a book bound in a flexible paper cover, often a lower-priced edition of a hardcover book.


(of a book) bound in a flexible paper cover: a paperback edition of Orwell's novel.
of, for, or pertaining to paperbacks: a paperback bookstore.

Also softcover; pa·per·bound [pey-per-bound] /ˈpeɪ pərˌbaʊnd/, softbound (for defs 1, 2).
Compare hardcover.

Origin of paperback

First recorded in 1895–1900; paper + back1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paper-bound

Historical Examples of paper-bound

  • Her place of concealment was singularly well selected under the sofa-cover, and the little heaps of paper-bound volumes.

  • Carmencita's finger pointed to several backless magazines and a couple of paper-bound books on the table behind her.

    How It Happened

    Kate Langley Bosher

  • At the same time, Kato Sugihara dropped the paper-bound periodical, revealing the thin-bladed knife he had concealed under it.

    The Mercenaries

    Henry Beam Piper

  • The other day, prowling about a bookshop, we came upon two paper-bound copies of a little book of poems by Alice Meynell.


    Christopher Morley

  • The fourth case shall be paper-bound novels, English and French editions, and Tauchnitz copies.

    The Private Library

    Arthur L. Humphreys

British Dictionary definitions for paper-bound



a book or edition with covers made of flexible card, sold relatively cheaplyCompare hardback

adjective Also: paperbound, soft-cover

of or denoting a paperback or publication of paperbacks

verb (tr)

to publish in paperback
Derived Formspaperbacker, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for paper-bound



1899, from paper (n.) + back (n.). Adjective paper-backed attested from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper