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Getting physical

Let’s talk books for a second – and I mean the physical, wrap-your-fingers-around paper product that people have grown to know and love for centuries. At SRA Books we have this knowledge that is almost second nature, like how a B Format book is 198 x 129mm or a PUR-bound book isn’t the same as Perfect bound. There’s lingo thrown around the office like verbal ping-pong, but what does it actually mean?

For starters, let’s talk about book sizes.

Paperback and hardback books generally come in four sizes:

  • A Format – 178x111mm
  • B Format – 198x129mm
  • Demy – 216x138mm
  • Royal – 234x156mm

A format and B format you might recognise as fiction paperback books. While there are other sizes used, these are the most common. I have also seen some paperbacks printed in Royal so, when all is said and done, it is up to the publisher (or author if you are going the independent route) to decide the size of the book.

Demy and Royal are used quite frequently for non-fiction (business, self-help, crafts, etc.) books. This will, of course, depend on the market for the book, but generally non-fiction books are these sizes.

Illustrated books, on the other hand, can be rather flexible in their sizes depending on their content. In general, some sizes to keep in mind are:

  • Crown Quarto – 246x189mm
  • Demy Quarto – 276x219mm
  • A4 – 297x210mm

At the end of the day, the size of the book depends on what the author/publisher wants and what the market is used to. For example, if your market is businessmen or women who are always travelling, creating a book that is A4 or larger would be impractical. How would they take it on a business trip and read it on the train? It would take up a lot of space and the seats/tables just aren’t big enough for that type of book. If you remember your audience, choosing the size of your book should be painless.

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