What size should my book be?

rulerThe first thing that I am going to recommend is that you think about what type of book you have. Is it a novel, a self help book, a family history, etc. Once you have determined what kind of book you are dealing with, think about other books that you have seen in that genre. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Don’t be afraid to walk into a book store and spend an afternoon going through those books, and writing notes about those things. It is a lot easier to make decisions if you know what you like.

For book sizes, your most economical sizes often are between 5 x 8 and 6 x 9. They tend to give you a great bang for your buck in size. Those sizes are your most common bookshelf sizes, and when you compare the number of words per page that you get to the pricing, they tend to be the value sizes. Anything smaller will be less expensive, and anything larger will cost more. With digital printing, typically we will print 2 pages, back to back, multiple times up on a sheet. If you go larger than 6 x 9, you will get less on a sheet. With a size like 4 x 7, you will get more up on a sheet. Typical book sizes are 4 x 7, 5 x 7, 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9 and 8.5 x 11. If you want to get wider than 9.5”, you are going to have to, at that point, go from a normal digital or offset press up to a large format offset press. That will cause a price jump that can be quite noticeable.

Typically 4 x 7 is referred to as a pocket book. 5 x 8 through 6 x 9 are common novel sizes. Typically, most family histories that I see come through are 8.5 x 11. With that being said, there are no limitations to the size that you want your book based on usually’s or typically’s. Make your book the size that you like. It is, after all, your book. Of course, if you are going to try to market your book, try to stay realistic in sizes. People may not want to pay more money for your book just because it is a unique size.

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