Monday Musings | Mass Market Paperbacks

Mass Market Paperbacks Game of Thrones Anne of Avonlea Oryx and Crake

Can I share a confession with you? I love mass market paperbacks for their price, but I have a hard time reading them.

I first noticed this when I was reading Anne of Avonlea for the Green Gables Readalong. Now, I really love Anne of Green Gables, but for some reason I found reading the mass market version of Anne of Avonlea to be a slog. For the next book, Anne of the Island, I switched to a different format (namely the new Tundra Books editions), and I enjoyed the reading experience so much more – just because it was laid out differently!

This is also why I secretly think I haven’t gotten to my copies of Oryx and Crake and Game of Thrones even though I’m sure they’re as amazing as everyone else says they are: I get scared off by the small, dense type. So, while I love the portability of mass market paperbacks, I doubt I’ll be reading books in that format anytime soon.

Am I crazy for feeling this way, or am I really missing out? Are you a fan of mass market paperbacks? Do you have a favourite book format?


19 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Mass Market Paperbacks

  1. Nadia says:

    Great post. I agree that the format of a book can add, or take away from the enjoyment of reading it. That being said, I LOVE mass market paperbacks. Maybe it’s because mass markets are the paperbacks I grew up with. Maybe it’s the fact that buying a stack of them makes me feel like I’m going on vacation. Or maybe I just like the smell of them. I don’t like the way the spines break easily, but I love the price, portability, and the way mass markets fit in my hands without flopping over my fingers. But books are books, and I’ll take them in hardcover, paperback, mass market, or e-format.

  2. Milliebot says:

    I have a hard time getting into ebooks. I don’t mind mass markets, except that they can get a little weighty. But it doesn’t affect my reading experience the way trying to read through an ebook does- that’s the real slog for me. But when I can, I buy trade paperbacks.

  3. Naomi says:

    My favourite form is trade paperback. I do find mass markets hard to read. I often feel like I have to force the book open in order to see the type near the center of the book. My Oryx and Crake is also mass market, but I loved it anyway. 🙂

  4. Nish says:

    I agree with you. A story would have to be really powerful for me to ignore the poor fonts and paper quality. That said, I loved the Game of Thrones books even though the publishing quality of the books I read was pathetic.

  5. Angélique says:

    I totally agree with you and it doesn’t have to be this way! I grew up in France and there, the equivalent of mass market paperbacks (most commonly called “pocket books”) are excellent quality. The paper is thin the font isn’t tiny, the margin and general formatting is good, the book cover is flexible and doesn’t crease that easily. It’s not supposed to be a cheap edition (and they look great on the shelf)!
    Here, I just gave up on them. My favourite format is trade paperback. It’s the only format that doesn’t make my eyes tired and that I can carry around easily.

  6. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader says:

    They are kind of tough to read aren’t they?? The type is small and they aren’t comfortable to hold. I’ve read many in my life, of course, but that was when my eyes were younger and I didn’t mind discomfort so much 😉 Now that I’m more…mature (ha!) I prefer something a heftier book in my hands.

  7. literatigeekblogs says:

    That tiny font can be hard to read. Then with a book like Game of Thrones you get into my second pain which is holding it. It’s literally the size and shape of a brick. Trade paperbacks are just easier to hold (for me anyway) so it’s less awkward reading. Although, tendonosis is making me read more books on kindle anyways.

  8. Caryn says:

    I agree—format really matters. Like you said, mass markets are cheap but incredibly hard to read because the type is so dense. HOWEVER, for some titles, I specifically like the format FOR its aesthetic. Example: those matching Atwood mass markets ( Because those books were published in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I feel like the squashed type, the more easily yellowed pages, and the dated covers bring me closer to what the original book read like. Does that make sense? It’s crazy how much the look of a book can influence your reading experience, but it really does matter!

  9. KatieMcD says:

    I agree. I have stopped buying them all together because usually, the binding is so tight and the text goes into the crease, and the type is small. I love paperbacks generally, and prefer the trade size ESPECIALLY if they are super floppy. It’s sucks that the price is nearly double, but I think worth it in the end.

  10. The Paperback Princess says:

    I actually love reading mass market paperbacks! Not all the time – as you say the text IS quite dense. But I love the feeling of ripping through one, or the way the ink smudges and the feel of the paper. Reading a mass market paperback feels the way reading should, if that makes any sense. When you’ve finished reading one, you can tell that it’s been read, and possibly loved. No matter how gentle you are, a MMP will always show the read.

  11. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    You know what, I’ve never thought about this before…but I think you’re right (now that I’m thinking about it)! I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in MM paperback and it was tough! I do remember the tiny print. But, now I read on a Kindle, so problem solved!

  12. Charleen says:

    Ugh. Hate mass markets. Hate hate hate them. The price is the only good thing about them, but if it’s a book I liked enough to want to own, I’ll pay extra for a better format.

  13. Alice says:

    I’ve never really thought about this before, but now you mention it I dislike any paperback where the writing is squished into a smaller size. It puts me off entirely.

    Interesting topic, I’ll be paying attention to this now.

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