Things to think about when typesetting a paper book

In a previous post we mentioned how ebook layout might differ from the layout of printed books, but what should we think about when formatting a printed book?

  • Headers and footers. In a printed book you will probably want to include page numbering at the footer of the page, as well as having a header at the top of the page with your books name and the name of each chapter.
  • Margins are different. In an ebook you may not have any margin or very little margin all around a book’s text, as when viewing on a small screen you will not want a lot of empty space around the wording. However, in a printed book the margin and page size will be the fixed, so you might want to think about how far away from the edge of the page the text will appear. A bigger margin also means there will be fewer words on a page so more pages overall, which will then impact price.
  • Mirrored margins. The other major difference is that you will often find a printed book has its margins mirrored, so that pages will leave a bigger gap near to the spine of the book. For example, an odd page (which is on the right hand side of a printed book), will have a bigger margin to the left, where the spine sits. An even page (on the left) would have the bigger margin fall on the right hand side of the page.
  • Bleeds are needed in manuscripts. If using images in your printed book and the image runs to the edge of the page, you will need to add a bleed. For example, if your printer requires a 3mm bleed, you will need to add an extra 6mm to the height and width of the book to allow the extra 3mm on each side of the page.