The Average Weight of a Book (Paperback, Hardcover, Storing)


There is no end to the myriad ways many people can enjoy books, so they will never go out of style. A seeking mind can gain a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and adventure from them. 

While many people choose to read e-books, there are still those who treasure the feel of a good hardcover or paperback. For this group of people, knowing how much a book weighs is important.

5 ounces or 142.86g is the average weight of a book. Additionally, 2.2 pounds (one kilogram) is equal to three books with a combined page count of 150. Recycled paper and thin paper are commonly used in the production of modern books, and this impacts book weight.

This article aims to explain why the weight of a book matters and explain how to determine that weight. Additionally, I’ve discussed the differences between the weights of various book types and how a book’s weight could affect its price. Furthermore, I will share some tips on how to choose a bookcase and the right bookshelf.

When Does the Weight of a Book Matter?

I am a book lover who appreciates a good, solid book in my hands, and the weight of a book influences a lot of my choices when purchasing or reading. Here are some notable instances:

  • A book as a daily companion: Bringing a book along with me on my daily commute should not be a hassle. I would not be able to hold a cup of water at the end of my day if I carried around a 1.5kg hardcover novel throughout the day. Paperbacks that fit in a pocket or backpack are ideal for vehicle excursions, as well as my everyday commute.
  • Traveling: I have had the privilege to travel for a bit, and grappling with luggage restrictions due to my books is never a fun experience. During my recent intercontinental move, I sold my precious textbooks because I was unable to transport them. I promised myself to only buy easily portable books in the event of another move.
  • Printing: For authors, publishers, and book distributors, this weight is an important factor to consider when budgeting for print and subsequent sales. A weighty book will surely cost more to produce and consequently hit the shelves at a more expensive rate than its lighter counterparts.

Determining the Weight of a Book

Calculating the weight of a book can be useful to book printers and publishers for estimating shipping costs when making a budget for a book project. Regardless of the type of book, four factors are considered when determining its weight. They are:

  1. The number of all pages
  2. The page size
  3. The density of the page is measured in basis weight (the standard measurement of the paper’s density) or grammage
  4. The allowance for cover weight, lamination, and glue

The size and format of a book ultimately determine how much it weighs.

What Is the Average Weight of a Paperback Book?

Another name for this book format is softcover. A standard paperback with a length of 300 pages weighs about 15.6 ounces on average. It’s typically 6×9 or 5.5×8.5 inches in size, often found in bookstores, and the covers are made from paperboard with glue attaching the papers to the binding.

Many self-published writers and publishing houses prefer paperback books to hardcover books. These books provide a superior polish while reducing weight and cost. Also, they’re the cheapest alternative for book printing and binding.

Several types of literature, including young adult fiction, children’s, romance, graphic novels, poetry books, are published in softcover.

Mass-market books are a type of paperback that are usually smaller in size and have a thinner, lower-quality cover and stock. Notably, a good deal of romance and thriller novels see come in this format.

How Much Does a Hardcover Book Weigh?

Also called a casebound or hardbound book, it weighs between 2 to 7 pounds (0.9kg to 3.18kg.) A standard-sized hardcover of 460 pages weighs 1 pound, 2 ounces. A 735-page hardcover book weighs 1 pound, 15 ounces, and 1,000 hardcover books will weigh 878.8kg.

Its covers are studier compared to paperbound books and are made from thick cardboard wrapped in cloth. They have their pages glued or sewn into the spine (aids flexibility), and they usually come wrapped in a dust jacket with unique artwork. Hardbacks are made to last, with the ability to survive daily use as well as the passage of time.

Hardcover book demand has risen considerably in recent years, with many individuals preferring hardbacks for a more ‘special’ feel. Specific book genres like business or first-edition fiction are frequently found in this format (they tend to become collectibles in the future.) The majority of novels are first published as hardcovers, then re-released as paperbacks a few months later.

How Much Do Textbooks Weigh?

For books that seem to follow us far into adulthood, they pack some weight! Textbooks weigh 2 to 6 pounds on average, and this weight increases as the grade increases. They have larger dimensions and are about 7×10 inches in size.

Textbooks are commonly in hardcover format. A 500-page textbook is approximately 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Similarly, a 1000-page hardcover text weighs 5 pounds, 3.1 ounces, and 1,500 books will weigh 3533.7kg.

Can you imagine how much weight high schoolers lug around every day?

A high school student will bring at least four books per day, with an estimated weight of 16 to 20 pounds or 7.25 to 9.07 kg.  A study conducted in 2004 by the California Board of Education found that students in the 11th grade carry the highest amount of total book weight. As the student’s knowledge increases, detrimental health problems like neck and back pain also increase.

Science and physics books weigh more than others. Physics books weigh 4.5 pounds or 2.04kg on average. This is because these books have more illustrations, special features, and charts, resulting in more pages. At this point, I have to be grateful for the slow-but-steady change to digital textbooks.

How Much Do Comic Books Weigh?

The contents of comic books are usually seen as “light reading,” and they are also physically light. The average weight of comic books is 2.2 ounces. Various publishers use different materials to produce their comics, and this accounts for the differences in weight between their books.

How Much Does an Average Box of Books Weigh?

A small box (book box) weighs about 30 to 35 pounds. If it is filled with 24 average-sized hardcover books, it can weigh up to 38 pounds. This is good knowledge to have when shipping books.

How Can the Weight of a Book Affect Its Price?

Earlier, I described the factors that determine the weight of a book. These factors also influence the cost of production. Since books are not published for free, every cost incurred in publishing is reflected in the pricing.

The format of a book largely dictates how much I will pay for it. A paperback book is lighter and often significantly cheaper than a hardcover book. If a book has both paperback and hardcover editions, I will most definitely opt for the cheaper paperback.

To save money, I won’t pay $30.45 for a book that I could otherwise get in paperback for $14.95. The only exception I have is If I want to read the book as soon as it comes out. I will have to get the hardcover edition.

What Is the Weight of a Shelf of Books?

A standard foot or 12 inches of average-sized books weighs about 20 pounds. Consequently, a 3-foot shelf of the same book sizes would hold 60 pounds. Of course, textbooks will weigh more than paperback books.

How Many Books Can a Standard Bookshelf Hold?

A bookshelf is a temporary fixture without closed ends that is usually designed to hang on a wall. It is lighter than a bookcase and has a width of no more than 12 inches. It can hold 45 thin books or 26 thick books of identical origins.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Bookshelf

  • Measure the amount of space you have to work with. Take care to measure both wall and floor space to ensure that your bookshelf perfectly fits the intended space.
  • Think about what you want to store on the bookshelf. Will it hold only books or other objects? What kind of books? I would encourage you to go for a slightly larger option than what you think is suitable, so you can have space for additional books you will own over time.
  • Decide on the best material for your needs. An inexpensive bookcase made from cheap plywood will be simple to maneuver, give you more design and color options, and sag easily. On the flip side, a quality bookcase made from pine or oak will be expensive, hard to move around, sturdy, and last for a lifetime.
  • Go for adjustable shelves. This is ideal for maximizing the space available and catering to your evolving needs over time.
  • Work with a budget. Bookcases can cost hundreds of dollars and the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one there is. You can find a bookcase that meets your needs within your price range.

Bookcases are a great choice to store your favorite books for easy access.

How Heavy Is a Bookcase Full of Books?

A bookcase is a piece of furniture with shelves and closed ends that is designed to sit on the floor.

Depending on the number and height of shelves, most bookcases range from 36 to 84 inches (3 to 7 feet) in height and 24 to 45 inches (2 to 3.5 feet) in width. There are numerous options available to fit various spaces in the home, store different types of items, and meet personal aesthetic preferences.

I once tried to move a full bookcase, and it was a near-impossible task. The size of the bookcase, the materials it is made of, and the weight of the books lend variability to the weight of a full bookcase. Filled with books, it can weigh from fifty to several hundred pounds.

Having all this weight on the floor over a while can cause damage to it. Whatever type of bookcase I settle on (built-in or bought,) I will consider where I want it to go, my height, how accessible I would like my belongings to be, and the maximum weight it can hold.

How Many Books Should Be On a Library Shelf?

I don’t believe there is a library in the world that only has books of a particular size. Whether it’s a private library at home or a large public library, books of different sizes will be arranged in various ways. Books of similar sizes and heights are stacked together, and paperbacks may stand beside hardcovers.

These peculiarities can dictate the number of books a shelf can hold, in addition to the design of the shelf. A reference book will take up more space than a picture book on a shelf. Because of this, an estimate is made to ascertain how many books a shelf can hold.

If each book has an average width of 1 inch, I can store 12 books per foot! There is no one-size-fits-all average that applies to all the books in all the library sections. It is best to calculate individual averages for each collection, item type, or shelving range.

The world is becoming more and more technologic, and my interactions with it have been altered. Regardless of how these alterations bleed into my world of books, the feel of a physical book in my hands cannot be replaced. When I consider how much hardbacks cost compared to paperbacks, I think it’s fair to feel the weight of my money in my hands. I love hardbacks for their style, longevity, and aesthetic.

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