types of paper stock
Book Printing Cost, Book production, Cost, Design, Self Publishing

How to Choose the Best Paper Stock for Your Book’s Interior

What paper should I use for the interior of my book?

With the amount of time it takes to write, edit and perfect a book, it’s easy to understand why paper stock is a commonly overlooked aspect of book making. In addition to pricing, paper stock plays an important role in how a reader approaches your book.

The best way to understand paper stock is to divide it into categories. In this blog, we’ll be looking at the paper stocks commonly used by industry book printers for interior pages.

interior-paper-stock-book-printing

Coated Paper vs. Uncoated Paper

One of the first choices authors are faced with when choosing a paper stock is coated versus uncoated. As the name suggests, coated paper is paper that has been coated with a mixture of materials or a polymer. With toner-based printers, the image quality of coated and uncoated paper is virtually the same.

Depending on the type of coating, coated paper can take on a number of textures and finishes but in most cases will have a less porous, waxier surface than standard, uncoated paper. Common finishes include:

  • Dull: Also known silk, dull coating is a non-reflective finish that gives your pages a softer look and feel.
  • Glossy: This reflective coating can add a level of pop to images in color, making it a great option for art or photography books.

However, coated paper also has its drawbacks. Coated paper does not adhere well to the standard adhesive used in softcover book binding. A somewhat more expensive PUR adhesive option must be used. The weight of the book can also become a factor. Typically, using a coated sheet will add about 30% to the overall weight of the book making it more expensive to ship as well as slightly more awkward in the reader’s hands  Additionally, coated paper’s somewhat reflective surface makes it both difficult to write on and hard to read in harsh lighting due to glare.

Uncoated paper, on the other hand, is the popular choice for softcovers (paperbacks) and most text-based books, such as novels, textbooks and journals. This option imparts a more traditional look and feel to your pages. Uncoated paper typically offers a wide range of textures and colors to choose from and is the best option if you intend readers to write or make notes in your book.

White Paper vs. Natural Paper

Many people assume that paper is naturally white; however, this is not the case. The wood pulp commonly used to make paper undergoes a bleaching process, which determines the color and brightness of the paper. Brightness refers to amount of incident light reflected from paper under normal lighting conditions.

Most printers will offer both white and natural uncoated paper options. Also known as “warm white,” natural paper is a minimally bleached paper type that appears cream in color. This is a great choice for authors wanting to convey a softer or historical feeling with their books.

Alternatively, the color of white paper can be compared to that of the copy paper used by most home printers. This paper color provides the most contrast for black/white text, making it a popular color choice for most books today.

types of paper stock

Choosing Your Paper Weight

For the purposes of book printing, uncoated paper is typically offered in weights between 50lb and 80lb. For reference, 50lb uncoated paper can be compared to the weight of standard 20lb bond copy paper used at home. Deciding the best paper weight for your book depends on a number of factors:

  • 50lb Uncoated: At the lowest weight, 50lb uncoated paper is the best option for conserving spine width and thickness. This weight is commonly used in textbooks, manuals or books with ~600+ pages.
  • 60lb Uncoated: This weight is the most popular paper stock choice and often considered the “sweet spot” for most books. 60lb paper is strong enough to protect your book and flexible enough to be held comfortably for long periods at a time.
  • 70lb Uncoated: Being slightly more opaque than traditional stock, 70lb paper helps prevent your book’s content from being seen through your pages. This is especially useful for books with a lot of color images.
  • 80lb Uncoated: Typically the thickest option available, this sturdy weight paper should be considered for image-heavy books with low page counts, such as photography and art books. However, books using this weight will be slightly stiffer and more difficult to hold open.

Coated paper is usually offered in 80lb or 100lb options. As with uncoated paper, the best choice is determined by the intended purpose of the book. Lower weights offer higher flexibility and reduced thickness. Higher weights increase both your pages’ opacity and durability.

Other Considerations

In addition to the above qualities, you may also want to consider:

  • Sourcing: More and more book authors are looking for printers that use responsibly sourced paper. Consider choosing a paper stock that is either Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified, or Rainforest Alliance Certified.
  • Acid-free: In the past, the acidic qualities of the wood pulp used to make paper caused pages to naturally yellow and deteriorate over time. Today’s paper is in most cases acid-free due to a shift in the fillers used in the paper making process. Average paper grade has a life expectancy of 500 years. Higher grades of acid-free paper, sometimes known as archival quality paper, have a life expectancy of 1000 years. Paper at this level will often be made from acid-free cotton pulp.

Knowing more about paper types allows authors to be creative with their choices. Take a few minutes to explore the custom options available in our quote generator to see styles and pricing for your next book.

Contact us to request a free paper sample booklet

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ebook conversion service
Additional Services, Cost, Design, Page Layout, Reading, Self Publishing

Understanding the Difference Between eBooks vs. PDFs

Ever since their rise to popularity in the early 2010s, eBooks have dramatically changed the way we read, share and enjoy our favorite books. In 2018, e-book sales accounted for roughly a quarter of global book sales, further cementing their place in the growing market of readers.

