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Book Printing Tips

Welcome to Book Printing Tips!
Book printing tips and the other related printing tips sites will allow you to maximize the power of your print communications whether they’re book printing, catalog printing, post card printing, brochure printing, flyer printing, and other print communication needs. Book printing is mankind’s century’s old vehicle for recording and conveying knowledge and information and along with book publishing make up two of the world’s largest and most important industries. The book printing format can also be used for other print communications such as annual report printing, directory printing, operating or service manual printing and training workbook printing. Book printing tips is the right place for help in designing books and obtaining short to medium run book printing services

About Short Run Books, Booklets, and Directories

How do we define a book? For purposes of this website on book printing tips, we have thought about it as the millions of paperback books in local libraries and sold at retail. These books contain one color (black) printed pages on the inside on an offset paper stock with cover printing ranging from one to full color.

Book Design and Printing Tips

Most books are designed with a finished size as follows:
 4 1/4 x 7 — Paperback size
 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 — Trade paperback size
 6 x 9 — Trade paperback size
 7 x 10 — Text book / Manual size
 8 1/2 x 11 — Manual / Workbook size

Books can be separated into components or sections – – cover and body. The cover is the sheet placed on the outside of the book. There is an old saying about the need to tell what’s in a book by its cover. With that in mind, a book’s front cover is perhaps the single most important page and the one that may cause some one to pick it up or pass it by. It is printed in colors ranging from one to four (or full color). Covers are frequently printed on a heavier weight paper called cover stock. Using cover weight stock results in greater durability and a heftier, more upscale feel. A cover frequently needs to be more durable than the inside pages (body), because of the more times it is handled.

The body or inside pages are printed on text weight offset stock in one color (black). Text offset paper is lighter than cover weight stock. For certain books it often makes economic sense to print what is called a self-cover book. This is where the cover and body are both printed on the same stock.

Book Binding Tips

Binding style is dependant on number of pages within the book and the look and feel you are trying to achieve. Many books under 80 pages are saddle stitched with staples in the middle holding it together. A more expensive and upscale binding style is perfect binding. Perfect binding is also used for thicker books most frequently for those over 80 pages. Perfect binding is the term for gluing the cover to the backbone of the body pages, like the paper back novels sold at retail.

Book Ordering Tips

Make sure you place your order with an experienced and knowledgeable commercial printer with a reputation for quality, reliability and one that is easy to do business with. As with many important purchases the least expensive is frequently not the best value. Your local area printers may be able to do your job but printers with websites can do even better job with benefits like low prices, instant price quotes and easy online ordering.

For book prices from the website of a quality printer with all of the above benefits and more, contact us. When seeking a quote or ordering your brochures be sure to have the following information available:

1. Quantity
2. Flat and finished sheet size
3. Paper type and weight
4. Number of ink colors
5. Finishing specifications
6. Proofing preference

Books Printing Tips

Commercial Printing Design Tips

Ask yourself the following questions as you prepare documents to promote your business to customers or communicate important information to others.

What is the Objective?

What do you want to communicate? What does the tone and look need to be? Do you want to project bold and powerful or subtle and understated?

Who is Your Audience?

Will the book go primarily to people who know what to expect in terms of content? Is there a different target from a buyer standpoint versus the ultimate reader of your book? Knowing just who will be buy and who will read the book will help you create and communicate the message, look and tone to achieve book publishing success . Ex.: A children’s book has a different audience and needs a different look and feel from a cook book.

Who Will Be the Designer?

Graphic design can be a challenge, so you may be using a professional designer or the in house design department of your printer. Or, you may be doing your own graphic design using desktop publishing technologies. If you’re not experienced in graphic design, here are some common design tips.

What Type Styles and Sizes Will Be Used?

Imaginative use of type can enhance every printed piece. Styles, sizes and weights chosen should be based on the objective of the document and the look and tone you want to convey. Boldface type is often used for headlines to attract the reader’s eye. Type for the body (sometimes called text) is usually a lighter and smaller face. The text should be set at least 10 point type for legibility. Do not use more than three styles of type on a page.

What Graphics Will Be Used And Where Will Copy Be Placed?

Photographs, illustrations, graphs, etc., attract attention and help convey messages that would require the proverbial “thousand words.” However, don’t make a page busy with too many graphics. Generous use of “white space” makes a page more appealing and readable. Copy and graphics should be considered in groups. Lay them out in an orderly way on the page. Don’t run the type across the width of the page. It’s best to break the page into smaller columns of type and intersperse photos and illustrations. When laying out facing pages, think of them as a single unit. Don’t run text across one page to another facing page but consider spreading the heading and art across both pages to create continuity.

Colors Tips

Choosing the right number and type of colors will have a significant affect on the impact of your print communications pieces. The tips in this section will help you to make color choices that will maximize the impact of your print communications.

Full Color Offset Printing

High quality, full color commercial printing is done on offset presses using a four- color build process called CMYK. CMYK stands for Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black. These four colors are used to create or build the multitude of color shades seen in a vibrant, full color printed piece. Your computer monitor is in RGB. Because of this different color model and the wide variation in monitor technologies and calibration, the colors will be similar, but not exact. If you print a sample on your ink jet or laser color printer, there may be instances of a substantial variation from the high quality produced from the offset lithographic presses. If you have you special colors that are not typical (for instance, a PMS color), see spot color below.

