When it comes to paper types, it really will seem that the options are endless. The first decision that you need to make is whether or not you want white or natural. There are a lot of shades of white and natural out there, so be prepared.
Your next decision will be whether having a recycled stock matters to you. Many stocks contain a percentage of post consumer waste, so don’t be afraid to ask about the papers that your printer has. I will warn you though, 100% recycled stocks tend to have visible fibers in them, and they also will run you a higher bill at the end of the day. Now, to enlarge the topic even further, there is also the option of using FSC certified stock in your book.
FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. They work with companies that promote responsible forestry, and anyone who works with them must adhere to certain standards in order to maintain their certification as a partner of FSC. The FSC actually does yearly audits to ensure that their standards are actually being upheld as well.
If you use all FSC stocks, you can have one of the FSC logos on your back cover, as well as on your copyright page, if you would like. Many people choose to do this in an effort to show that their book was created in an ecologically conscious manner. If you do want to go the FSC route, you will need to find a FSC Certified printer, and you will need to discuss this with your representative right away. It does limit your paper choices.
So now you know, what color of paper do I want, and do I want an Eco stock. From there, you can move forward. Ask your rep for their opinion. Tell them what things matter to you, and what attributes you are looking for. If you want a really opaque stock, they can help you to find it. If, at the end of the day, all that you want is a white stock, and you don’t really care otherwise, ask them for a sample of their white floor stock. If you like it, this will likely be your most cost effective choice.
If you have a very specific want or need for paper, find a sample of what it is that you are looking for, like in a book with that stock, and show it to your rep. It is best going to help them to find the best paper to meet your needs.
With that being said, if you have a really unique stock that you are loving, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket with it. Unfortunately, really unique stocks either have to be ordered from the mills in huge quantities of paper, or they don’t bind well. If you are after something unique, try to be open minded, and have a few different options in mind.
I personally really enjoy 50# or 60# interior stocks and a weight of about 10pt or 12pt for the cover. If they are going to be printing inside of their cover, I recommend a 100# Matte Cover stock to my clients.
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