Choosing a Hardback or Paperback Book Size

Cork board highlighting 'Tip No. 598' The book printing tip is 'Choose the right size'

What are the main paperback and hardback book sizes to choose from?

Books come in many different shapes and sizes for paperback and hardback. It is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make for your project. Not only do you have to think about how your book will feel in your hand but also how the size of the book will affect the production costs.

This guide is designed to give you all the information you should ever need on the size of your book.

How are books measured?

Paperback and hardback books are measured by the size of their cover. First take the measurement of the height of the book in either mm or inches. You will then need to get the measurement of the width of the cover in either mm or inches. The spine size of the books width, how thick the book is. This measurement is almost always in mm for accuracy.

What is the trim size?

Trim size is a term that you will hear about quite often when you are printing your book. This refers to the size of the book when it is in its final form. It is the size that the book will be when it is trimmed. Trimming of the book happens after the binding process (when the bookblock has the cover attached). All the above sizes we have talked about refer to the trim size of the book.

What size should my paperback book be?

A regular paperback book can be any size that you want it. Most book printers will be able to accommodate sizes ranging from small A6 (105x74mm / 4.13×2.91 inches) pocketbooks to larger A4 landscape (297x210mm / 11.69×8.26 inches) books. The dimensions you decide to go for will depend on a variety of factors; look and feel, price, the genre of book, fiction or non-fiction and shipping costs. These factors will be covered in-depth in this page.

What size are trade paperback books?

Trade paperback books are normally the same size as their hardback equivalent but without the hard cardboard cover. They will have a thicker cover than a mass-market paperback book. A nice benefit of the trade paperback is having the nice, larger size book but without the bulk and weight of the hardback books. Trade paperback sizes are usually 5.5×8.5 inches – 229x152mm (9×6 inches) – 279x216mm (11×8.5 inches). Picture books for children tend to be in the range of 254x203mm (10×8 inches).

What is the standard size of a paperback book?

If you are producing a standard fiction book then you can be safe to set your book in one of the more common book sizes. Either B-Format (198x129mm – 7.8×5.07 inches) or A5 (210x148mm – 8.26×5.82 inches). There is no set standard paperback size for all books as the size differs with genre and market. 

What size should I design my hardback book?

If you are deciding on a size for your hardback and you have published a paperback version already then you should work from the paperback size. All hardback book sizes are based on their paperback equivalent. You can view the table below to see what sizes of book fit both types. Most hardback book sizes tend to be in the ‘trade’ or ‘mass-market’ size. Popular sizes for hardback books – 229x152mm (9×6 inches) – 279x216mm (11×8.5 inches). Having a larger size than those two sizes would normally be reserved for picture books.

Open hardback book, with pages spraying open

What is the standard fiction book size?

Fiction books come in all different shapes and sizes. It would be a shame if every fiction book on the market were at the same size. Mass market paperback books tend to be 171x108mm (6.75×4.25 inches). A popular reason for this size is to save on production and shipping costs. If you are not going to send out hundreds of thousands of your books then you could go for something a little bigger. B-format books are a popular size of books around the world. In the US B-format books tend to be classed as 198x129mm (7.79×5.07 inches) and in the UK and Europe 210x135mm (8.26×5.31 inches). 

What is the standard non-fiction book size?

Non-fiction book sizes are vastly different, more so than fiction books, then you have the hardback sizes to choose from. If you want to decide on a size for your non-fiction book, it would be best to go to local bookshops and have a look at some books which are in a similar genre. See what size they are and see what size will match your book. Some popular sizes non-fiction are A5 (210x148mm 8.26×5.82 inches), Royal (234x156mm 9.21×6.14 inches), B5 (250x175mm 9.84×6.88 inches) and A4 (297x210mm / 11.69×8.26 inches).

What is the standard children’s book size?

Children’s book sizes tend to be based on age. If you’re targeting younger readers up to 2 years then smaller books in the region of 190x190mm (7.5×7.5 inches) will be better. If your book is for more advanced readers in the age between 2 to 5 then the size of 178x25mmm (7×10 inches) and then for older reads from 5 years a size of 254x203mm (10×8 inches). Having a larger book can be better, you can have a more detailed image and more text on a page. 

What is the standard photo book sizes?

