Choosing a Book Format

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Getting Started


The first starting point in determining what book you want is determining your budget and then deciding on a format that suits it.

The most expensive and durable form of bookbinding that Copywell offers is hardcover binding. The most economical is softcover binding, and lowest cost is saddle stitched.

So what does it cost to bind a book? Well, it depends on the type of bindery you require. The chart below provides a quick comparison of unit costs for various bindery formats that Copywell offers.

Book Binding Cost Comparisons


To view the different types of books we can produce, check this page out.

  • Hardcover Perfect Bound: $$$$
  • Softcover Perfect Bound: $$$
  • Plastic Coil: $$$
  • Wire-O: $$$
  • Saddle Stitched: $$
  • Corner Stapled: $


Formulating a Page Count


What is a page count anyways? Each printed side of a sheet of paper is considered a page. As a general rule, each sheet of paper in a book holds 2 pages. This means that page counts must be an even number, and they are only the pages from the interior of the book (not the cover).

Here’s an example of how to determine the number of pages in your book:

If you want your book to have 100 pages that are printed double-sided, then the finished book will have 50 sheets of paper in the interior. When you go to request a quote,  you will enter 100 pages in the page count input field.


Note: saddle-stitched books and hardcover Smythe sewn books require page counts that are a multiple of at least 4, as these types of books are bound using signatures with 4 pages printed on each.


Depending on the bindery format you require, you will need to meet a minimum number of pages for your selected format. The minimum number of pages for a book is listed below in each bindery format that Copywell offers. For example, if you only have 12 pages, it will not be possible to bind as a hardcover. Hardcover has a 24 page minimum, therefore, you will need to increase the page count to 24 in order for Copywell to bind a hardcover book for you.


Minimum Page Counts for Each Bindery Format


  • Hardcover Perfect Bound: 24-28 pgs (depending on paper type)
  • Hardcover Smythe Sewn Bound: 32 pgs (interior page count should be a multiple of 16 or 8)
  • Softcover Perfect Bound: 24-28 pgs (depending on paper type)
  • Saddle Stitched: 8pgs (page count must be a multiple of 4)
  • Plastic Coil: approx 800 pgs, or up to 2″ spine height
  • Wire O: approx 800 pgs, or up to 2″ spine height


Deciding on a Trim Size


The trim size of your book refers to the dimensions of the book when it is cut for final packaging. Cutting the book to the final size is the last step in the production process, but one of the first steps in the design and planning process. The size you choose should be considered in conjunction with your page count, your target audience, and intended use. It’s also a great idea to do extensive research in your category or genre and learn what trim sizes are popular. Here’s an awesome article that breaks down trim sizes and helps you decide on one that’s right for you. Copywell is capable of producing many different trim sizes, the most popular ones are listed in our Quote Request Form. The list below provides some of the most common trim sizes that customers request from us.


Finished Book Trim Sizes


  • 4″ x 6″ (sometimes not possible in softcover or hardcover format, depends on page count)
  • 4.5″ x 6″
  • 5″ x 7″
  • 5.5″ x 8.5″
  • 6″ x 9″
  • 7″ x 10″
  • 8″ x 10″
  • 8.5″ x 11″ (US Letter)
  • 9″ x 11″
  • 9″ x 12″ (not always possible in softcover and hardcover, depends on page count and overall quantity)
  • 10″ x 10″ (not always possible in softcover and hardcover, depends on page count and overall quantity)
  • 11″ x 11″ (not always possible in softcover and hardcover, depends on page count and overall quantity)
  • 12″ x 12″  (not always possible in softcover and hardcover, depends on page count and overall quantity)
  • 11″ x 8.5″


Choosing Cover & Interior Papers


When you’re all set with a page count and trim size, you can move on to selecting your papers to use on the cover and interior. It’s best to follow our standard options because we have sourced the best paperboard for covers and premium coated and uncoated sheets for all book types.

Uncoated offset paper does not have a gloss or silk coating, instead, it has a raw unfinished appearance that is great for providing texture and a responsive feel. Our most popular papers are uncoated offset, in 50, 60 and 70 lb basis weights.

Coated paper has either a gloss or silk coating that gives it a reflective and attractive surface. These papers are more appealing to the eye with a luxurious and elegant feel. Most commonly used in books with high-resolution photography and art books like comics and yearbooks. Some of the papers Copywell offers to print your book with are listed below:


Book Paper Options


We offer a variety of paper options, below are some of the most common options:

  • 40 lb offset
  • 45 lb offset
  • 50 lb offset
  • 60 lb offset
  • 70 lb offset
  • 70 lb gloss or silk coated
  • 80 lb gloss or silk coated
  • 100 lb gloss or silk coated
  • 115 lb gloss or silk coated
  • up to 16 pt cover in offset, gloss or silk


Choosing a Cover Coating


Every high-quality book has a cover coating to protect it from use and wear. We always recommend a cover coating, especially with softcover books. Our cover coating options include laminates in finishes including, gloss, matte and soft touch.

You can choose your coating based on your intended audience and whatever your vision is. In some cases, we will require your book have a cover coating if there is heavy coverage artwork on covers or if it is a high page count and heavyweight book.

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