While printed book sales continue to rise in 2018 and beyond, eBooks still play an important role in the marketing strategies of many self-published and indie authors. eBooks represent a nearly unlimited resource for authors, requiring no investment beyond the initial conversion cost. In other words, your eBook sales will always perfectly match your demand.

ebook conversion service

But what is an eBook, and what makes it different than a PDF?

A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a common file type that can be easily downloaded, shared and read across a wide range of computers and monitors. Most documents can be converted into PDFs using standard text editing programs, such as Word or InDesign.

However, PDFs lack many of the quality-of-life features of your standard eBook file. The two most common file types for eBooks are Mobi and ePub. Mobi files are required by Kindle and Amazon devices. ePub files are accepted by most other online booksellers, including Google Play and Barnes & Noble.

Both Mobi and ePub files are specifically designed to be read on an e-reader or tablet. As such, they’re equipped with some convenient features, including:

1. Linking

eBook files are an HTML-based format, meaning they may contain links within the text. This allows readers to quickly navigate between sections of the book, from the index to relevant pages, or out to separate websites. This is especially handy for textbooks and guides, which may contain reference notes.

2. Reflowable Text

eBooks text will “reflow” depending on the viewing window. This allows eBooks to be conveniently read on multiple devices and sizes, including tablets, phones and computers.

3. Pagination

With reflowable text, the total page count of your book will increase or decrease depending on the window size of your device. Publishers handle this differently; some embed pages to match the print or PDF version, and some leave them out entirely. As such, some eBooks will not display a page number and will instead allow users to jump directly to chapters using the Table of Contents.

In some instances, however, you will not want your page count to change, as in the case of some academic books with chapter or section citations. In these cases, PDFs are often the preferred format as they will lock in your total page count.

online ebook conversion

4. Accessibility

For impaired readers, eBooks give users the ability to modify the appearance of the content on their device, making them much more accessible than a PDF. Features, such as font style and font size, can be easily modified on the fly to meet the reader’s needs.

5. Zoom In/Out

Unlike PDFs, eBook files do not have a zoom in/out tool. Instead, users can customize the font size of their books using their device, and the text will automatically reflow to fill their screen.

6. Advanced Features

In addition to the above features, eBooks can incorporate many advance features, including:

  • Video — embed a video that your reader can watch.
  • Audio — enhance your message by including audio recordings in your content
  • Gallery — your readers can swipe through an entire collection of images with captions instead of navigating through pages to find them.
  • Read-aloud — make certain words, sentences, or paragraphs of an ebook read aloud to the reader. This can be useful when reading to children.
  • Multi-column Layout — add visual appeal to your content with multiple columns.
  • Pop-over — this feature enables the readers to access another window that contains additional information, data, or another image to give more context about the selected image with just a tap.
  • Scrolling Sidebar — insert relevant information and topics into a scrolling sidebar so readers can view additional or explanatory material without ever leaving the page.
  • Interactive Image — incorporate callouts and pan-and-zoom features to your images.
  • Reviews — let the readers review their knowledge using different types of tests such as multiple choice, select correct image, label the image, or a mix of all three. Authors can include up to six possible answers to each question.
  • 3D Images — instead of just seeing flat images on your ebook, your readers can interact with 3D objects by touch.
  • Keynote Presentations — browse presentations with custom animations right inside your ebook. This feature includes controls for slide navigation as well as optional auto-play presentations.

how to make an ebook

What’s the difference between a “classic” and “fixed-layout” eBook?

A classic ePub or Mobi file has flowable text so it can be read on any device using the reader’s preference for font size and styles. There are no official pages because the  text flows into each device differently, much like a web page. With this kind of eBook, the reader has more control over the reader experience. The classic-layout is less expensive than the fixed layout because less attention is paid to the look of the pages.

A classic ebook layout is ideal if:

  • Your book is mostly text (such as a novel)
  • Your book uses only small images that are embedded between paragraphs

A fixed-layout ebook does not reflow

because each page is locked in place, much like in the pages of a printed book. This type of eBook is ideal when pages rely heavily on images or formatting, such as with children’s books, cookbooks or books with detailed layouts. The reader has less control over his/her reading experience other than the ability to zoom in/out. Fixed-layout eBooks are more expensive than classic eBooks because they require extra attention during the conversion process to maintain the design.

A fixed-layout eBook is ideal if:

  • You want to preserve the look of your pages
  • You want your book to have a horizontal orientation
  • You want multi-column text pages

Learn more about our eBook conversion service to find out how to get an eBook copy of your book.

How to pick a book size
Book Printing Cost, Book production, Cost, Design, Page Layout, Pre Press

How to Pick a Book Size for Your Genre

Printing a book takes a lot of decisions. What will your cover look like? What font will your book be printed in? How will your characters escape their fate?

how-to-pick-a-book-size

There is one question, however, that authors often forget to ask themselves until their book is ready to go into production: what SIZE will my book be?

Trim size affects not only the price of your book but also how your readers will perceive and handle your book. Your readers will have a preconceived notion of what kind of book they are about to read based on the page count and size.

What book sizes are best suited for my genre?

While book size is largely a matter of preference, below are some of the most common genre and book size pairings.

