What Is a Trade Book

Glossary > Trade Book

💬 Definition of Trade Book:

A trade book is intended for general readership and is typically sold through bookstores and online retailers. Trade books are engaging, accessible, and appealing to a wide audience.

Related questions about trade books:

What are the characteristics of trade books?

Trade books are not for a specific academic or professional audience. They address a larger audience, and they cover a wide range of topics, including fiction, nonfiction, memoir, biography, history, science, and more.

Trade books are usually published by big publishers that can handle distribution on a large scale. You'll often find the same trade book title in all three formats: print (paperback and hardcover), ebook, and audiobook.

What's the difference between trade books and mass-market books?

Trade books are different from mass-market books.

You'll often find mass-market books in grocery stores, drug stores, and airports instead of bookstores. They are smaller, printed on cheaper paper, and cost less than trade books. They are often used for romance novels and thrillers. These genres can also be trade books.

What are a few types of trade books?

Trade books can be fiction and nonfiction, including novels, biographies, cookbooks, history books, and children's books.

They do not include special edition books, textbooks, or specialized books for a certain field, such as medicine, but trade books can be studied in schools alongside textbooks. Think of a literature book that all students are reading and analyzing, such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.

Here are some examples of trade books from different genres:


  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey


  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume One: 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

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