbacks are still a popular format for readers. However, their future is uncertain, as publishers continue to grapple with the challenges of producing and distributing physical books. Some experts predict that mass market paperbacks will continue to be popular for years to come, while others believe that they’ll eventually be phased out in favor of digital formats.


In conclusion, mass market paperbacks are a unique and important part of the publishing industry. They offer an affordable, portable, and accessible way for people to enjoy their favorite books. While their future may be uncertain, we can be sure that they’ll continue to be a beloved format for many readers for years to come.

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