Book Printing Cost, Book production, Design, Marketing, Self Publishing

How to Choose the Right Book Cover Finish: Matte vs. Gloss vs. UV

When I’m in a library or bookstore searching for my next adventure in reading, it’s a total sensory experience. From the smell of paper to the feel of the cover, choosing a book becomes about more than just the content on the page. Part of this experience is the cover finish on a particular book. Whether it’s the glossy art book or a matte novel, the cover finish you choose will affect how a reader perceives your book.

The type of cover finish you choose should be considered in tandem with cover design since it will complement your cover artwork. Think about the visual impact of your final book as well as how it will feel to the touch. Whether it’s on a living room coffee table or on a bookstore shelf, the right cover finish can be the difference between your book being noticed or not.

The three most common cover finishes for books are UV Coating, Gloss, and Matte. They are all terrific options, each with its own benefits and appeal depending on your book.

UV Coating

If you’re looking for a cost-effective cover finish, you can’t go wrong with UV Coating. UV Coating is a liquid solution poured onto your cover that is then cured using ultraviolet and infrared lights. This cover finish will give your book a bit of a shine, and will help protect your book against curling. It won’t peel and is more pliable than other finishes.

If your book’s cover is a solid color or a dark cover, you may notice smudges, fingerprints, and scuff marks more easily with UV Coating.

UV Coating is the best option if you want to keep your production costs low, or you want a look somewhat between gloss and matte. This finish option is versatile, making it a terrific choice for genres from fiction and history to textbooks and manuals.

Gloss Lamination

Gloss lamination is a reflective film that is stretched across your book’s cover. Gloss lamination provides increased shine and surface protection. This durable cover finish option will repel fingerprints or smudges, and is easy to wipe clean if it comes into contact with dirt or dust.

Books with a gloss laminated cover finish have a smooth texture and polished look that will enhance your cover by giving vibrancy to your photos and artwork. The reflective surface will surely grab attention from a bookshelf or coffee table.

You should choose a glossy finish for your book if you are looking to make a high impact, if your cover design is bright and vivid, or if you are looking for the most protection from scratches or dirt for your book. Gloss lamination is also reasonably priced if you are looking to upgrade from UV Coating. If you are interested in adding a premium feature like metallic printing, gloss is the best choice to pair with it.

Popular genres with gloss lamination include textbooks, cookbooks, art or photography books, and children’s books.

Matte lamination is a film overlay that results in a muted look for your cover and a velvety texture. Matte lamination offers a pleasant tactile experience and has an overall softer look. The less reflective overlay gives a more natural look to cover art, with a lower contrast on darker colors.

One of the benefits of matte lamination is that it is resistant to small scratches and scuffs. While wear and fingerprints are more readily absorbed with this finish, it can be more susceptible to stains and spills.

Besides producing a pleasing texture, this cover finish offers a unique, distinguished look. Where glossy books may be more common, one with a matte cover will really stand out from the crowd. For our 3D Spot UV premium feature, matte lamination is the way to go. 3D Spot UV is a raised and reflective overlay that contrasts beautifully with the muted look of matte lamination.

We see matte lamination used often for history books, memoirs, or poetry books.

How to Choose the Best Cover Finish for Your book

When deciding on the cover finish for your book, take into consideration your genre and intended audience. Browse your local bookstore for similar books and see what speaks to you. Whether you use film lamination or UV Coating, each style will have different impacts on the colors and artwork used in your cover design. The finish affects the visual and tactile experience of shopping or reading a book, as well as the perceived quality and value of your book.

What cover finish will work best with your project? Call us to talk about your lamination options! Jennifer and I can discuss the vision you have for your book and help pick the best choices for your cover finish.

Book Printing Cost, Book production, Self Publishing

The Best Binding Type for Your Book – Pros and Cons

A few months ago I moved into a new apartment.  Some of the first boxes I tackled when I was unpacking were my 500+ books. I organized them by spine color, creating a wall of book art in my living room.

As I placed each one I was struck by the different feelings each book evoked. We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if we’re judging favorably, is it such a bad thing? Each spine, whether a beautifully illustrated softcover or a timeless, foil-stamped hardcover, spoke volumes.

One of the first questions we ask when speaking to an author getting ready to print their book is “What binding style would you like?” Often a client will have this answer at the ready; in other cases, the author has not considered this before. Don’t let this decision get you in a bind!

Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding between hardcover, softcover, or spiral binding.

