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Board Book vs Hardcover: What Are the Differences?

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  • March 25, 2024
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  • 6 min read


Books have always held a special place in our lives, serving as portals to imagination, knowledge, and entertainment. Among the various formats available, board book vs. hardcover are popular choices, each offering unique characteristics and benefits. 

Understanding the difference between board books and hardcover can help readers make informed choices based on their preferences and needs.

For parents seeking sturdy reads for their little ones, board books provide a durable option perfect for tiny hands and curious minds. Meanwhile, hardcovers exude elegance and sophistication, gracing shelves with their timeless appeal and sturdy bindings.

A Board Book: What Is It?

For the youngest readers, there is the board book, a subgenre of the picture book ideal for newborns and toddlers. A board book has the following features:

  • The paperboard used to make board books is strong. The hardcover and board book is made of a very strong paperboard that has been folded and tied.
  • This kind of book has rounded sides for little ones. There are round edges on the corners of board books, so babies won’t get hurt if they look at them.
  • Board books have 12 to 24 pages. The thick paperboard pages of a board book cause it to be shorter than a hardback book.

Differences Between Board Book vs Hardcover

Below are the prominent differences between board books and hardcover:


  • Board books have thick, durable pages made of cardboard or heavy paperboard. These pages are difficult to tear or bend, making them ideal for young children who may be rough with books.
  • Hardcover books have pages made of paper, similar to those in paperback books, but they have a sturdy cover made of rigid cardboard covered with cloth, paper, or a glossy laminate.


  • Board books are more durable than hardcover books, especially for young children who might chew on or bend pages.
  • Hardcover books are durable in their own right due to their rigid cover, but they’re more susceptible to wear and tear than board books, particularly when handled roughly.


  • Board books typically have a “board book binding,” where the pages are individually laminated onto the cover. This binding style for standard book size is durable and prevents pages from being easily torn.
  • Hardcover books have a sewn or glued binding that attaches the pages to the cover. While this binding is strong, it is not as resistant to rough handling as the board book binding.

Target Audience:

  • Board books are primarily designed for babies and toddlers. Their sturdy construction makes them suitable for little hands, and the simple text and colorful illustrations engage young children.
  • Hardcover books are more commonly targeted towards older children, teenagers, and adults. They are often used for novels, non-fiction books, and other genres not specifically aimed at young readers.


  • Board books are more expensive due to their specialized materials and construction. The cost to publish a book can vary.
  • Hardcover books can vary widely in price depending on factors such as page count, printing quality, and special features like illustrations or dust jackets.

What Age Is Best for Board Books?

If your child is between 0 and 4 years old, they can just start reading. For kids this age, board books work best. First, board books are strong and won’t tear or get chewed on. Most kids like to bite or tear pages out of books at this age. People who want to board books vs. hardcover for their kids should thoroughly understand the differences.

Since board books are notoriously difficult to pull out, it’s better to read them repeatedly. Second, board books usually have round corners that won’t hurt little kids’ hands because they aren’t ready for them yet.

  • Third, board books are made with glossy paper and then laminated on the outside. This makes the colors stand out more, making kids want to read them. Also, to get little kids interested in reading. In publishers marketplace, the layout of board books is usually simple, with pictures in bright colors that go with the words.

Importance of Understanding the Differences between Board Books and Hardcovers:

Here are the differences between board books vs. hardcover to shed light on their importance:

Age Appropriateness:

With their sturdy pages designed for young hands, board books are ideal for infants and toddlers exploring books for the first time. On the other hand, the Book Writing Bureau suggested that hardcovers, with their traditional paper pages, cater to older children and adults, offering more intricate content suited to their cognitive abilities.


Board books with thick, laminated pages withstand rough handling, making them perfect for curious toddlers prone to tearing and chewing. In contrast, hardcovers’ robust covers and paper pages provide durability for repeated readings and long-term preservation, making them suitable for collectors and enthusiasts.

Interactive Learning:

Board books often incorporate interactive elements such as lift-the-flap features and textured surfaces, engaging young readers and enhancing their sensory experiences. This interactive nature fosters early literacy skills and cognitive development. In contrast, board book vs. hardcover offers a more traditional reading experience, focusing on textual content and illustrations to stimulate imagination and comprehension.


Board books excel in environments where durability and practicality are paramount, such as preschools, daycare centers, and homes with young children. Their waterproof and wipeable surfaces make them resilient to spills and stains.

Conversely, hardcovers shine in settings where aesthetics and sophistication matter, such as libraries, bookstores, and personal collections, where their elegant design and timeless appeal add to the overall reading experience.


While board books provide immediate gratification and durability for young readers, they may have a shorter lifespan than hardcovers, as their thick pages are prone to wear and tear over time. With their high-quality materials and sewn bindings, hardcover books offer longevity and can be cherished for generations, passing down stories and memories through the ages.

How to Choose: Board Book or Hardcover?

Hardcover and board books are important for a young reader’s development and should be on every child’s shelves as some of the best children’s books ever written.

For young kids, board books are great because they last a long time, are fun to read, and often let kids interact with books in a way that hardback books can’t.

Hardcover books are best for older readers, but smaller kids can use them too if they know the rules: books are for reading, not breaking. Still, board books vs. hardcover can be fun for kids if they read them with an adult nearby.

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