Re: Standards for dimensions of printed books

Subject: Re: Standards for dimensions of printed books
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: SArbing -at- ITCCANADA -dot- COM
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 14:50:34 -0400

Sue,

The "standard" sizes for printed books are standard _ranges_ of sizes.
You can pick whatever approximate size appeals to you from a
readability/design/usability/packaging point of view. Different schools
of thought exist as to what is the "correct" size for a user manual, and
my purpose in this post is not to start a religious war; so I am going
to limit myself to a pragmatic answer to the question you asked.

Once you have selected an approximate size, and before you begin to lay
out the actual page grid, you can proceed one of two ways:

1. You can arbitrarily decide on an exact page size and not concern
yourself with the implication for production costs.

2. You can investigate production costs and use that information to help
you select an exact page size.

I'm going to tell you how to follow course number 2. Here are the steps:

A. Determine what the expected press run will be. A printing contract
will be for that number of copies with a per-copy additional charge for
extras.

B. Estimate the overall number of pages.

C. Determine whether the design is going to incoporate either spot color
or process color, how much of each, and whether you plan to use bleeds.

D. Give this information a print broker, explaining that you want to
arrive at a trim size that makes efficient use of press and paper.

E. What happens next is that the print broker surveys a list of printers
who handle jobs of the scope you are interested in. The larger the print
run, the more presses you will have access to, in general.

F. Once the print broker determines who has the right press for your
job, you will get to select from a few appropriate paper stocks (from
mills the printer does business with and that the printer knows will run
well on the press in question, with the color usage you propose).

G. Different papers do not always come in the same sheet size, but once
you pick a paper, the available sheet sizes will be known. The printer
can then tell you the maximum page size for a signature of 16 pages (or
32 pages, if if is a large press)--working from your original requested
size.

H. You can make your page that maximum size or smaller in either or both
directions. However you do not gain anything by making it much smaller.
You cannot, for example, decide to squeeze four more pages on a sheet,
because the printer is probably not going to want to run a 4-page
signature on a sheet with a 16-page signature just to save a little
paper.

Hope this helps,

Dick





SArbing -at- ITCCANADA -dot- COM wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>
> I'm wondering if anyone has heard of standards for the dimensions of
>
> printed books. We are in the process of deciding what size our printed
>
> books should be.
>
> If you are using a standard, I would appreciate hearing about it. Even if
>
> you're not using a standard, I would be interested in how you determine the
>
> dimensions of your printed books. Please note, I am primarily talking about
>
> documents like user guides and installation guides.
>




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