Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Size: How It Affects ….Everything

by Phillip Crum

It’s very important that you, as a self-publishing author, educate yourself about the details of having your book printed including choosing the proper size. Some printers will print and trim your book to almost any size but most stick to three or four common sizes. These are 5” by 8,” 5.5” by 8.5,’” 9” by 6” and the “standard page” size of 8.5” by 11.” The largest size is usually reserved for books with a lot of photos, music books that contain sheet music, or workbooks and education materials.

In order to include the title of your book on the spine, the final page count must be at least 120 pages. When self-publishing, don’t forget this important rule! Even at 120 pages, you’ll probably be limited to using a 6- or 8-point font on the spine—probably not large enough for the title of your book to be read across the room. And a book this size will look a little anemic compared to other books on the shelf.

Perhaps the most important factor in book publishing (especially self-publishing) is the appearance of the final product. A book of 200 pages is substantial enough in size to include the title on the spine and to measure up, side by side, with other books. If you have a low page count, choose the smallest dimensions you are comfortable with. A difference in one-half of an inch in page size roughly equals ten pages. In other words, reducing the size of your book (either vertically or horizontally) by a half-an-inch, will add about ten pages to your total page count.

Are books with more pages more expensive to print? Not necessarily. As a self-publishing author, you have to keep a close eye on how your money is spent. There are many factors that contribute to the printing costs of a book. For example, how they are bound, if they include color, the type of paper used and the number of books ordered. All things remaining the same, more pages means more money. But as an author, you should never compromise your book to save printing costs. In other words, write the book you want to write—don’t “leave things out” just to reduce printing costs. If you are self-publishing, there are other ways to save on printing costs.

A book’s size is a factor in it’s sales numbers. As mentioned above, larger-sized books are usually photo galleries, work books or books containing sheet music (e.g., a music book has to be large enough to be read when placed on a music stand). If your book is mostly text, a smaller size is recommended. Self-published business books and self-help titles can benefit from a smaller size as they are often carted around in backpacks, luggage, and carry-ons. Think about who will be buying your book and how they will be using it. Make it as easy as possible to get the most out of your self-published title.

Shipping prices tend to vary by carrier so make sure you compare prices and stay up with the latest fee increases. As a self-published author, it may be wise to choose a printer who will ship your books for you so you can concentrate on promoting your book.

Phillip Crum is the Chief Idea Officer of MarketingMeasure located at 2414 Arbuckle Court Dallas, TX 75229, and is committed to the idea of helping small business owners do a better job of finding their next customer or client. He and his two sons,Tyler and Preston, also own a Sir Speedy Printing franchise and employ those additional capabilities in the overall marketing services menu of offerings. Phillip can be reached at 214-213-7445, or

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