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What a Book Should Look Like

Books come in many different shapes, sizes and binding types. When first thinking about the sizing of your book, there are some key aspects you should consider, including marketability and manufacturing costs. If your book costs too much to make, it will raise your retail price far beyond competing books and it will lose it's marketability. Below are some key aspects you should consider before completing your book.

Cover Design
Your cover design is your invitation to the reader. It is the first thing that will attract someone to your book. People will unconsciously see your cover design before they even make note of your title. When having your cover designed, think about the feeling you want to convey to the reader and choose colors, fonts and photos that match the theme and feel of your book. 
Most people have an idea of something for their cover but need a professional graphic designer or illustrator to convert the idea into a cover design. Once the overall idea of your cover is created, you will need to start thinking about the back cover and spine. It's a good idea to put a synopsis of the book on the back cover because most people will turn a book over expecting to find a description of the book. Sometimes it is also appropriate to put a short author's bio if it is particularly relevant to the book. This is also a good place to put a few short testimonials. They don't have to be testimonials from famous people. You can ask your friends to read the book and then write a short testimonial. Extract a sentence or two that makes the book sound enticing to your reader. Your barcode will also need to go on the bottom of the back cover. The spine usually consists of the title of the book, the author and possibly a logo or design from the front cover. 

Cover Set up - The cover needs to set up in one pdf document (for perfect binding and case binding). The front should be on the right side, the back on the left and the spine in the middle. It should be the actual book size plus the bleed. The book cover needs a bleed of 1/8 inch all around the book cover. The Spine width depends on how many pages are in your book and the printing process being used. Please use the spine/cover size calculator below for your final sizing.

Interior Book Layout
Layout is one of the most important elements of a successful book. Your potential reader will likely glance through your book and if it seems difficult to read or concentrate on the ideas presented, she or he will likely move on to the next book.
Your layout can be unique for your book but there are certain industry standards that make for attractive books. It is always recommended to have a professional layout artist set up your book, but if you decide to go it alone, remember to add margins, a gutter (so that the text is not too close to the spine and unreadable), chapter starts on odd pages, headers, paginating, copyright page, table of contents and a contact page. A common font size is 11 to 12 pts (children's books can be larger). If your font size is less than 11, your book will be difficult for most people to read. If your font is 14pt or larger, it can make it look juvenile and also not hold the readers attention. Spacing between lines is generally single and a half. This seems to be the right spacing to keep your reader involved.
Below you will find some technical guidelines on how to set up your book professionally. When you submit your book to us to print, we will look it over and let you know if there are any problems or abnormalities in the way it will print. If you would like us to professionally layout your book, please click here for an instant online quote or contact us at 

Interior Set-up - pages need to be set to actual size in a PDF format. Gutter is usually about 3/10th of an inch - this is the minimum. Make sure chapters start on odd pages (right side of book). Page margins are your preference but usually the top margin is .9 inches, bottom .8, left and right .65.

Binding Type
When choosing a binding type, it is important to think about the type of book you are creating and the overall costs of book printing. Today most books are perfect bound because it is a very attractive binding and the cost is very economical. If you are wondering what a perfect bound binding is, just go to your local bookstore and you will see that 80% of the books are perfect bound (it is a paper back binding with a glue spine).
Many authors think about creating a hard back book because it looks more distinguished. There are times when hardback books are the best choice - text books, coffee table books or possibly children's books. The problem with hardback books is that they are much more costly to produce and the production cost to sale ratio is not as good as a paper back book. And, they don't sell any better. In fact, many people shy away from hardbacks and wait for the paper back version to come out in order to save money. Another option is to print paper back books and just a few hardbacks. It is nice to have your book in hardback lying on your coffee table.
If your book is under 20 pages, the best option is a saddle stitch book. If your book is a manual, workbook or journal type book, you might want to think about a spiral, comb or wire bound. I suggest you visit your local bookstore and look at all the different options. If you are not sure what binding you are looking at, just ask one of the bookstore employees.

Deciding on the size of your book
The most popular book sizes today are 5.5 by 8.5 and 6 by 9 inches. The only time 8.5 by 11 is used is in creating manuals, workbooks and some text books. Otherwise, this is not an attractive size for the reader. Most readers today like books they can easily fit in their purses, backpacks or briefcases. You can choose any size book to print, but if you pick a size that is between the conventional sizes of 5.25 by 8.25, 5.5 by 8.5, 6 by 9 and 8.5 by 11, you will pay for printing the next size up. In other words, if your book is a 7 by 7, you will be paying the same price as if you are printing a 8.5 by 11. Usually the most economical size is the 5.5 by 8.5.
When choosing your book size, it's important to take into account the total number of pages in your book. You don't want a book too thin or too think. If your book is written in a word document and is 8.5 by 11, it will likely double in pages when you size it down to a 5.5 by 8.5. So a one hundred page manuscript at an 8.5 by 11 will likely be 200 pages at a 5.5 by 8.5 size. Since there are many factors involved, this is a rough estimate. A 100 page book at 8.5 by 11 would look quite thin and unappealing but a 200 page book at a 5.5 by 8.5 size will likely make the reader feel that the book has substance.


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