Page Design 101

August 2003
by Pete Masterson and Anthony Thompson

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At its most basic, the publishing process entails three steps:

Write book.Print book.Sell book.

Our focus here is on an all-important set of activities between (1) and (2) that will affect (3) for good or for ill–namely, page design (size and arrangement) and typography.


Selecting a Size

Page design begins with choosing a reasonable size for the book. Look at other books in the same category. Unless you have a specific and significant reason to choose another size, stick with one that other books in the same genre use.

Some common sizes (with common names) are:

4 x 5 “Pocket Book” 4 x 9 “Rack Brochure” (This is also an excellent size for a small “tips” booklet since it will fit in a standard #10 envelope.)5-1/2 x 8-1/2 (or 5-3/8 x 8-3/8) “Digest” (Half Letter)6 x 9 “Standard Novel” 7 x 10 “Text Book” 8 x 8 “Juvenile”8-1/2 x 9-1/4 “Software Manual”8-3/8 x 10-7/8 “Standard Catalog”8-1/2 x 11 “Standard Letter” 9 x 12 &quotÐJusic Book” 11 x 11 “Sunday Insert”

“Digest” and “Standard Novel” are the sizes independent publishers use most often. These sizes are practical to produce on most printing presses with a reasonable level of efficiency. If you’re planning to use any trim size larger than “Standard Letter,” you should check on costs with your printer. Many short-run bo…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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