Spot Colors

Spot colors are used most frequently for one and two color jobs and when an exact color needs to be produced every time. Logos are perfect examples for spot colors. The Pantone PMS color matching system is most frequently used for selection and printing of spot colors. For example, if your logo needs a distinctive blue, tell your commercial printer your Pantone PMS color choice. This number will then be matched on the press to deliver the exact result you need.


RGB is a color build system used by your computer monitor to displays full color. CMYK is the color space that commercial printing presses uses to reproduce your printing project. RGB is Red, Green and Blue, while CMYK is Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black. The printed project that you design or see on the computer screen will not necessarily be the same exact colors that will be reproduced by a high quality offset printing press. In most instances there will not be a big difference, but there are some colors produced by RGB on a color computer monitor that cannot be reproduced via CMYK on press.

Color Printing

It is important to understand where to use full color and where not to use it. If you plan to design a cost-effective brochure, make sure your full color is on the cover, not just the back page. For example, a tri-folded brochure has its front cover on the backside of a sheet. To learn more about alternatives, take several already printed, tri-folded brochures and unfold and examine them closely. This process will allow you to get a feel for deign, folding and color options and interactions.

The paper selected can also have a significant impact on color reproduction. For full color printing, a coated, gloss paper is best to make your color photographs, images and graphics appear more vivid, real and appealing.

Finishing Options

Finishing is just as important as the printing in producing a high quality and functional print communication piece. If you need finishing options like folding, drilling or binding, this is the section for learning more about it. When designing a printed piece, finishing options must be addressed from the beginning.

For instance, let’s assume you plan to design an 81/2 x 11 brochure that will be tri-folded for a direct mail promotion. You need to plan your page layout so that the cover and the place for the mailing address are in the right place after the folding is completed. Scoring may be appropriate on heavier paper stock so that the paper and/or ink doesn’t crack when folding takes place. These and many other potential finishing options will affect the quality and impact of your print communication piece.


Creative folding can allow you to deliver a strong message for less cost. You can build a six-panel or six-page brochure from an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper through the use of a tri-fold or z-fold! Following are some of the more common folding options.

Folding Examples

1. Half Fold – Single fold providing 4 pages.
2. Tri Fold – Left and right flaps open to reveal a message inside.
3. Z Fold – The piece opens up like an accordion.


Scoring is done on printed pieces that use a heavier weight paper and/or heavy ink coverage throughout the piece. If scoring is not used cracking at the fold will happen. This can distract from the overall look and impact of the piece. Make sure if you are using a heavy paper such as cover stock or heavy ink coverage to ask for scoring.

Binding and Other Finishing Options

Drilling, binding, and much more can be done with your printed piece. Drilling is putting holes into your piece, perfect for calendars, sheets for a three-ring binder and more. Binding is most frequently used when you design a multi-page publication over four-pages. There are two primary binding options to choose from – – perfect binding or saddle stitching. Binding style is dependant on number of pages within the catalog and the look and feel you are trying to achieve. Most publications under 80 pages are saddle stitched with two staples in the middle holding it together.

A more expensive and upscale binding style is perfect binding. Perfect binding is also used for thicker books, most frequently for those over 80 pages. Perfect binding is the term for gluing the cover to the backbone of the body pages, like the paper back novels sold at retail. Manuals, soft cover books and many others printed pieces use this method. Other binding methods are available such as comb binding and wire (both plastic and metal) binding. These other binding options tend to be more expensive than perfect binding or saddle stitching solutions. We provide a wide range of services in brochure, booklet and book publishing. 


Your paper choice can make a significant difference in the look and feel of your print communication piece. The tips in this section will help you to make paper choices that will optimize the impact of your print communications in relation to cost.

Paper Stock

Commercial printing paper is divided into two broad categories – – Coated and Uncoated (sometimes referred to as offset stock). Within each of those categories are sub-categories by weight – – Text and Cover stock. Text stock is the lighter weight paper used most frequently for the inside or body of a book or catalog. It is less expensive than cover weight paper.

Cover stock is a heavier and more durable paper used for the outside cover of a book or catalog. The heavier the paper’s weight with a resulting greater thickness, the more upscale is the look and feel that will be achieved.

Coated Paper Stock Options

Gloss and Matte stock are both coated papers. Most brochures, flyers and others are printed on 80 # gloss text stock but 70# and 100# gloss text can be equally good choices depending on your needs. For an even greater upscale look and feel, you might choose 80# gloss cover stock.

Matte is a coated stock with a dull finish. It is often used to make pages easier to read that are text or type intensive. Accordingly, 80# matte text might be appropriate depending on your objectives and how the piece will be used.

Gloss stock is a coated paper with shinny or highly reflective finish. It is most often used in full color printing to have full color photographs, images and graphics appear more vivid, real and appealing.

Multi-Page Paper Stock Options

The body or text pages for books are usually printed one color on white offset stock. The most commonly used weights are 50# and 60# white offset text. You might want to consider 60# if you have heavy ink coverage for copy other than typed text such as many black and white photographs.

Several different choices are available for the cover of a book. For self-cover books (where the cover paper is the same as that used for the body) 50#, 60#, and 70# offset text are frequently used. For perfect bound books where a heavier offset stock is required (usually above 50 to 80 pages) or for saddle stitched books where a more durable offset stock is needed, 67# white vellum offset cover is a good choice.

For that upscale look or when using full color, you might use 80# or 100# gloss cover. There are numerous alternatives in paper and your commercial printer is your best choice when seeking additional information for an alternative that best fits your needs.

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