Choosing a Page Size & Formatting
How do I decide on a page size?
- When I envision my book in my head what size is it?
- What size books do I like? It may be helpful to measure some of the books on your shelf to get a sense of what you prefer.
- What size are other books that are like mine (in genre, content, length, etc.)?
- What size would best fit my content—physically and thematically?
For your book to print properly, the document size should match the trim size. This means that if you want your final book to be 6" x 9", then your book block PDF should be 6" x 9". To make your PDF 6" x 9", the original document created in whatever original program you used (MS Word, InDesign, Pages, etc.) must be 6" x 9".
Shrinking 8.5" x 11" documents down to various trim sizes is not a good solution—it often results in distorted or illegible type, awkward line spacing, or margins that are too thick or too thin.
While the most common paperback sizes are 6" x 9" or 5" x 8", you are not limited to any preset trim sizes. You can create a custom size for your book as you wish. Please contact us if you want to double check a custom size to ensure there are no issues from a printing or binding perspective.
Margins are the space between your text and the edge of the page. Margins are generally the same on three sides with a larger margin on the binding edge (or spine) of the book. For text to read comfortably and appear balanced on all sides, extra space is often given to the binding edge. We recommend at least 0.8" margin on all sides for common sizes such as 7” x 5”, 8” x 5”, 8.5” x 5.5” and 9” x 6”. For books closer to letter size (i.e., 8.5” x 11” or 8” x 10”), margins of up to 1" are common.
We all know about that lovely indentation that comes at the beginning of a paragraph. Bet you never thought that much about it. But when you change your page size, you will want to be sure to change your tab size as well. This will keep everything looking nice and proportional. Standard tabs are between .25" and .5".
In MS Word, the default tab size is .5", so there is a chance you may not need to
change anything at all. Regardless, it is a good idea to settle on a preferred tab size and apply the setting to your whole document. That way your tabs will remain consistent throughout the whole book.
Double spacing is not necessary in book design as it is simply too wide. On the other hand, single spacing is also discouraged since the text appears cramped and can become difficult to read over the course of many pages. Therefore, we suggest a happy medium—something between 1.15 and 1.5.