Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Knowing these “industry standards” can prevent a new author from making a costly or embarrassing mistake.
By Michael Heath / selfpublishingUS.com
Trim size refers to the width and height of the pages inside a book as they are “trimmed” before going into the binding process. There are certain conventions within the publishing industry that self-publishers should be made aware of. Knowing these “industry standards” can prevent a new author from making a costly or embarrassing mistake.
There a few reasons why an author would want to choose a correct trim size. Printing presses are set up to print certain sizes and using odd size may allow the printer to charge an extra fee to adjust the machinery. An unconventional size may also prevent a printer to use paper sheets efficiently causing waste that the author would have to pay for. Then there are brick & mortar stores that have shelves with measured depths designed for certain books. If you go into a bookstore to show an owner your latest work you want to present something he or she understands, not something unusual. Having a book printed in an industry-recognized size can make the difference between looking like a pro or appearing as an amateur.
Some General Rules for Trim Sizes
• Fiction: 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9
• Non-fiction: 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9, 7 x 10
• Novella or children’s chapter book: 5 x 8
• Textbook, Study guide or Tech manual: 6 x 9, 7 x 10, 8.5 x 11
• Children’s picture book: 8 x 8, 10 x 8, 8 x 10 and sometimes 8 x 11.5 or 9 x 12
• Photography or art book: sizes vary
Other factors influencing a decision on trim size are word count or genre. It is sometimes a good idea to consult with someone with book printing knowledge. Working with a contentious book printer can be helpful in staying on the right path during the publishing journey.