Book sizes vary depending on genre, audience, and a multitude of other factors. If you are self-publishing, it’s helpful to have a firm grasp of what your book size should be before you take your book to print. If you traditionally publish, knowing what size book to expect can be helpful as well.
While book sizes may seem like more of an aesthetic choice, consider the following ways your book size influences the context it is placed in:
- Whether it fits well in a backpack or purse
- How word count affects thickness
- How it lays on a coffee table
- Shelf space at bookstores
These factors may seem nonconsequential until further thought is put into them. In this article we break down:
- What Is A Book Size Called?
- What Are Standard Book Sizes?
- What Is The Most Popular Book Size?
- Why Book Size Matters
Equip yourself to understand the why behind book sizes and how to choose the correct book size for your next book.
What Is A Book Size Called?
According to MasterClass, “In publishing parlance, trim size describes the height and width of the pages of a book.” The bigger the size of your page, the more words you can fit, and thus, the thickness of your book will be thinner. The smaller the size of your page, the fewer words you can fit, and the thicker your book will need to be to accommodate your word count.
MasterClass also says that “Paper stock and binding also contribute to the overall weight and size of a book.
What Are Standard Book Sizes?
Your standard book size is dependent on your genre and genre also determines word count. To dive into standard book sizes, we first must take a look at the word count. Our friends at Self-Publishing School show word count in this way:
As you can see, if you write fiction, you don’t need to worry about your trim size being too small to fit your word count. No matter what genre you write, the above word counts are industry standard, as are the below trim sizes.
That said, let’s dive into standard book sizes, as Reedsy.com lays out:
- 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!
MasterClass goes into more depth saying, “What trim size a book is assigned depends on economic as well as aesthetic factors. For example, mass-market books (the kind of paperback books you might see in the grocery store or airport) are a standard trim size of 4.25 x 6.87”, while trade paperbacks (the kind you’d typically find in a bookstore) can range from 5 x 8” to 8 x 10”.”
Now that you have a grasp of standard book size, how word count impacts book size, and the industry standard for each, let’s talk about the most popular book sizes.
What Is The Most Popular Book Size?
The most popular book size depends on the genre you publish as well as how you publish. Like writing itself, book size is subjective. Authority Pub lists a myriad of book sizes based on how they are published.
For instance, they state that “KDP print book sizes, then, range from the smallest trade paperback (5” by 8”) to the largest (8.5” by 11”).”
For fiction, they state that book size (or trim size) is as follows:
- 4.25” by 6.87” (mass market)
- 5” by 8” (trade)
- 5.25” by 8” (trade)
- 5.5” by 8.5” (trade/”digest”)
- 6” by 9”
For novellas, the standard is simply 5” by 8”.
Children’s books have several options:
- 7.5” by 7.5”
- 7” by 8”
- 10” by 8”
Nonfiction titles have a range as well:
- 5.5” by 8.5”
- 6” by 9”
- 7” by 10”
Memoir differs almost imperceptibly:
- 5.25” by 8”
- 5.5” by 8.5”
Textbooks have several sizes:
- 6” by 9”
- 7” by 10”
- 8.5” by 11”
And photography, often known as coffee table books, is pretty subjective and goes up to 8.5” by 11” as far as color is concerned.
If you’re considering publishing with either Ingram Spark or KDP Print, each publisher can print up to 8.5” by 11”. Authority Pub also states that “Ingram Spark will print hardcover books up to that size. KDP Print has an 8.27” by 11.69” paperback option, but only for black and white.”
These trim sizes may seem a bit overwhelming, but remember that you publish one book at a time. You only have to worry about the book size for your genre and word count. This streamlines your process.
Why Book Size Matters
The above information may seem a bit overboard, but book size matters because it either establishes or undermines your credibility as an author. Readers are used to seeing certain genres on the shelves at certain sizes and with certain fonts.
If you choose to self-publish your book and ignore industry-standard trim size for your project, readers will likely question your credibility. Your book may be just as good as the one next to it, but readers don’t know this.
Readers know what they’re used to, and while coffee table books or the occasional children’s book can seem to take some creative liberties, memoir, biography, and fiction should stick to industry-standard guidelines as much as possible.
There’s not much worse for a reader than to open a small, thick book only to find the font is so small they can barely read it.
Or have you ever opened what you thought was a children’s book due to the height and low thickness, only to realize it’s an adult romance? Hopefully not. Readers enjoy knowing what they’re getting into and book size is a large factor in putting them at ease.
Just as adults don’t want to fit a children’s size book in their purse to take on vacation, small children don’t have the dexterity to hold a smaller-sized book and turn one, paper-thin page at a time.
Book size matters not just for young readers, but for all ages.
As you move forward in your writing, do your best to stay to industry-standard word counts. This will help you create the appropriate trim size for your book when it’s finished.
And don’t forget to enjoy the process. It’s not every day an individual gets to design their own book. This is a creative privilege. Use your new knowledge well, and let us know how your book turns out. We’d love to hear about your process!
If you need help in this area, check out the free resource below.