Hardcover Books

Hardcover Book Binding

Pros of Hardcover Book Binding

  • Printed hardcovers (with a color image wrapped around the front and back) offer a high impact look.
  • Clothbound hardcovers with foil stamping have a classic look. Additional features like dust jackets and ribbon markers make it easy to imagine your book on a library shelf!
  • PUR adhesive binding makes these books extremely durable.
  • Hardcovers are long lasting and make great keepsakes.
  • Premium features such as custom foil or cloth colors, embossing, and custom endsheets will take your hardcover to the next level

Cons of Hardcover Book Binding

  • Hardcovers are more expensive than other binding styles.
  • Production time is 4-6 weeks.
  • Hardcover books dos not lay completely flat.

Softcover Books

Softcover Book Binding

Pros of Softcover Book Binding:

  • Softcovers are light and portable.
  • They are extremely cost-effective.
  • Shipping will be less expensive due to the soft cover and uncoated paper, which is more lightweight than coated paper.
  • There is a quick turnaround, most orders taking 5-10 business days in production.
  • Plenty of premium features are available, like 3D Spot UV, metallic printing, and embossing, help make your softcover book stand out.

Cons of Softcover Book Binding:

  • Coated paper stocks are incompatible with softcovers.
  • The perfect binding may not have the elegant feel of a hardcover book.
  • Softcover books do not lay completely flat.

Spiral Bound Books

Spiral Book Binding

Pros of Spiral Book Binding:

  • Opens completely flat or folds backwards.
  • Many different colors of spiral to personalize your book.
  • Wire-o binding is an inexpensive upgrade for a professional, polished look.
  • Several premium features, such as foldouts and inside cover printing, are available for spiral books!

Cons of Spiral Book Binding:

  • Page counts larger than 450 will not work with spiral binding.
  • Spiral books may not have the polished feel of a softcover book.
  • When shelved, the book title is not visible on the spine.

I recommend letting your book’s genre and intended audience guide you when deciding on a binding style. A cookbook or journal is perfect for spiral or wire-o binding. If your project is a family keepsake meant to be passed down to future generations, a clothbound hardcover will last for years and look fantastic on every bookshelf. And you can’t go wrong with a softcover for the majority of genres, from novels to coloring books to photography books. If you are hoping to reach a wide base of customers, softcover books are reasonably priced to produce and you will be able to pass those savings onto your readers.

Take some time to peruse your own bookshelves or favorite bookstore for books with similar genres to yours. You will get plenty of inspiration when choosing which binding option is best.

Jennifer and I are available by phone or email to discuss your project and use our knowledge and expertise to help you find the right fit for your book!

Community, Design, Local authors, Marketing, Self Publishing, Writing

Isabella Burckhardt: Making Connections with Paper Pigeon

I first began talking with Isabella about Paper Pigeon in the fall of 2020, and I immediately knew there would be a special book coming my way. Isabella did a lot of research and asked great questions about the printing process, so that by the time we started the order for Paper Pigeon, her files were in great shape. 

We just finished the second printing of Paper Pigeon and look forward to many more reprints. I was able to speak with Isabella recently about her story, and she shared her inspiration and experience in self-publishing her journal:

GP: What is the concept of your book?

IB: I created a prompted, collaborative journal called Paper Pigeon! It’s designed to be completed by pairs like best friends, couples, and family members, and helps them develop a deeper connection. The journal features over 200 different activities and questions for them to complete, either by sitting down together or by passing it back and forth. The idea for Paper Pigeon came from a journal I mailed back and forth with my long distance boyfriend when quarantine first began, so I also heavily advocate for the journal’s benefits with long distance pairs.

GP: What made you want to self-publish?

IB: Before choosing how to publish my project I did quite extensive research about the process of selling my work to a publisher. I learned that publishers often look for an author with previous experience or a strong platform that will improve the reach of their work. As a university student studying entrepreneurship, I have no formal education or background in writing and lack an audience from an established career. Therefore, I believed that although I had the drive and passion to create work that I’m proud of, I may have lacked the qualifications on paper to work with a publisher.

Additionally, self-publishing allowed me to bring my book to life in just 7 months, which is much quicker than the process of working with a publisher. Moreover, Gorham provided me with incredible support and resources. The attention and care I received working with the Gorham staff were completely unmatched and I feel certain that I would not have had such a positive experience elsewhere. Working with Gorham was also very rewarding because I’m able to support a local family-owned business with my publication, which is important to me. 

Finally, self-publishing my book has also given me more control over other aspects of my small business such as packaging, writing personalized thank you cards for every order, and building relationships directly with my customers.

GP: What program did you use to design your book? Did you come across any challenges with that program?

