Writing your first book

Formatting and styling your own book. One of the next steps you need to know.

So you are ready to write your first content, right? I know this feeling very well. It is amazing to put all your ideas in one single place and then start writing.

In the previous article, I recommended you use some kind of standardized file format and size of the book.

You can choose from a variety of sizes (in the publishing business known as “trim” sizes”:

  • 5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
  • 5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.85 x 19.84 cm)
  • 5.25″ x 8″ (13.34 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 23.39 cm)
  • 6.69″ x 9.61″ (16.99 x 24.41 cm)
  • 7″ x 10″ x (17.78 x 25.4 cm)
  • 7.44″ x 9.69″ (18.9 x 24.61 cm)
  • 7.5″ x 9.25″ (19.05 x 23.5 cm)
  • 8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
  • 8.25″ x 6″ (20.96 x 15.24 cm)
  • 8.25″ x 8.25″ (20.96 x 20.96 cm)
  • 8.5″ x 8.5″ (21.59 x 21.59 cm)
  • 8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
  • 8.27″ x 11.69″ (21 x 29.7 cm)

Sometimes you can also find the standards in the classic European format:

  • A6 – 105 x 148 mm
  • A5 – 148 x 210 mm
  • B5 – 176 x 250 mm
  • B5 – small resized 165 x 240 mm
  • B5 – small resized 160 x 230 mm
  • A4 – 210 x 297 mm
  • A2 – 594 x 420 mm

The most common trim size for books in the U.S. is 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm). It can be different in other countries. A specific place is Europe, where all sizes are acceptable. But remember one simple common sense – think like your possible reader (your customer). What kind of book are you preparing? Will be the size (trim) you want to use sufficient for the reader?

The reason for the different trim sizes in the USA and EU is the historic evolution. In the US and Canada, the sizes (trims) were in the past mostly described in the imperial units – inches, etc. But in Europe, mostly the metric system was used.

Maybe you are asking now, why there are just these standards and why you cannot use anything else – for example, some size that you want?

The answer is simple. You never know, where your book will end up – if it will be some kind of online book store offering the “print on demand” books, or if the book will be printed in amount of hundreds (or thousands) pieces and distributed to classic bookstores or shops. And here comes your answer. Book distributors and booksellers usually prefer the standards in the sizes and formats of the books. Another reason – even more important – is the print services. The companies printing the books are using the same standards of book sizes as distributors and booksellers.

For example, in the second edition of my “Moon Atlas”, I used the most suitable trim size and the result of the printed book is exactly what it was meant to be – the book that is suitable for taking in the backpack to nature, traveling, etc.

You definitely can choose any size you wish, but be prepared then for higher prices, because of the non-standardized format/size. This will be calculated in the distributor’s and bookseller’s prices. The question is, does it really matter for you to have maybe 1 cm different size of the book that will result in a double price for your potential reader – and customer?

Trust me, I made this mistake once. People did not understand why my book could not be just a little cheaper… And I could not do anything – just trying to keep answering the same questions in the discussions again and again. So I recommend you use some standard format and size. There are plenty of them and you will avoid the later problems that I mentioned before.

See you in a short time with my new article, dear colleagues authors, and writers!

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Related articles of this series:


Used photographs in this article:

  • The featured image with the open book on the table: valeria-aksakova/freepik

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Cite this text:
Jozef Kozár, PhD (July 23, 2024) Writing your first book. Retrieved from https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/.
"Writing your first book." Jozef Kozár, PhD - July 23, 2024, https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/
Jozef Kozár, PhD November 3, 2022 Writing your first book., viewed July 23, 2024,<https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/>
Jozef Kozár, PhD - Writing your first book. [Internet]. [Accessed July 23, 2024]. Available from: https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/
"Writing your first book." Jozef Kozár, PhD - Accessed July 23, 2024. https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/
"Writing your first book." Jozef Kozár, PhD [Online]. Available: https://www.jozefkozar.com/lab/2022/11/03/writing-your-first-book/. [Accessed: July 23, 2024]
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Dr. Jozef Kozár

Author, Research Scientist, Consultant.

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