How to Format a Book for Printing


Formatting the internal pages of your book for printing

The idea of formatting your book for print is to make it look professional and make the content of the book easy to read.  You do not want to over complicate the formatting and make the content too distracting.


Do you know what format you want your book? If not, you will need to do some research at the library or your own bookshelf. Take measurements of the sizes you feel your book would look best at and take pictures and make notes of the inside pages. If you have a look in the preliminary pages of the books you like, you may be able to find out the font and the layout the designers have used.

Size of the Book

The size of the book you decide to go with is very important. You will want it to fit in with other books in your genre on bookshelves but also stand out a little. Remember the bigger the book the more expensive the printing will be.

Basic book sizes for printing;

Fiction: 4.25″ x 6.87″, 5″ x 8″, 5.25″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 6″ x 9″

Novella: 5″ x 8″

Children’s: 7.5″ x 7.5″, 7″ x 10″, 10″ x 8″

Textbooks: 6″ x 9″, 7″ x 10″, 8.5″ x 11″

Non-fiction: 5.5″ x 8.5″, 6″ x 9″, 7″ x 10″

Memoir: 5.25″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″

Photography: Whatever you see fit!


The margins are how far away the text is from the edge of the paper. On average the margins for a book are between 13 to 18mm depending on the type of book. You want to make sure you have a nice space around the content but not too much so you have large blank areas. The gutter of the book normally has slightly extra margins, about 5 to 8mm.


This can be down to personal preference but you do want to have a serif font around 11pt. Take a look at some of the books you like and look in the prelims to see if they have any details on the fonts and spacing the designers have used.

Common fonts for book printing;





Minion Pro



Every book should have set styles for the title page, chapter headings, main content, page number etc. You don’t want to decide to change the font and then have to go back over 350 pages changing the fonts individually.

You will want to have set styles for the following;








When your book is laid out and finished and you decide to change the font for the text or page numbers, you will only have to change the set style and it will change all the text under that particular style.

Preliminary pages

You will want to have at least a title page, copyright page, table of contents and a preface. If you are using Microsoft Word you will be able to make an automatic table of contents that you can update automatically.

Chapter Pages

You can be a bit creative with your chapter pages depending on the genre of your book. Experiment a little and see what looks good. But remember not to overdo it and make sure it is in line with the genre of your book. Also, remember chapter pages should always be on the right-hand page of your book.

Page numbering

Many designers use roman numerals for the preliminary pages or will leave them blank. Your book should always start on page one on the right-hand side page and will leave all blank pages throughout the book with no page numbers on.



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