Photobook sizes tend to be in large hardback format. The size of the books is normally quite a bit larger than your regular fiction books. Photo books look lovely on size but you should try and aim for upwards of B5 (250x175mm 9.84×6.88 inches). Blurb tends to be one of the more popular printing companies for photo books and you can see their sizes by clicking here.

What is the standard portfolio book size?

Portfolio book sizes are similar to photo books but not quite as large as they are not necessarily all about photos. If you’re producing a modelling photo book then of course, the larger the book the better, around A4 landscape, should be an aim (297x210mm / 11.69×8.26 inches). However, a nice size for a portfolio book would be around the size of B5 (250x175mm 9.84×6.88 inches).

What is the standard pocketbook size?

Pocketbook sizes are as the name suggests something you can fit in your pocket. A good idea is to think A6 (105x74mm / 4.13×2.91 inches). Maybe even a little bit taller but still a similar width such as 229x137mm (9.01×5.39 inches). This size of book is a popular size in the UK for map books – like this.

What is the standard comic book sizes?

A standard comic book is 257x168mm (10.11×6.61 inches). This doesn’t mean your book has to fit this size though. Your comic book size can be even bigger than this – 381x254mm (15×10 inches) is on the larger size of comic books but with a graphic novel this can look amazing.

What are the most common book sizes?

As you have probably guessed by now, there is no common book size in the publishing and printing industry. Many books fall under many different categories. If you were to try and pick a few common book sizes it would have to be the following; B-format (198x129mm 7.79×5.07 inches) – A5 (210x148mm 8.26×5.82 inches) – Trade Paperback (229x152mm 9×6 inches) – Royal (234x156mm 9.21×6.14 inches) and A4 (297x210mm / 11.69×8.26 inches).

Main sizes of books in the UK and US

B-format Book Size – UK vs US

This is the most popular paperback book size around the world and seems to best suit the fiction style books such as poetry or novels. They are also a good choice for those who are looking for a book that is easy to carry around. Producing a book at this size means you will save a lot of money on production and shipping costs compared to the other larger sizes. They are accepted in almost every bookshop and every book distributor.

The UK B-Format size (210x135mm 8.26×5.31 inches) is a little larger than the US B-Format size (198x129mm 7.79×5.07 inches). However, these sizes of books for the UK and US are not set in stone. You will find many different publishing companies printing in different sizes and sending all over the world.

A5 Book Size

This is a book size which we are pretty sure most of you have come across or heard of. We produce many books within the A5/Demi size from novels to guidebooks, to children’s books. You can’t go wrong with books of this size, which is probably why they are a very popular choice within the book industry.

Demy Book Size

Books in the Demy size (216x138mm 8.5×5.43) are a little thinner and a little taller than A5 books. The Demy size books tend to be popular in the US for a variety of fiction and non-fiction titles. Demy is a popular size if you want a book that is larger than A5 (210x148mm 8.26×5.82 inches) but not quite a Royal size (234x156mm 9.21×6.14 inches) book and you are printing with Createspace, KDP, Lightning Source or any other Print on Demand printer as they all print these sizes.

Royal Book Size

Royal size (234x156mm 9.21×6.14 inches) books also sometimes referred to as ‘Trade Paperbacks’ suits the sort of customer that is looking for just a little bit of extra room. Royal size books are popular with general non-fiction books for example; memoirs, books on business, histories etc. Royal size books are the largest size that most digital printers can print affordably. Any larger than this then the books have to get printed on a larger sheet of paper. This means a book larger than Royal tends to be a little more expensive per copy.

B5 Book Size / Crown Quarto 

B5 size (250x175mm 9.84×6.88 inches) of book is popular with journal printing as well as non-fiction books. With having a slightly larger book, it allows for more flexibility with font, size, and layout without going to the full A4 size (297x210mm / 11.69×8.26 inches). You will not find many fiction books in this if any as it is too large. Production and shipping costs tend to be higher with this size of book. Having the extra room for more information makes this size book great for non-fiction journals that are produced regularly every quarter.

A4 Book Size

Books within the A4 category seem to best suit customers that are producing an art style book such as; Children and, however, they do also suit the text/reference books. Because of the extra space, you will have available it will allow you to show your work on a much larger scale. We think this is the reason why people tend to go for the A4 size. Books of this size range from 251mm x 177mm to 297mm x 210mm.

different book sizes

Createspace / KDP book sizes

Createspace offers many different sizes for you to choose from. They should have a size to match the requirements of your book as they cover everything from small pocketbooks to larger size books. Createspace / KDP may not be the best place to get a photo book printed as the larger sizes they offer can be a little restrictive.  

