A typical hardcover book (1899), showing the wear signs of a cloth cover over the hard paperboards
A hardcover or hardback (also known as hardbound, and sometimes as case-bound) book is one bound with rigid protective covers (typically of Binder's board or heavy paperboard covered with buckram or other cloth, heavy paper, or occasionally leather). It has a flexible, sewn spine which allows the book to lie flat on a surface when opened. Following the ISBN sequence numbers, books of this type may be identified by the abbreviation Hbk.
Detail of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", first English edition (1873), showing cloth pattern on cover
Hardcover books are often printed on acid-free paper, and they are much more durable than paperbacks, which have flexible, easily damaged paper covers. Hardcover books are marginally more costly to manufacture. Hardcovers are frequently protected by artistic dust jackets, but a "jacketless" alternative is becoming increasingly popular: these "paper-over-board" or "jacketless hardcover" bindings forgo the dust jacket in favor of printing the cover design directly onto the board binding.
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. Some publishers publish paperback originals if slow hardback sales are anticipated. 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 shallower,[clarification needed] less hardy 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 in the paperback, is released to sell further copies. In the past the release of a paperback edition was one year after the hardback, but by the early twenty-first century paperbacks were released six months after the hardback by some publishers. It is very unusual for a book that was first published in paperback to be followed by a hardback. An example is the novel
The Judgment of Paris by Gore Vidal, which had its revised edition of 1961 first published in paperback, and later in hardcover.