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Publishing and Promoting > Book print size

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lennon I am getting ready to self publish my book through create space. The default size they have set is 6x9 inches. I was going to go along with that but then I realised. That seems huge! I am now thinking of opting for their smallest size 5.06x7.81 inches.
This also seems rather large.
Can anyone help? What is a normal book size, are these normal? Am I just reading wrong?

Thank you, and apologies for my dumbness


message 2: by Elaina (new)

Elaina Roberts (emroberts) | 20 comments The small paperbacks that you're probably thinking of is considered a mass market paperback size. They're around 4x6 and easily fit in your pocket.

6x9 is fairly standard for a trade paperback, which is what most PoD services offer. They do seem a bit large, but I have several traditionally published books that size (my Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is 6x9), so it's not entirely uncommon.


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Pearson | 25 comments I set both of my books to 6x9 and am quite happy with them. They sit maybe an inch or so higher than most of the paperbacks on my shelves, but are still smaller than the hardbacks and fit icely on the shelf. Hope that helps :~)


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 347 comments Mine was 5.25 x 8. I also thought 6 x 9 was a bit large, so I decided to go with a smaller (but standard) size. It's important to note that nonstandard sizes are not accepted in all distribution channels.


message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill | 78 comments Andy wrote: "I am getting ready to self publish my book through create space. The default size they have set is 6x9 inches. I was going to go along with that but then I realised. That seems huge! I am now think..."

I've always used 5.5 x 8.5 for mine, Andy.


message 6: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 258 comments I am trying to revise my book on Lulu for 6x9 to something smaller but I am discussing with Lulu support how to do it. I don't want to change the content, cover, or assigned ISBN. Don't seem to be able to do that.


message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason Reeser | 41 comments I use the 5 by 8, at Creatspace, which is one of the few choices that is allowed for the distribution channels. 6 x 9 always feels too big, to me. I'd rather the smaller mass market sizes (4.25 by 6) but this will cut you out of some of the channels. I also believe there is a conflict with the ISBN over those sizes. I called Creatspace and asked about the limitations on these sizes and they had no logical answer why they won't let you print the smaller size.
6 by 9 just feels too bulky in my hands, and is uncomfortable to read.
ISBN will have to change if you change sizes, size is part of the ISBN, along with page count.


message 8: by J.d. (new)

J.d. Mallinson | 3 comments I agree that 6x9 is too big. I suggest you try 8.5 x 5.5, which I have used for my novels


message 9: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Sep 02, 2013 12:43PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Jason wrote: "...ISBN will have to change if you change sizes, size is part of the ISBN, along with page count. ..."

That's all in the edition part of isbn number. isbn number is in 5 parts:
"978" at beginning just means "book"

then country

publisher or individual obtaining isbn (if not obtaining yourself and moving from one publisher to another you cannot re-use, for example, the createspace provided free isbn for amazon paperback cannot be transferred to Random House, lulu or Smashwords)

Edition info (title, format, size, page count, etc.) It is absolutely an invalid isbn if you try to use same isbn on multiple book sizes ( or on paperback and ebook editions) even if you purchased yourself.*

Check digit (the single digit at the end of the ISBN which validates the ISBN).
*under the heading of "more than you may want to know" and off topic for print size topic:

isbn numbers are specifically needed for selling at booksellers, stores or other third parties. Selling directly from author or publisher site creates a little loophole (well, don't even have to have an isbn if exclusively sold at author/publisher site). That loophole allows publishers (for example, traditional publisher Baen and ebook publisher/distributor/aggregator Smashwords) to let readers download multiple file types (html, pdf, mobi, epub, etc.) without having to obtain an isbn for each file type.

Goodreads, incidentally, does not track potentially changing file download types or DRM information—much less which of more than 10,000 ereaders are used to read— (no mention on gr of epub, pdf, ereader compatibilities, brand of DRM or copy protections, DRM-free or such allowed anywhere in book data, will be removed when spotted). The only exception: if you obtain a unique isbn/ean for each type/DRM/ereader you want to specify.

If you see books on gr with format saying "kindle edition" has to have a unique asin ( ean identifier ); if edition says nook or kobo, again, requires a unique ean (Barnes and Noble uses bnid starting with 294 for specific to nook editions in their pubit format and kobo uses ean starting with 123). When kobo and Barnes and Noble nook have the same ebooks with isbn starting with 978 as any other site selling the ebook -- goodreads sets format to ebook and does not specify kobo, Barnes and Noble, ade, epub or anything else--just an ebook.

Promotions like "free to download" or sweepstakes, cover reveals, etc. and links to bookseller sites are for your goodreads events, updates and reviews -- not anywhere on book data page much less book description. Again, partly because that changes (particularly contests and sweepstakes which obviously need a date for drawing the winner and experience says even outdated ads and promotions are not quickly removed by authors). Considered vandalizing the database and annoying to staff and librarians to constantly be removing.

Just some pesky little things caused by booksellers like amazon and smashwords having product pages for authors and customers while goodreads only has book data pages for its members.


message 10: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 258 comments Jason wrote: "I use the 5 by 8, at Creatspace, which is one of the few choices that is allowed for the distribution channels. 6 x 9 always feels too big, to me. I'd rather the smaller mass market sizes (4.25 b..."

Thanks Jason and Debbie for the ISBN info. Guess I'm stuck with the larger more expensive size unless I purchase more ISBNs. In the UK you have to buy a block of 10 minimum. Different formats eat these up fast. Different size in the same format is another complication. Not sure why Lulu support couldn't have told me that.


message 11: by James (new)

James Cardona (jamescardona) | 28 comments one other thing to note is that the smaller the book, the higher your page count. For me a 5x8 would have cost more than a 6x9 due to the higher page count. I want to keep my price as low as possible as it is easier (IMO) to sell a $5 book than a $7.50 book.


message 12: by James (new)

James (JamesByrd) | 38 comments James wrote: "one other thing to note is that the smaller the book, the higher your page count."

This is a good point. I somewhat regret choosing 5.5 x 8.5 for my trilogy. The first book was 75K words and cost $4.54 to print. The second was 100K words and cost $5.66 to print.

I'm trying to keep the price of the paperbacks below $10, but I already make very little on the second book and expect the third to be even longer!


message 13: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 122 comments A really important consideration, depending upon your genre, is the type size for your text. For example, I could save quite a number of pages by setting my novels in 10 point type, but the resulting difficulty in reading the much longer line breaks and smaller type would make the books much harder to read for my target reader. Of course, if your readers are under forty, the smaller size might be alright, but you should also adjust your margins wider so that the line lengths are not much over 40-50 characters or so. (I spent thirty years as an advertising/publication and packaging designer)


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