The following sizes are the main sizes Createspace / KDP offer

  • 5” x 8” (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
  • 5.06” x 7.81” (12.9 x 19.8 cm)
  • 5.25” x 8” (13.335 x 20.32 cm)
  • 5.5” x 8.5” (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
  • 6” x 9” (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
  • 6.14” x 9.21” (15.6 x 23.4 cm)
  • 6.69” x 9.61” (17 x 24.4 cm)
  • 7” x 10” (17.78 x 25.4 cm)
  • 7.44” x 9.69” (18.9 x 24.6 cm)
  • 7.5” x 9.25” (19.1 x 23.5 cm)
  • 8” x 10” (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
  • 8.5” x 11” (21.59 x 27.94 cm)

Blurb book sizes

Blurb offers a lot of book sizes but not quite the same amount as Creatspace. Blurb is more suited for people looking for short-run photo books. The books they produce are of good quality but don’t expect them to be able to print hundreds of books in a fiction size at short notice.

The following sizes has been taking directly from Blurbs website here.

TRADE 13 × 20 CM

  • Hardcover (Dust Jacket) 13.34 × 20.96 cm
  • Hardcover (ImageWrap) 13.34 × 20.96 cm
  • Softcover 12.70 × 20.32 cm

TRADE 15 × 23 CM

  • Hardcover (Dust Jacket) 15.88 × 23.50 cm
  • Hardcover (ImageWrap) 15.88 × 23.50 cm
  • Softcover 15.24 × 22.86 cm

TRADE 20 × 25 CM

  • Hardcover (ImageWrap)
    Not available for Economy B&W 20.96 × 26.04 cm
  • Softcover 20.32 × 25.40 cm

MINI SQUARE BOOK 13 × 13 CM – MOBILE ONLY

  • Softcover 12.70 × 12.70 cm

SMALL SQUARE 18 × 18 CM

  • Hardcover (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 17.78 × 17.78 cm
  • Softcover 17.15 × 16.83 cm

LEGACY STANDARD PORTRAIT BOOK 20 × 25 CM – CREATED BY BOOKIFY AND BOOKSMART

  • Hardcovers (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 20.32 × 25.40 cm
  • Softcover 19.69 × 22.86 cm

STANDARD PORTRAIT 20 × 25 CM

  • Hardcovers (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 20.96 × 26.04 cm
  • Softcover 20.32 × 25.40 cm

STANDARD LANDSCAPE 25 × 20 CM

  • Hardcovers (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 24.77 × 20.96 cm
  • Softcover 24.10 × 20.32 cm

LARGE LANDSCAPE 33 × 28 CM

  • Hardcovers (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 32.38 × 27.62 cm

LARGE SQUARE 30 × 30 CM

  • Hardcovers (Dust Jacket and ImageWrap) 30.48 × 30.48 cm

MAGAZINE 22 × 28 CM

  • Standard Magazine (gloss paper + matte cover) 21.59 x 27.94
  • Premium Magazine (matte paper + semi-gloss cover) 21.59 × 27.94

Shutterfly book size

Shutterfly is suited to photo book printing and offer sizes that are suited to those style of books. Large-format photo printing is a popular option for print-on-demand photo books. Shutterfly can print.

  • 7 x 9 inches – 178x229mm
  • 8 x 8 inches – 203x203mm
  • 8 x 11 inches – 203x279mm
  • 11 x 8 inches – 279mmx203mm
  • 10 x 10 inches – 254x254mm
  • 12 x 12 inches – 304x304mm
  • 11 x 14 inches – 279x355mm

What book size is best for me?

When thinking about what size to have your book there are a few different things you need to consider.

  • Fiction or Non-fiction
  • Genre
  • If your book has photographs
  • Production costs per copy
  • Shipping options for individual copies

When you have identified the above notes for your book you should be able to have an idea on what size will be best for you and your book.

You need to decide what is right for you. It is your book after all.

The following links will help you decide what book size to go for.

Standard book sizes
Look at the size of that thing
What size is a children’s book
Complete guide to book size covers

If you need some more help deciding on what hardback or paperback book size to go for, take a look at the images below. Also, we can send you out a sample of your chosen book size, just contact us

You may also want to have a look at our quote calculator which will give you an idea of pricing for certain book sizes.

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