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

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About Us, Book production, Pre Press

Getting Ready for Print-Ready PDF Orders

The components for a majority of the books we print come from a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. While some clients choose to take advantage of our professional design services, many design their own covers and interiors and generate their own PDFs, or hire a book designer to do it for them.

The majority of the interior files we see are generated in Microsoft Word and InDesign. We also see covers designed in Photoshop or Publisher. Here are some notes on getting ready to submit your print-ready PDF files to Gorham Printing.

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Our Prepress Technician, Catherine, will review your print-ready PDFs
  • You are ready to generate your print file when your editing is complete.
  • Once you’ve converted your interior native file to a PDF, check every page closely. Each page should look exactly how you want it to print. Same goes for your cover.
  • If you have one (and not all books must), make sure your ISBN appears on your copyright page, and that that page contains all information you’d like to include.
  • We are not a publisher or an imprint. We will not modify your PDF without your consent. File modification requests are subject to hourly prepress rates.
  • Review our print-ready requirements. Not all printers are the same, so even if your book was printed elsewhere you’ll want to verify that your PDFs are set to what we need
  • Familiarize yourself with our proofing procedures to avoid surprises and production delays.
  • When you’re ready to upload your files, the fastest way is with our secure File Upload Tool. This is a secure third-party server that can accommodate up to 10GB at a time. You can also mail us a CD or a flash drive.
Please note: We cannot accept files via email, dropbox, or other outside file sharing services due to security concerns, file size limitations, and possible processing delays.

We want your experience at Gorham Printing to be as pleasant and stress-free as possible. Keeping these tips in mind when you’re getting ready to submit a print-ready PDF order will help make that a reality.

About Us, Book production, Pre Press, Self Publishing

Color Management: Pro Tips from Our Printing Specialists

How to Get the Color You Want

Proofing is your friend! Adding a printed proof to your order is the sure-fire way to guarantee your color output is exactly what you want.

Making color adjustments in your file rather than adjusting color output on the printer is much safer in terms of consistent color management in future printings. If you receive a print proof and your colors did not print as expected, use the proof as a guide to adjust the colors in the program you’re treating your images in (Photoshop, for example).

Solid areas of non-textured color can be tricky for digital presses to print consistently. Unless a true solid is integral to your content, it is often beneficial to incorporate a slight texture to large areas of color.

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Our print tech, Jason, trimming daily color calibration output

RGB v CMYK

RGB is a color mode that uses red (R), green (G) and blue (B) light to create a spectrum of colors. Computer screens use RGB output to show color. CMYK is the acronym for the four-color printing process: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K). These are the four toners we use in our printers.

To achieve the richest color in your photographs and images, we recommend keeping the images in your print file in RGB. The print software will execute the conversion of RGB colors into CMYK colors as the printing occurs. Although output may not match the tones on your screen, it will result in a wider variation of color output and therefore a richer image.

If the content in your cover or interior involves a large, solid area of color (or grey), set up your files using CMYK. This will ensure stronger, more accurate color when printed.

Book Printing Cost, Book production, Pre Press, Self Publishing

Wonderful Color, Digital Style

Gorham Printing recently upgraded their color printers to newer, faster models for eye-popping color on interior pages of a book. Whether you have old family photos you want to keep in original sepia tones, or current digital camera images in bright techno-colors, Gorham Printing can give color images the treatment they deserve.

Some themes for color interiors include:

  • Art sketchbooks
  • Manuals with charts and graphs
  • Graphic novels
  • Cookbooks
  • Memoirs with photographs and documents
  • Children’s picture books

Digitally printed color-filled books, printed right here in western Washington, are an easy, affordable alternative to overseas printing — print up to 1000 books per order, with a minimum of 32 pages for a perfect bound book. Our standard stock is 60# white, but we also offer a more opaque 70# white and 80# white uncoated stock if you prefer a thicker stock.

Why a minimum of 32 pages?

A page count of 32 is a traditional standard for children’s picture books, for both early books with images on every page as well as for 7- to 11-year-old level titles, where images may be on every other page and include 500 to 1000 words of text. Additionally, our binding equipment requires the thickness of 32 pages to provide a quality trade paperback binding.

Do all pages have to be in color?

No! Our pricing is based on the exact number of color pages in your book. The sample charts on our website are calculated based all black and white or all color interior pages, but if you select “Prices” from the main menu then click “Calculate Price,” you can enter the exact specifications of your book, splitting out the number of black and white or color pages, and learn the price for your custom project instantly. Remember, page counts must be divisible by two.

Whether it’s a gift book of stories and photographs for friends and family, or a business book commercially sold, Gorham Printing makes a stunning, affordable color interior possible right here in the USA!