Producing a professional page layout design is critical to the success of your book. A proper book layout is the result of careful planning, and attention to detail. Choosing the proper page size, font styles, line spacing, and margin settings, are a large part of a book layout, but gaining an understanding of the different parts of a book is where we should start.
Core Matter – The second part of a book is known as the core matter. The core matter is also referred to as the body of the text. When developing a book layout, these are the pages that require most of the attention in regard to choosing font styles, font size, margin settings, and so on.
Back Matter – The third part of a book is known as the back matter. The back matter contains a number of lesser known pages such as the Epilogue, Afterword, and Glossary. The back matter pages are numbered along with the core matter pages using the Arabic numbering rather than the roman numerals used in the front matter. Many books are produced which do not contain any of the back matter pages.
There are a number of software programs which can be used in page layout design. The most common book layout software is Microsoft Word. The software which is best suited for an advanced book layout is Adobe InDesign. This is mainly due to the large number of functions available, and InDesign’s ability to easily handle large files containing several images. The use of InDesign has increased since Adobe made the software available by monthly subscription. Our book layout professionals use Adobe InDesign exclusively for page layout design.
For most types of books, choosing a page size is a simple process. Each genre of book tends to have its common page sizes associated with it. For example, a common page size for a children’s book is the 11” x 8.5” landscape format, while a poetry book will often be printed in the 5.5” x 8.5” page size. If you are planning your book layout in a format larger than the 11” x 8.5” standard size, we would suggest requesting a printing quote to see how an oversize page can affect the price of printing your book.
The most common binding style for many genres of books is the quality softcover format, although the hardcover binding format is most common with family history books, and coffee table style art books. It has become more popular to produce a book both the softcover and hardcover formats at the same time. Producing both binding formats at one time does not require changes being made to the book layout.
Margin setting vary widely depending on whether you are working on a novel, family history, or children’s book. There are standard margin settings which work well for novels, poetry, anthologies, and memoirs, but books which are image intensive such as art books, or children’s books, can include full bleed pages. A full bleed page is one which includes an image or background color printed to the very edge of the page. This type of book layout requires a bleed area be included in the page layout design.
The positioning of the page numbers can vary from book to book. While we recommend the bottom center position on the page, the outside edge of the bottom or top of the page is also used. Page numbering is often split into roman numerals for the front matter pages and Arabic numbering for the core matter and back matter pages. Blank pages, as well as the title page do not contain page numbers.
The header and footer areas of the page are the very top and bottom areas respectively. The header area can contain information such as the chapter title, book title, and page numbers. Information in the header of the page would appear in a different font size as the text in the main area of the page. The footer area should not include footnotes. Footnotes are found just above the footer area.
There are a number of excellent book fonts available, but there are many font styles which are not considered a book font. A true book font is one which is designed to be used in text heavy books without causing eye strain. The shape of the font, whether it is a serif font or not, and its natural line spacing (leading) are combined to determine what is a true book font.
Book font sizes vary from one genre to the next, and can depend on which font style is chosen for the page layout. The smallest book font size used is normally a 10 pt., with the average font size for a text-only book being 12 pt.