Book Printing Lingo: What is a "Softcover" Book?
A softcover book refers to a book that has its pages bound within a pliable paper cover (like a paperback novel, corporate annual report or magazine). This is opposed to a hardcover book, which has its pages bound inside a cover made from thick, rigid paperboard (like an elementary school textbook).
Softcover binding is also referred to as softbound, softback or paperback. The paper used for the cover of a softcover book may be thicker than the interior pages (for extra durability) or the cover may be the same thickness as the interior pages (for cost savings).
Most people think of a perfect bound book as the prime example of a softcover book. In addition to perfect binding, other popular softcover binding styles include saddle stitching and spiral coil binding.
The main advantages of printing a book with a softcover binding method include the relatively low cost, quicker turnaround time and widespread availability. This is why softcover binding is more popular than hardcover binding for most printed books.
Take care! Keith