How to Choose the Right Kind of Paper for Your Book: An Easy Guide


Many factors can influence your choice of paper such as book usage, page amount, binding, budget, etc. This article will let you have a general idea of how to choose paper for your book.


How to Choose Book Inner Paper?


  • Usage Is an Important Factor when We Choose Inner Paper.

Three kinds of paper are the most popular choices. They are gloss art, matte art, and offset (uncoated).

Gloss art paper is good to show bright pictures and rich colors. It is popular for children’s books, cookbooks, comics, etc.

Matte art paper always shows the heavy and dark colors well. Many high-end coffee table books, photo magazines, art books, etc. choose matte art paper.

Offset paper is good to write, color, and show words. In this case, coloring books, learning books, black and white novels, etc. always use offset paper.


  • Size, Page Amount, and Binding Will Make The Inner Paper Different.

After we know the usage, we need to consider size, page amount, and binding as well to choose the paper. They are as follows:


1. Size

The most popular sizes are A4 and 8.5×11″. These two are normal sizes and many papers fit them well.

When book size is large or landscape, thicker paper is better. For example, 157gsm matte art paper is good for a big-size coffee table book and a landscape A4 size book. 

When the book size is small, thinner paper can make the book open flat. For example, an A5 size novel is good to use 80gsm-offset paper to make it open easily.

After we have confirmed the size, how to bind and page amount are what we need to consider.


2. Less Than 24 Pages Book

When the inner is less than 24 pages, you can choose inner paper less than 200gsm gloss, matte, or offset paper. For example, some coloring books will choose 140gsm offset paper to be inner when it is only 20 pages. That will make the book open wide. It is a good choice, especially for children. The printed picture on the coloring book will be clear and big enough for the kids to color and use as roughly as possible, without having to take care of it too much.


3. 24-32 Pages Book

If you need a spine but the page amount is only 24-32 pages, 157gsm-200gsm paper is necessary.

For example, a 28-page softcover child’s book needs a spine; we suggest choosing 200gsm gloss art paper to be the inner. Then we can do sewing and perfect binding to make sure it has a spine because children always love it. This way, the children can also open the book completely without having to worry about any tears or pages coming out due to the good quality binding.


4. 32-48 Pages Book

When inner is over 32 pages, it can be bound as either hardcover or softcover book.

For a hardcover book, when it is between 32-48 pages, 157gsm paper is preferred. Otherwise, the book is not thick enough to be bound as a hardcover book. It will make the book pages more durable in the end.

For softcover books, 128gsm, 157gsm, or 200gsm paper is preferred.


5. Over 48 Pages Book

When the inner is over 48 pages, the thickest choice is 157gsm paper. 200gsm paper is too thick during this time. It is an ideal choice for people who are looking to get a softcover book printed.

However, if you need a spiral or wire-o binding book, you only need to make sure that the book thickness is between 8mm to 20mm. If it is less or more, contact your supplier first and they will help you choose the paper. Make sure you have someone reliable to guide you through the entire process so that you can make your choices wisely.


  • The Budget Makes Inner Paper Choices Different.

The different paper has different prices. Matte and gloss are the same prices but different with offset paper. Besides, the thicker the paper is, the more expensive it will be. Another thing is, when the paper is heavier, the book is automatically heavier and the book shipping cost will be more. It is hard to suggest what is the best and the most economical. Contact your supplier and they will give you the best choice.


How to Choose Book Cover Paper?


  • Hardcover Binding Cover Paper

For hardcover books, 157gsm matte or gloss art paper wrapped on 2mm, 2.5mm or 3mm board are the most popular choices. The more pages the inner has, the thicker the board will be. Some people prefer to use a special material that also works such as leather or linen.

Here is a link to show you some linen colors:


  • Softcover Book Cover Paper

For softcover books, many choose over 200gsm gloss or matte or offset paper to be covered.

The inner page amount, the thicker the cover paper should be. In this case, the book will be stable and strong enough but there are also some self-cover books that need cover and inner to be the same paper or similar thickness paper. In this case, please follow your inner paper choice.


How to Choose Board Book Paper?


Board book is special compared to others that are different choices from normal books.

Let us discuss cover and inner separately:


  • Board Book Inner Paper

Board book inner paper is wrapped by C1S (coated one side) cardboard together. In this case, it will be thick and would feel high in quality. Depending on your needs, it can be wrapped in two or three pieces of paper.


  • Hardcover Board Book Cover Paper

Some high-end board books’ covers will use 157gsm matte or gloss art paper wrap on 2-3mm board. Some hardcover children’s board books will have foam on the front and back covers.


  • Self-cover Board Book Cover Paper

Many children’s board books choose the cover and inner to be the same paper. Just make sure that you use the right kind of paper when printing a self-cover board book cover.


In summary, you must realize that many different factors play a role in helping to decide the right kind of paper needed for printing a book. You need to consider choosing an inner page. The inner paper of the book will cost differently than the rest of the book paper such as the hardcover. All of it completely depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend on your book. You also need to be sure about the board book paper to make printing an easy process for you.

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