Re: Standard European Book Sizes

Subject: Re: Standard European Book Sizes
From: David Williams <davidw -at- harlequin -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 10:29:20 GMT

[ My contribution at the end. David ]

"Nigel Parker" <n -dot- parker -at- wanadoo -dot- fr> writes (to the newsgroup echo):
> Hi Margaret,
> Germany uses A4 paper (297mm x 210mm), as does the rest of Europe.
> Nigel Parker
> Onlineinfo
> luckydog -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com wrote in message ...
> >Hi,
> >
> >Can anyone tell me what the standard size is for printed documentation
> >manuals in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe?).
> >
> >7.5" x 9" seems pretty standard in the U.S. but my customer is a German
> >firm. I want to make sure I give them something standard that German
> >printers will recognize.
> >
> >Any help appreciated.
> >
> >Margaret

Nigel is right that the most common paper size in European offices is
A4, but I see a possible different intent to your question.


Nigel's answer suits this case: If you distribute online but printable
manuals in, say, PDF files then providing a file that prints onto A4
is a considerable courtesy to your readers. (Our FrameMaker templates
use a 7.5" x 9" page area, which is reasonable to view onscreen and
printable on A4 or Letter sizes of paper. The margins vary for A4 and
US Letter but the effect isn't too bad.)


On the other hand, if you are intending to supply a file to a
commercial printer for them to produce a bound manual then you can use
pretty well any size that works for the reader's likely environment.
As you say, 7.5" x 9" is very common; most of the manuals on my shelf
are this size. You might choose A5 (210mm x 148 mm), or for mobile
equipment/software some variant of a slim and pocketable format, but
these sizes are less common.

In any case, a commercial printer will assemble several (commonly, 4,
6, 8, 12, or 16) of your pages in an imposition package to make best use
of the larger paper sheets on which they actually print. There will be some
trimming and wastage but, for example, if you want bleed tabs to the
edge of the page then there has to be some waste. (This waste is
high-grade and gets recycled.) Unless you choose a very odd page size,
the waste won't be a significant cost.

If you are going to be involved in specifying the paper, you'd better
be prepared for some US/European differences in describing the weight,
bulk, and finish. Get a book about print production or find a way to
show the printer existing books that you wish to match.

David Williams, Technical Writer
Working at, but not speaking for, Harlequin Limited, Cambs, UK
Harlequin information:
Just in case of lost headers, email: davidw -at- harlequin -dot- co -dot- uk

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