Tag Archives: hardcovers

Book Trim Sizes: What Are Your Options?

book trim sizes

book trim sizes

When it comes to book trim sizes, there are a few standards: 5″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, and 6″ x 9″. These measurements relate to the width and height of your front and back covers in inches, as shown on the illustration to the right. This book has a 5″ x 8″ trim size.

Browse any bookstore, and you’ll see there are all kinds of different shapes and sizes of books to be found. Some of these books use a thick, glossy paper for their interior pages. Others use a thinner uncoated stock. In the traditional (trade) publishing world of corporate publishers with big budgets, they can afford to print large quantites of books on offset printing presses. This enables them to use any paper stock they want to use for their book covers and interiors. And if they want a uniquely-shaped book that stands out from the rest, they can pay to have special die cuts created to achieve that result.

As I discuss inside 3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors, today’s publishers (self-publishers) have more choices than we had when I started my publishing career 25 years ago. If you want to print 1,000+ books straightaway and pay the lowest possible cost per unit, you can still use offset printing. Alternatively, you can choose to print smaller quantities of books using two different digital printing solutions: print-on-demand (POD) and short run printing.

The Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand (POD) Printing

Online worldwide book distributors, such as Amazon and Ingram Content Group, utilize POD and short run digital technologies to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback/hardcover book in a large warehouse anywhere. Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their sites; and they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time, saving you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone goes to their site to buy ten copies of your book, then ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then they will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print on demand.” This is a definite pro, isn’t it?

Now here are the cons: digital printers can only handle certain paper sizes and weights. Because of that, you’re limited to the following book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours if you wish to sell your books online (which most of us do nowadays). The below specs come from Ingram Content Group’s Lightning Source® division.

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With B/W Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5 x 8 203 x 127 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.06 x 7.81 198 x 129 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
5.25 x 8 203 x 133 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
5.83 x 8.27 210 x 148 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
6 x 9 229 x 152 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
perfect (paperback) 18 – 1050 crème small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1050 crème small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1050 crème small
jacketed 18 – 1050 crème small
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white small
cloth – blue or grey 18 – 1200 white small
jacketed 18 – 1200 white small
6.69 x 9.61 244 x 170 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.44 x 9.69 246 x 189 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7.50 x 9.25 235 x 191 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white small
7 x 10 254 x 178 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 18 – 1200 white large
8 x 10 254 x 203 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.25 x 11 280 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.268 x 11.693 (A4) 297 x 210 perfect (paperback) 18 – 1200 white large
8.5 x 11
(A4)
280 x 216 perfect (paperback)
case laminate (hardcover)
18 – 1200
18 – 1200
white
white
large
large

Book Trim Sizes for POD Books With Colour Interiors

Trim Size Inches Trim Size mm Binding Types Available Page Range Paper Stock Priced as
5.5 x 8.5 216 x 140 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white small
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white small
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white small
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white small
jacketed 24 – 480 white small
6 x 9 229 x 152 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
6.14 x 9.21 234 x 156 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white medium
cloth – blue or grey 24 – 480 white medium
jacketed 24 – 480 white medium
7 X 10 254 X 178 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8 X 10 254 X 203 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large
8.5 x 8.5 216 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white medium
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white medium
8.5 x 11 280 x 216 saddle-stitch (paperback) 4 – 48 white large
perfect (paperback) 24 – 480 white large
case laminate (hardcover) 24 – 480 white large

Related reading: The Elements of a Professional Book Cover 

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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The Elements of a Professional Book Cover

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

There are many different types of book covers ranging from case laminate or dust-jacketed hard covers to perfect bound paperbacks to ebooks. Although they each have their own unique requirements in content and design, some basic components are common to most books. Using this author’s own paperback books as examples, you can see that a complete book cover is made up of at least the following three components: the back cover, the spine, and the front cover.

Back Cover

As shown in the upcoming visual aid, the back cover portion of your complete book cover begins on the left-hand side. The dimension of the back cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

• An author photo (optional)
• Back cover copy (marketing copy that summarizes the contents of the book in a compelling way)
• Room for the book’s barcode and ISBN on the lower right-hand corner
• Room for the publisher’s logo on the lower left-hand corner
• A short author biography (optional)

Spine

The spine portion of your complete book cover sits in between your back and front cover. Its height will match your chosen trim size (in the case of these examples 8.5 inches), while the width is determined by factors such as the final page count of your designed interior and chosen weight of paper. The spine also contains the following features:

• The book title at the top
• Author name (pseudonym) in the centre
• Room for the publisher’s logo

Front Cover

The front cover portion of your complete book cover sits on the right-hand side. The dimension of the front cover must match whatever trim size you’ve chosen your book to be (i.e., 5.5 x 8.5 inches as shown in the examples) with a minimum 1/4-inch bleed around the outside edges for trimming. It will also contain the following features:

• The book title (and subtitle, if applicable)
• Author name (pseudonym)

Artwork

Your cover artwork can wrap around the spine of your book and span the entire height and width of the complete cover (as shown in the first visual for the book titled 11:11, 978-0-9864869-4-4 on Amazon); it can appear on the front cover only (as shown in the second visual for the book titled A Letter to My Son, 978-0-9864869-0-6 on Amazon); or it can be more complex (as shown in the third visual, on the following page, for the book titled A Letter to My Daughter, 978-0-9864869-2-0 on Amazon).

All of these examples are correct. If going with the first example, make sure the artwork itself contains a minimum 1/4-inch bleed all around the edges, so the outside edges of the picture aren’t trimmed unnecessarily at the printer. If going with the third example, keep in mind that additional graphics require additional work for the designer, which will equate to additional upfront costs for the self-publishing author.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.