Yea, they are definitely paperback, but I'm not for sure of the quality. I know a lot of people swear by ordering the international editions, so they can't be that bad. I think they're more like nice photocopies than actual printings though. I myself strongly prefer hardback, and I must admit that I've seen a hardback Apostol in the library, which was an extremely nice book. The book is very well bound and is heavy because of the quality paper. The book is rather thick though, so the paperback may not hold up as long. I guess you could get the paperback, and then if you really do enjoy the book, then splurge for the nicer hardback, as it is definitely a nice looking book on the desk or bookshelf.