why coffee table books aren’t sold academic market

Why Coffee Table Books Aren’t Sold in the Academic Market

Coffee table books, with their glossy cover and high-quality print, have the ability to be aesthetically pleasing and incredibly informative. Despite their elegance, however, coffee table books are rarely seen in academic circles and are never sold in the academic market. Here’s why:

The Cost of Coffee Table Books is Prohibitive

Coffee table books offer a lavish production and are packed with full-colour photos, text and images. As a result, the cost of producing them is much higher than the average book, meaning their retail price is also often high.

The higher cost makes it difficult for universities, schools and libraries to purchase them in bulk. The ratio of price-to-durability makes it hard to justify buying these books in large quantities, since the amount a library uses them compensates for the high initial cost.

The Content is not Academic

Coffee table books are often used to provide a visual and textual overview of topics, such as animals, cultures or countries. While some books are very detailed and offer enough information for an academic context, most of them are not in-depth enough for research purposes.

Moreover, coffee table books often contain subjective opinions and the lack of peer review and citations renders the information contained in them not suitable for an academic environment.

Coffee Tables Aren’t Very Durable

Although coffee table books offer a high-quality print, the covers and pages are often too delicate for an academic institution. The daily use and readership need a durable material to withstand the wear and tear it will most likely receive over the years.

Moreover, coffee table books often simply aren’t big enough to contain the reference material required in many academic studies.


Coffee table books are a great source of visual and textual information. However, the cost, content and lack of durability make them ill-suited for an academic context. For this reason, they are rarely seen in academic institutions and never sold in the academic market.

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