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 paperback

Contemporary Examples of paperback

Historical Examples of paperback

  • This book is available in both a hardcover and paperback edition.

  • He realized that the kid had a paperback book stuck in the waistband of his bangbanger shorts, which was unusual.


    Cory Doctorow

  • Since 1946 he has been editor of a publishing house specializing in paperback books.

    The Secret of the Ninth Planet

    Donald Allen Wollheim

British Dictionary definitions for paperback



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 paperback

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper