A hardcover, hardback or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). They may have flexible, sewn spines which allow the book to lie flat on a surface when opened, although most modern commercial hardcover books have glued spines.
Hardcover books are often printed on acid-free paper, and are much more durable than paperbacks, which have flexible, easily damaged paper covers and glued spines. Hardcover books are also marginally more expensive to manufacture and are usually much pricier. Hardcovers frequently come with artistic dust jackets, but a "jacketless" alternative is becoming increasingly popular: these "paper-over-board" or "jacketless hardcover" bindings forgo the dust jacket in favor of printing the cover design directly onto the board binding.,