5_5x8_55.5 x 8.5” – Pocketbooks, Travel books, Novellas

If you intend your reader to travel with your book, 5.5 x 8.5” is a convenient size for readers to fit in a purse or briefcase. This is also a great size for books with shorter word counts, as it will increase your overall page count.

Genres that work great as 5.5 x 8.5” include business guides, thrillers/mysteries, self-help books and instruction guides.

6x96 x 9” – Paperbacks, Novels, Anthologies

6 x 9” is one of the most traditional and well recognized trim sizes. This is your “standard” book size, great for paperbacks and softcover novels. It is also one of our most popular sizes, chosen by many first-time and independently published authors.

It would be hard to find a genre that doesn’t work well as a 6 x 9”. Popular choices include sci-fi, memoir, spiritual and both general fiction and non-fiction.

8_5x118.5 x 11” – Workbooks, Textbooks, Histories

If you have a book with a lot of content, 8.5 x 11” is a great size choice to reduce your page count. It also gives your pages a lot of room to show off charts, tables and photographs. Most document editors are also set up for 8.5 x 11”, making this a convenient size when preparing your files for print.

Popular genres for 8.5 x 11” include school textbooks, ancestry books, family history books and picture books.

11x8_511 x 8.5” – Art books, Photo journals, Children’s books.

If you’re looking for a size that will help your book stand out, consider a landscape trim size. Landscape books are often intended to be put on display, such as coffee-table books. This size also works really well for books with multiple columns.

11 x 8.5” is a great choice for books that want to showcase their artwork, including children’s books, photography books and artist portfolios.

How do these trim sizes affect my final cost?

Paper is commonly bought as what is known as a parent size. Two common parent sizes are 25 x 38” and 23 x 35”.

For example, if your book is 5.5 x 8.5”, it would likely be printed on stock that started as 23 x 35”. If the book is 6 x 9”, it was likely instead printed from a 25 x 38” parent size. These sizes give you the best cut out with the least amount of waste to still allow for finish trimming.

So what if your desired size is 6 x 8.5”? This would then mean your book would be printed from the 25 x 38” parent size, creating the possibility for additional charges for a non-standard size. This might not be the case if your book is printed on different equipment or if the bindery is able to adjust to a non-standard size without time loss.

Check with your book printer before you do the final page layout to find the most cost-effective approach for your book.

Check out these other helpful self-publishing guides for how to pick the size of your book:

BookCover Cafe

The Book Designer

Book production, Cost, Links, Local authors, Marketing, Self Publishing, Social Media

Need to pay for your book project? Try crowdfunding!

We’ve seen many authors and artists come through our shop who have used a crowdfunding website to fund the cost of publishing their books. What is a crowdfunding website? It’s a website that exists as a platform to help people who have an idea, but need dollars to make the idea a reality. In our line of work, that idea is a book.

Listing your project on a crowdfunding website is also a great way to test the market’s interest in your book before it’s published. It will help you start thinking about the niche your book will fill. If you can successfully generate buzz for the concept of your book on a crowdfunding platform, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy some traction with your marketing efforts once the book is published.

The most commonly-used crowdfunding website is Kickstarter. Here is a link to their handbook to get you started, and a few tips to help along the way:

  • Backing others helps you learn the ropes and get a feel for the Kickstarter community.
  • Set up your payment options in advance so you are ready to accept funds on day one.
  • Be clear on discounts and perks – and get creative!
  • Aim high when setting your dollar amount, but not so high you can’t meet your goal and cash in.
  • Tell the story of your book, and consider making a video.
  • Answer all backer questions. They are supporting your efforts!
  • Use a simple analytics tracker to learn more about your readers.

Time to get inspired! Here are a few authors we know used Kickstarter to fund their book projects, then hired us to print them.

Bard_Hey Baby

 

Breena Bard, a Portland, Oregon-based cartoonist and graphic novelist released “Hey Baby,” a 6.5×8.5″ softcover, in summer 2016.

Breena’s Kickstarter

http://www.breenabard.com/

 

 

 

front-spine-back-covers-under_covers-outlined.eps

 

 

 

Margaret Davis, another Portland-based writer and book artist, funded “China Under the Covers” this past winter.

Margaret’s Kickstarter

http://chinaunderthecovers.com/

 

 

 

 

Adobe Photoshop PDF

 

 

Olympia-based fungi enthusiast Ellen King Rice funded her novel “The Evo Angel” in 2015 for publication in spring 2016.

Ellen’s Kickstarter

https://www.ellenkingrice.com/

 

 

 

 

Back in 2014, Peter Donahue funded a beautiful full-color, full-size landscape hardcover book complete with custom-printed end sheets and a matte-laminated dust jacket for the first volume of his popular “Rudek and the Bear” comic collection. As one of his Kickstarter pledge prizes, Peter drew any supporter who pledged $35 or more into the style of his characters and added it as a spread in the beginning of his book.

RUDEK AND THE BEAR VOL 1.indd

Peter’s Kickstarter

Peter’s ongoing web comic: http://zuzelandthefox.com/

Test the waters for your book project! Try crowdfunding!