Depending on whom you talk to or where you are located, the comic book may be the most popular format used to present its type of material, in terms of physical hardcopies. But there are other formats just as popular. Those are trade paperbacks, hard covers, and graphic novels. Some readers do not have regular access to shops to purchase individual issues. For the new readers who are unsure of the differences, hopefully this brief piece will help.
Those first two are actually collected editions of material originally published in single issue form. Trade paperbacks are often seen written as TPB's. Hard covers, by no stretch of the imagination are usually listed as HC's. Not much explanation is needed for their styles, trades are paperbacked and hard covers are hard. Very straightforward, so newcomers are not likely to be confused.
The differences between the two go beyond the covering. The extras included such as sketches, scripts, and background information, are thrown in and can be more numerous with more expensive editions. Hard cover styled books make for great collectibles, but as stated, they can get quite expensive.
There is much more to the name and its uses, but as for a simple introduction to its style, graphic novels contain original material presented in the form of a single book. This one-shot style provides readers with a closed-ended story. A clear beginning and end to a story allows readers to have an entire story in one sitting or at least not have to search beyond that book.
Many outsiders donít differentiate between trade paperbacks, hard covers, and graphic novels. One title that exhibits this is Watchmen. Itís been extremely popular over the years with readers and reached mainstream audiences with its story expanding to the big screen. This series was originally released as 12 single issues and later collected in trade paperback format and multiple hardcover editions.
The collected versions provide readers with the ease of just pulling out a book containing several issues, versus the alternative of carrying a stack of issues. While you have less individual items to carry with collected editions, you don't have the joy that accompanies having stacks of issues that many fans cherish. Another aspect of the singles is experiencing a story as itís published. The release of collected copies will vary by company. Some readers make efforts to avoid spoilers released online so stories are not ruined for them.
Many fans have a mixed collection. My collection has a mix of all of these. It is definitely heavier on the singles side as I enjoy the collecting aspect. Space can become an issue with individual issues, but some fans probably wonít mind that too much. Many styles are available for readers with different circumstances. Find one for you and happy reading to all.