Why Does Book Size Matter?

When publishing your book there are many considerations – perhaps one of the aspects that people may overlook though, is the book size! Whilst it may not seem to be a particularly important aspect, the book size – or ‘trim size’ as it is referred to in the industry – can play a large part in the success of the book. Whether the book fits into a purse, how thick the book is and how it will appear on a shelf in bookstores, or on a coffee table in the home, are all considerations for a buyer/reader. Here are some useful aspects of book size for which you should be aware:

Page Count – The main factor in determining the pricing of a book for publishers has traditionally been the number of pages the book contains – the production costs of the materials and the print process are directly proportional to the number of pages required for the book. The size of the book also has an influence on ‘value’ the buyers perceive they are getting – consumers won’t pay a high cost for a book that doesn’t contain a lot of pages, irrespective of the content! Although the page count is a major consideration, it is worth remembering that the number of pages a book will contain is driven by another factor – the actual word count of the book content!

Word Count – Traditional publisher contracts will be based on a word count rather than a page count for the finished article – and, when self-publishing, it is important to be make that the main consideration when establishing the potential price of your work!

Book Content – Whilst the physical book size and the number of pages it contains is a major influence on buyers, it is, of course, important to consider the content! If the content of the book is perceived to be of a particular value to the reader, then it will go a long way in dictating the real appeal and success of your book, whatever the physical size!  

Most Popular Book Sizes – Different genres dictate the most popular sizes to publish – fiction books are typically 4.25” x 6.87”, novellas are 5” x 8”, whilst children’s books are generally larger at 7.5” x 7.5”, or even up to 10” x 8”. Non-fiction books are more usually found in 6” x 9” or 7” x 10” and the more ‘specialised’ books, such as coffee table and photography books, are larger again at 8.5” x 11”.

Summary – Book size matters because it can either establish or undermine your credibility as an author – regular readers associate specific genres of book with specific sizes and fonts. If your book is published against ‘industry standard’ sizes then, even though it may be as good as others in the same marketplace, it may be overlooked by potential customers! Readers are comfortable with familiarity and know what they expect from certain books – for example, a reader doesn’t want to open a small, thick book and find a font so small that it is difficult to read. Book size is a big factor in readers’ choices, and they look for consistency and uniformity when selecting their reading matter!