Which is the best orientation for printing my book in?

When it comes to producing a print of your new book, you will be faced with a number of choices regarding the physical proportions of your bound copy. You might want to consider conventional sizes that relate to the kind of book it is, for instance a novel, a magazine or a photography digest.

The kind of book you want to print can largely be dictated by convention, unless you want to make a purposeful statement. The decision comes down to purpose and usability a lot of the time. Here we have listed some of the more popular book formats and orientations from which to choose.


By far the most popular and obvious orientation for all books is the portrait orientation. Obvious, because it allows for single column type setting to be printed and read in the most convenient format. Think of a novel being held in one hand and read by someone on the train.

A portrait orientation has a height dimension larger than its width, for instance a novel 7” high and 5” wide, or perhaps a larger magazine size being 11” high and 8.5” wide. Most books are printed in this orientation as they take up less shelf depth when stacked, so are easier to store. Portrait book binding techniques are also the most cost-effective to produce due to the specialist equipment that is engineered towards producing portrait print in large numbers.


Landscape book printing is less widely used but is an effective way of presenting images or making specific information more accessible. Horizontal in aspect, a landscape page can present artwork or photography that is more suited to being presented across lateral space at a larger scale, so has its benefits over portrait shaped page sizes.

Think of a coffee table photo diary in glossy print and hard cover that is intended to be enjoyed at leisure. More difficult to store in large numbers, this orientation has its place in less formal settings like children’s story books, where multiple viewers might enjoy seeing the pictures at the same time. The wide orientation means that it can rest open on one’s lap or held open more easily too.


A square book format is one of equal width and height and is not as popular as either portrait or landscape orientations. However, a square shaped book is an eye-catching alternative to presenting written and graphic information, as it draws attention to the centre of each page, making it a popular choice for bespoke image-intensive prints.

An open square book where two square pages sit side by side can also provide the desired format and spatial balance required for your project. The range of acceptable sizes for square books can be varied too, as they can be easily stacked alongside a variety of more conventional book shapes on a shelf.


Should you wish to produce a book that is larger than conventional dimensions, it is perfectly possible. Digital book printing means that nowadays it is easier than ever to design and produce books considered to be oversized.

Popular with professional photographers and reference publications, oversized pages in portrait or landscape orientation provides a diversity of applications. The physical size of the book and pages means that the information can be produced in large print, say for a world atlas or encyclopedia, and might be intended for a reference library where reading it while seated at a large table is ideal. Such a book might be 14” wide and 18” high with many pages and could have a hard cover to protect it for many decades.


Also known as the pocket-sized book, this little companion can be slipped into a pocket or handbag when you’re on the move. They might be as small as 3.5” wide and 4” high, but come in many guises, from first aid manuals to travel guides, from short story collections to scripture testaments.

Any book that you might want to refer to from time to time might be printed in mini format, for instance an instruction manual. Other printed items that have a shorter shelf life might be produced in a small size too, such as event programmes, pocket calendars or promotional publications.

As you can see, a book’s size and shape can have a direct relationship to the kind of publication it is. Come and talk to us about your print ideas, where you will get the very best advice consolidated from our many years working closely with publishers, self-publishers and authors. We have an experienced team who will manage your project in-house from start to finish using the very latest digital and litho printing technology and binding equipment.

Please call 01525 621742 or e-mail for further assistance.

Choose Print2Demand 

If you’re planning to print your own book, or need design help or print advice converting your PDF to a printed book, consider Print2Demand digital commercial book printing services.  

We are an all round UK book manufacturing and printing service. We work closely with publishers, self publishers and authors. We have a state of the art factory, complemented by our sales and marketing office in Westoning, Bedfordshire. We have invested in the very latest digital and litho printing technology, to integrate with a fully equipped craftsman bindery.  The conclusion of which means we are offering both softback and hardback books, to a very high standard of quality. 

Order your digital commercial book printing online or contact our team for more information.