A hardcover, hardback or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). They may have flexible sewn spines which allow the book to lie flat on a surface when opened, although most modern commercial hardcover books have glued spines.
Hardcover books are often printed on acid-free paper, and are much more durable than paperbacks, which have flexible, easily damaged paper covers and glued spines. Hardcover books are also marginally more expensive to manufacture and usually much more to purchase. Hardcovers frequently come with artistic dust jackets.
If brisk sales are anticipated, a hardcover edition of a book is typically released first, followed by a "trade" paperback edition (same format as hardcover) the next year. For very popular books these sales cycles may be extended, and followed by a mass market paperback edition typeset in a more compact size and printed on thinner, less durable paper. This is intended to, in part, prolong the life of the immediate buying boom that occurs for some best sellers. After the attention to the book has subsided, a lower cost version, the paperback, is released to entice further sales.
Hardcover books tend to cost more than paperback versions of the book. Hardcover editions are usually reserved for authors who are (or are expected to be) successful.
Hardcovers generally consist of pages, two boards and a cloth covering them. Their pages are glued into a flexible piece between the boards, and it too is covered by the cloth. A paper covering, usually artistic in nature, is put over the cloth, folding over each horizonal end of the boards. On the folded part over the front cover is generally a blurb, or a summary of the book. On the back folded part is where the biography of the author and/or illustrator can be found. Reviews are often placed on the back of the jacket.
A hardcover is a kind of book. They have hard covers and binding instead of soft ones. This means that they do not rip or tear as easily. The covers are often made out of cardboard covered with cloth. Hardcover books are also more expensive to make, and more expensive to buy.