IB: I used the Adobe Suite to design my book, specifically Adobe InDesign. I had never used this program before, so I experienced a great learning curve as I familiarized myself with it. YouTube tutorials and forums on the Adobe website were crucial in helping me learn. 

My greatest challenge designing Paper Pigeon wasn’t with InDesign itself, but actually with choosing a font. I struggled finding a font style that looked clean yet handwritten to properly represent the qualities of my prompted journal. I spent about a month trying different fonts and font sizes, printing sample pages, and even polling friends and family, before finally choosing a typeface that I was happy with.

GP: I know you have been working on this project for quite a while. What did it feel like when you first saw your finished book?

I had spent so much time with my work just in a document format that finally unboxing it as a book felt surreal! Being able to hold the book and flip through its pages was such a rewarding moment for me. I still don’t think I’ve fully processed it, especially when I consider now that people around the world are using my journal to connect with the people they care about.

GP: Your first printing was in March of this year, and you are already doing a reprint. What kind of presale marketing did you do before you had the books in hand?

I began by reconnecting with the people that I had interviewed to inform its contents. I emailed anyone that I believed had contributed significantly to the development of Paper Pigeon to share the exciting news that it was finally published, to thank them again for their support, and to give them first access to purchasing a copy. Then, I shared the news with my extended family and friends on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They subsequently reposted my announcement to their own networks which helped raise additional awareness. That being said, a majority of my sales came from social media promotion after my book was published.

GP: How have you spread the word about your book since?

IB: I used an organic marketing strategy to advertise my book and never spent a single dollar on marketing expenses. Instead, I used Instagram and TikTok to post content about the value of Paper Pigeon and the prompts inside. Most social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook) require that a user follow you before seeing your content. Contrastingly, TikTok and Instagram recommend content to users based on an algorithm (think Amazon “recommended for you.”) This meant that I was able to get my content in front of hundreds of potential customers without having a large initial audience. I posted daily for about two months before selling out. Each post performs differently so the key is consistency. I ended up having two posts gain a lot of traction on TikTok, one received 18,000 views and the other 128,000 views. The popularity of these posts directly translated to sales and led to half my inventory being sold in just a week! 

My growth was also fueled by a partnership I arranged with a couple who has 11,000 followers on TikTok. They are college-aged and post content about being in a long-distance relationship, so they aligned strongly with my target audience. In exchange for a complimentary copy of Paper Pigeon, they posted a video using the journal which directly led to the sale of about 20% of my inventory. TikTok is home to large book and small business communities, so posting content that taps into these groups is a powerful tool for any self-published author! (Do some research on “Booktok” to learn more.)

GP: Do you have a future project in mind? Will it be another journal or something different?

IB: I have considered the potential of making additional prompted journals for pairs that have specific themes, for example Paper Pigeon for students, grandparents and their grandchildren, newlyweds, etc. I do hope that continued success will give me the opportunity to expand into some of these areas, but right now I am excited to continue growing my current edition of Paper Pigeon over the summer.

GP: What would you tell someone who is thinking about self-publishing a book?

IB: DO IT and don’t let a lack of formal experience in writing or literature stop you. Your drive and the passion you have for your concept are what truly matter. Being able to hold a physical and bound copy of your work is so rewarding and you will be happy you did it. Additionally, by printing with Gorham you couldn’t be in better hands.

GP: If you could send your book to anyone in the world, who would it be?

My dad often insists that I should send a copy of Paper Pigeon to Oprah, especially because her recommendations carry a great amount of weight. However, from a business perspective, I would love to get a copy of Paper Pigeon to an executive at Paper Source. The store is all about creative gifts, paper products, and journaling, which all strongly align with Paper Pigeon! 

For a more fun answer I would love to send my book to Emma Chamberlain. She’s definitely my generation’s trend setter and I think she and her boyfriend would love using Paper Pigeon to connect while she’s busy jet-setting around the world being a girl boss!

One of the best parts of working at Gorham Printing is seeing beautiful and innovative book projects, and Paper Pigeon is a great example of this. Isabella took her personal situation during quarantine and created something to help others. Being able to accompany her on the path to getting her books printed was truly enjoyable.

Whether you are writing your family history, publishing a novel, or creating a collaborative journal like Paper Pigeon, we are here to help bring your vision to life. Call me or Jennifer to discuss your ideas!

Find out more about Paper Pigeon:

  • Follow Paper Pigeon on Instagram and TikTok @paperpigeonjournals
  • Purchase a Paper Pigeon journal of your own at
  • Email Isabella at if you’d like to talk more about her experiences self-publishing or marketing her work.