When you decide to publish a book, there are so many aspects to research and make a decision on, however, one that you might not have considered, is the orientation of the book. The orientation will heavily depend on what type of book you have and what the budget is for the book.
Portrait or landscape
A portrait book is when it is taller than it is wider, most books are this type and they are bound on the long edge of the pages. Look at your bookshelf, you will rarely find the alternative. Do you have any that are not this type? If you do, you might only have a select few books of this type.
A landscape book is simply the opposite of this, it is wider than it is longer, bound on the short edge of the pages, not many books have this orientation.
You can also go for an orientation that is inbetween, this is a perfectly square book. These are bound as though they are portrait. They can be suitable for a coffee table style, high quality book
There are several reasons why most people prefer to publish and portrait book instead of a landscape book.
The first is that they fit much easier on the bookshelves, match up with the rest and don’t require you to change the layout of your bookshelves. Although portrait books come in many different sizes and shapes, most will fit easily. Unless you have a large -scale specialised book, but these are rare.
The second major reason is the price. Books come in various different shapes and sizes, but the paper and material used for the cover don’t, there are technical reasons for this which we won’t put you to sleep with. Printing companies, print books on set paper sizes, with set grains, the choices for landscape books are more limited. When printing, they prefer to print several pages at once, from 2up, to 4up to 8up, when books are printed landscape, they don’t have this option. Printing less pages are once, increases the price, for you the author.
Also consider the size of the cover, landscape books have very large covers, these require a large machine to print and bind them and the cover material is more difficult to source. Since the printer has to print less pages at once, they also take longer to produce than a standard size book. The binding is also slightly trickier as there is less of a spine to work with and the machines have to be set up differently for it.
With all these drawbacks, why would anyone choose to have a landscape book?
The answer is, if the content of the book requires it and those that need it are generally image intensive books such as a photography book, art or children’s picture book. Many children’s picture books are in this size. Photography books can be portrait, but only if the images are not large, example of this would be sports history or a school year book. Photography books are better when they are landscape, as you can see the image better and how it is supposed to be seen.
If you do decide that you want to have a landscape book, make sure that you discuss your requirements with your printer or publisher at a very early stage. Find out what is possible and not possible and at what price. Every printer will price them differently and some will be more efficient at them than others. There will be some printers that won't be able to print and bind landscape books, or if they do, will be very limited by what size they can be.
If you have a standard manuscript, local history, poetry, novel, short stories, memoirs etc we advise to stay with the traditional portrait size books, it will fit on your bookshelves and be less expensive for you. Of course, the choice is yours, we may recommend different sizes and shapes for a book, but you make the final decision.
At selfpublishbooks, we have published a lot of landscape books, most of these have been photography books, printed on very special heavy paper. If you have a book like this in mind, we would be happy to help you with it. The best option would be to call to our factory in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork and see samples of our work and previous books of this type that we have produced.