How to Print a Book 5 Things You Need to Know

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Published 12:00am, 02/07/2019 by | Advice

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The Nitty Gritty: 5 Things You Need to Know About How to Print a Book

You’ve done it – you’ve written a book and you’re ready to get it into the hands of your readers. Now what? The process of getting your book printed may seem a little daunting, but rest assured that printing your own book has never been easier. Whether your book is for the world to see or is just for a special someone, we’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to turn your latest brainchild into a beautiful piece that you can surely show off. Now, let's show you how to print a book!

Before pressing “send” on your document to the printers, there are a number of factors to consider about the composition of your book. These are details that may seem small but deserve a bit of attention because they can have a big impact on how your book looks and feels.

1. The Paper

No matter what kind of book you’re looking to print, the first thing you need to consider is the type of paper to print your book on. You may not realize that there’s an entire range of paper types to choose from, and the type of book you’re printing will help determine what kind of paper you’ll use. For example, 80gsm uncoated is ideal for biographies and poetry books, while 300gsm is perfect for cookbooks and children’s books.

Two of the most common mistakes we see people make when choosing a paper stock are:

  1. Choosing the lowest gsm paper, assuming it will save money.
  2. Choosing the highest gsm paper, under the assumption that it is of higher quality.

For more information on paper types and to help find which kind is best for your book, visit our paper types page.

2. The Binding

As with your paper, the binding of your book will likely be determined by the type of book you’re printing. At Book Printing UK, we do both the printing and binding in-house and offer the four most popular binding types: perfect bound (paperback), hardback bound, booklet (staple bound), and coil bound. Because we have complete control over the binding process, we’re able to guarantee a professionally bound book every time.

The book binding types we offer are:

  1. Perfect Bound (paperback): the cover and pages are held together using a strong adhesive
  2. Hardback bound: the book is cased into a board casing with strong glue
  3. Booklet (Staple Bound): the paper is stapled and folded to create a staple bound document
  4. Coil bound: a plastic coil is wound through both covers and every page to bind the book together.

To learn more about the different types of binding we offer and to find out which one is right for you, see our binding types page.

3. The Spine

Give your book the backbone it deserves! The spine is a crucial part of any book; it has a substantial impact on the book’s durability, appearance, and overall feel. To determine the spine width for your book, refer to our simple, easy-to-use spine calculator. Just don't forget to add 2mm onto the calculation if you're printing a hardback.

4. The Size and Orientation

When it comes to books, size does matter! Choosing a size for your book might be kind of confusing, as there are a number of common book sizes that you can choose from. We offer printing for A4, A5, Royal, Slim Volume, A6, and Square sized books. To help you figure out the appropriate size for your book, we’ve made a free, downloadable paperback 'Size Matters' book chart. This is a fantastic reference tool to see how big you want to go, or how big your book is. Ditch the ruler and print this bad boy off for a quick and easy reference!

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but we’re not leaving any steps out! The two different kinds of orientation, also known as format, are landscape and portrait. To illustrate the difference, picture an A4 piece of paper with a height that is longer than its width. This format is called portrait. If you were to turn the paper so that its width is longer than its height, it would become landscape. Most books are printed in portrait format.

To make sure you’re setting up your documents correctly, check out our guide to file formats and layouts.

5. The Colour

We often get questions about whether or not to print in colour. Unfortunately, we can’t make that decision for you, but we can offer some advice. If your book is plain text, then stick with black and white, but if your book features images, you’ve got a couple of options to choose from. Keep in mind that printing in colour is more expensive than black and white (our instant quote calculator can illustrate that difference for you). However, if your book relies on images and illustrations, then colour is likely an important element of your book and printing in colour can make all the difference.

Colour inserts offer an interesting third option. Colour inserts are a few pages which are printed in colour and inserted as a block into the book. This is ideal if your book is mostly black and white, with only a few elements that require colour.

More on How to Print a Book

Writing and printing your own books can make for unique gifts, or be a great way to share your work. Whether you’re writing a novel, a children’s storybook, or recounting your memoirs, there are some fundamentals every future book printer needs to know. For a more in-depth guide on how to print a book, including information on cover design, fonts, and supplying files, take a look at our free, downloadable guide to book printing.

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