When trying to decide on the best size to make your print book, think about what type of book you have written. There are many types of books and a lot of different sizes from which to choose.
Common types of books
Novels range from 5.25″ by 8″ up to 6″ by 9″. The 6″ by 9″ size is a good size for longer novels. With a long novel, a smaller book will give you more pages and a thicker book.
Many readers don’t like novels that are extremely thick as they can be harder to hold and might even intimidate potential readers. However, if you have a short novel, a 5.25″ by 8″ book size might be better to make the book appear thicker.
Short story collections are similar to novels.
Manuals and workbooks tend range from 8″ by 10″ to 8.5″ by 11″. I am sure you have seen the LSAT, SAT, best colleges, resume writing, software manuals and similar study guides at the bookstore–they are all a bit hefty.
General nonfiction books are 6″ by 9″ typically, but 7″ by 10″ is also a good size, especially if your book has call-outs or quotes, or if you simply need a large page size for illustrations or photographs.
Trade paperbacks are widely used for self-published books and will range in size from 5.5″ by 8.5″ to 6″ by 9″.
Photography and art books vary in size and there is not any particular standard, Square books are popular, as they allow the book designer to use either vertical or horizontal images along with text or captions. Landscape photography books are usually much larger, in a horizontal format so that the images are as large as possible.
Memoirs and poetry books are often printed in a 5.25″ by 8″ size–a more intimate size.
TIP: The above dimensions are the more common sizes. Most publishers, self-publishing platforms and printing companies offer many other options.
Book market research
If you are still not sure what is the right size for your book, it may be time for market research. Go through your personal library and pull out several of your favorite books. Or go to a bookstore and see what books catch you eye and examine them.
Next, look for books that are shelved with the spine facing out, and look at how they vary both in height and the spine thickness. While color, the book’s title and nice typography will help catch your eye, if all of the books on a shelf are the same height, a shorter or taller book will stand out from the rest. The same is true for taller books. Having a book that is a little smaller or a little larger can help your book stand out.
Be sure to look at displays where a variety of books from the same genre are displayed on a table and take note of the range of sizes.
TIP: take a small tape measure with you can get the measurements of different books that appear to be just right for your book.