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Head of a ceiling ribbon with ribbon bookmark and headband

A hardcover ( abbreviation: HC; other names - rarely: cardboard tape , very rarely: cover tape ) is a book with a hard cover , the core of which is made of cardboard and usually completely surrounded by cover materials such as paper, textile or leather. The binding of a hard cover with front cover , back cover and spine is created separately and referred to as the "cover" or " book cover " . In contrast to this, the cover of a paperback book, which is usually cheaper in terms of price, is flexible and usually only consists of printed cardboard without cover material.

In the modern book trade, first editions are usually presented as a hardcover association.


As a mass-produced item in industrial book production, the cover binding established itself as the preferred type of binding for publishing houses from the middle of the 19th century. Previously, mostly unbound book blocks were sold, which were then bound separately and individually by the owner of the book, now the publishers have taken on the task of having an edition of a book bound in uniform covers in advance. The publisher's cover was created . The cover tape enables relatively inexpensive bindings in large numbers, since a high degree of mechanization can be achieved. Ultimately, the soft cover or the brochure represents the most reduced form of this development, as the cover only consists of a single piece of mostly printed cardboard without cover material. The conventional way of bookbinding survived only in manual binding, for example in small series that were sometimes elaborate and artistically designed.


The counterpart to the hardcover is usually cheaper and only provided with a flexible envelope made of cardboard, paper or the like. Depending on the format and quality of the cover, such book copies are then referred to as brochure , softcover, paperback or paperback .

In the historical or particularly high-quality book binding, the book block is connected separately to the covers and the spine in several work steps, for example with the Franzband .


Book block and book cover are produced in separate operations and then joined together, which distinguishes the cover tape from the conventional method of bookbinding . Components of the book cover are the front cover (or front cover), the back cover (or back cover) and the spine. Gauze and sleeve can additionally strengthen the spine of the book. In industrial book production, the book covers are made on a cover machine. The book block is "hooked" into the finished cover: The book block is usually connected to the book cover by means of the attachment , but in some cases also by means of frets or gauze . The cover can be given a dust jacket .


Various materials can be used as material for the book cover, usually cardboard (cardboard tape) or solid cardboard; seldom also plastic or metal, historically also wood. The book block of a cover tape can be designed in different ways:

The binding consists of the front and back covers as well as the Schrenz or the back insert. These are connected to one another by reference material. There are also half and full volumes for cover volumes , with the latter being produced much more frequently. The book cover can also be equipped with various features:


  • Konrad Umlauf: Modern book customer. Books in libraries and in bookshops today. (= Library work. Volume 2). 2nd, updated and revised edition. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-447-04176-5 .
  • Fritz Wiese: The book cover. A working customer with work drawings . 7th edition reprint d. 6th, supplemented edition from 1983. Schlüter, Hannover 2008, ISBN 3-87706-302-0 , p. 173 ( google.de ).

Web links

Commons : Hardcover  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
  • Ceiling tape. In: Examination wiki. Central Technical Committee for Vocational Training in Printing and Media, accessed on February 14, 2018 .
  • Loose covers. In: Binding Research Wiki. Retrieved February 14, 2018 .

Individual evidence

  1. "Ceiling tape" is not even mentioned online in the Duden .
  2. ^ Ngram Viewer
  3. Duden : Keyword: Softcover , online at duden.de