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Book Sizes: most popular sizes for independent authors

Which are the most commom book sizes in the publishing industry for each book genre? UK, Australia, USA and Canada.
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Many independent authors have doubts about the size of their books. They want to choose the ideal size for their publication. This article will help you to know the most commom sizes in the professional publishing industry for each book genre.

Choosing the size

Your book dimensions can follow some traditional book sizes in your country (see tables below) depending on the book genre. But there are other variables to take in consideration.

Two important variables are printing cost (which affects the final price of the book) and the page count. When the book has a high number of pages (400 to 500 pages, for example) it is often worthwhile to change to a larger format (e.g. from 129 x 198 mm to 148 x 210 mm) to reduce page count.

The opposite is also true. Some books do not reach the number of pages necessary for the reader to perceive its commercial value. A book of just 90 pages can become a thicker book in a 5″ x 8″ mm format than in 6″ x 9″.

Sometimes even the paper type and thickness become part of the “book format equation”. The printing shop of your choice or the designer of your book can help you a lot in this decision.

Tables

United Kindom and Australia

111 x 178 mm A Format Pocket: Classic Novels and Self-Help
129 x 198 mm B Format Fiction – short novels
138 x 216 mm Demy Fiction – novels
148 x 210 mm A5 Fiction – alternative format
156 x 234 mm Royal Non-fiction, Biographies, Novels (hard cover)
175 x 250 mm B5 Textbooks, Technical Books
240 x 300 mm Medium 4to Art Books, Illustrated books

United States and Canada

4.25″ x 7.00″ 108 x 178 mm Pocket
8.00″ x 8.00″ 203 x 203 mm Children Books
5″ x 8″ or 5.25″ x 8.25″ 127 x 203 mm or 133 mm x 209 mm Fiction and Novella (short novel)
5.50″ x 8.50″ 139 x 215 mm “Digest”: Novels, Memoir; Non-Fiction
6.00″ x 9.00″ 152 x 229 mm “US Trade”: Non Fiction, Novels (Hard Cover)
8.00″ x 10.00″ 203 x 254 mm Textbooks
9.50″ x 12.00″ 241 x 304 mm Art Books

Brazil (my homeland)

110 x 180 mm Pocket Book 2
140 x 210 mm Fiction
160 x 230 mm Non Fiction and Fiction
210 x 280 mm Non fiction and Art Books
245 x 300 mm Art Books
200 x 200 mm Children Books

Most Popular sizes

The sizes 5.25″ x 8.25″ (USA) and 138 x 216 mm (UK) are the most common sizes for fiction and 6.00″ x 9.00″ (USA) and 156 x 234 mm (UK) for non-fiction books. In the book genre I work with (personal and professional development books) more than 90% of the books are printed in one of these two formats.

Other sizes

The sizes 111 x 178 mm (UK) and 4.25″ x 7.00″ (USA) characterize a “pocket book”. The pocket book has its advantages, not only for carrying in pockets and small bags, but also for easy reading. It is possible to hold the book open with just one hand. The lower cost of printing is another advantage.

The choice for larger sizes like 175 x 250 mm (UK) or 8.00″ x 10.00″ (USA) has a lot to do with content. These are ideal formats for technical books with images: photos, graphics, diagrams, illustrations. In smaller formats, these images would be visually impaired. So they are used for textbooks, college books and so on.

240 x 300 mm (UK) and 9.50″ x 12.00″ (USA) are tradional sizes for text books about art in general: Fine Arts, Architecture, Design, Photography, Dance, Theater. This proportion between height and width presents the perfect space to gather text and images.

Finally, we have the square format 200 x 200 mm, a square format, widely used – but not exclusively – for children’s books.

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rubens Lima

Designer gráfico com mais de 20 anos de experiência na criação de livros para tradicionais editoras do mercado. Profissional com centenas de capas publicadas e, por três vezes jurado do Prêmio Jabuti. É também professor de Design Editorial e MBA em Book Publishing (Edição de Livros).

para autores

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