Trade paperbacks, sometimes referred to as graphic novels, are books made by compiling several stories originally published as comic books. Usually, the comics included are all of those that flow together to complete one storyline. A person can purchase one in order to read the entire storyline in just one book instead of in several separately printed comic books. When trade paperbacks were first introduced, they were reprinted in the same size as the original publication. These were typically reserved for reprinting comic books that were no longer in print or that were difficult to find in the original.
Modern trade paperbacks, on the other hand, are often released soon after the original comic book comes out. In addition, they are usually published in a much smaller size than the original, typically about the same size as a standard novel. Their early release has effectively helped some comic books gain new readers, as they can easily catch up on the background of a comic book story.
Graphic novels often include additional story lines and artwork that were not a part of the original publication. For example, they may include special features that were available on the Internet or in trade publications when the original comic books were released, or even cover art that is different from the original. These extras, plus the fact that trade paperbacks are often less expensive than the original comic books and do not contain advertising, make them particularly enticing to comic book fans.
In many cases, trade paperbacks also include special introductions written by a famous individual who is not directly associated with the comic book. They do not, however, include features such as fan mail or embossed covers. In addition, they often do not include background stories.
Many comic books that do not perform well in the first run do quite well once converted to trade paperbacks. In fact, this format has been known to help some comic books regain their popularity. Nonetheless, individual issues of comic books still remain more popular, as the graphic novel form has very little value to collectors.