Books come in all shapes and sizes, but, in our experience, every book has its perfect size. For whatever book you are writing, be it fiction, poetry, history or memoir, it will have its perfect and optimal size. The challenge is to find it.
The B size, or 130 mm by 198 approx, is ideal for crime thrillers and romance novels. It is the perfect size for a holiday-read; portable enough to be carried in luggage, and popped out on the beach or on the plane. It is also a very good option for poetry collections. As poetry tends to have less text on the page, it often looks better printed on smaller pages. Poetry printed on bigger pages can leave large white spaces, and this doesn’t look good. Poets also like bringing their collections to open mics and public readings, and a book this size is easy to hold and read from.
The B size isn’t right for every type of book however. If your novel is on the long side, in excess of 120,000 words for example, a B sized book can be too bulky.
A5 and 6” x 9”
Both the A5 and the the 6” x 9” are longer and wider than the B, and therefore preferable for longer works of fiction, or poetry collections with longer poems. (The A5 is 148 mm x 210 mm, and the 6” x 9” 150 mm x 225 mm approx.) As the majority of fiction is printed in B or 6” x 9” (or some variation) A5 is an option for novelists and short story writers eager to stand out. For poetry collections with longer poems, the more spacious trim size is often preferred.
As the 6” x 9” is bigger and taller than the A5 or B, it can be more eye-catching on the book shelves and shop windows.
6” x 9” is also a good choice for history and serious non-fiction. The larger book size will mean readers will take you seriously. Books like this can also include lengthy appendices, such as references, and these are hard to read in smaller sized books. At Lettertec, we can print 6” x 9” in hardback for readers who want that extra bit of luxury and gravitas.
6” x 9” is the wrong size for some books however. If the book is very short for example, it will have a very thin spine if printed in 6” x 9” (because the book will have fewer pages overall). The spine is a very important part of a book, and one that is often overlooked. Books are usually displayed (in libraries and bookshops) with the spine facing outwards, meaning the spine is the first thing the customer sees. If the spine is too thin however, your title will have to be printed in very small font, and the customer will struggle to read it.
Having a beautifully designed cover and spine is so, so important. If you choose to use Lettertec, you have the option of working with our professional, in-house design team.
The B5 (176 mm x 250 mm) is a little bigger and grander than the 6” x 9”, and can make a big impression. It is a great option for history books, especially if you want to include photographs, as historical photos and illustrations look wonderful on the larger pages. It is also a good size for cookbooks, and for good reason. Cookbooks need to be big enough to fit all the recipe on one page. You don’t want your reader struggling the flick the page over while holding a wok and spatula. High-res images of recipes also look great in the larger, roomier size.
A4 and Square
The square size, 210 mm x 210 mm for example, is a popular choice for local history books and photography books. These books are often displayed on stands in book stores, and customers tend to flick through them before buying. These books are more expensive to produce, but the extra cost is worth it. If you expect people to buy your illustrated history of a town or your photography book as a gift, to send to relatives in Australia or the United States, then it has to capture the imagination. Luxuriously bound and produced books are more appropriate for this market.
A4 is a popular choice for books with numerous illustrations and photographs. When including illustrations or photographs, you need to choose a book format size that does your photographs justice (in terms of aspect ratio and whether they are landscape or vertical). Otherwise you pay a price in terms of quality and presentation. Similarly with illustrations; if your illustrations were intended for one page, and you opt for a smaller sized book, your printer may be forced to spread the illustration across two pages. This adversely affects them visually.
A4 is also a popular choice for children’s books, and for very good reason. Children’s books often have large font and big images, so both the child and the person reading to the child can see it. When it comes to children’s books, being able to hold the book at a distance while reading is also important. People often read to children while the child sits on their lap (for example) and therefore the book needs to be held a little bit away from the reader. Whether the book can be laid flat or not is also very important for all book sizes. Lettertec uses a bespoke method of book-production called lay-flat.
As you can see, books really do come in all shapes and sizes. They say variety is the spice of life; well, it is the spice of literature too. In our experience however, every book has a perfect and optimal size; the challenge is finding it. At Lettertec, we print and produce books in all the various sizes, so you will find the one that is right for you with us. You may also be interested in our recent blog, How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?