The printed book

Several things should be considered for a document that is to be printed rather than only viewed on screen.

There may be constraints on the page size. A document that is meant to be printed by the end user may be sized to suit the paper size of an office printer: Letter size in the USA; A4 in most of the rest of the world; or A4 or JIS-B5 in Japan. A car handbook, on the other hand, is usually a convenient size for a car glove compartment. Trade paperbacks have a range of conventional sizes, and choosing an unconventional page size could affect the sales of a book.

If the paper is not sufficiently opaque, the text on the opposite side of the paper may show through. The effect is made worse if the text on each side of the paper is not aligned.

Figure 1. Effect of show-through with non-aligned and aligned text

Effect of show-through with non-aligned and aligned text

Graphics, and other design elements, that extend to the edge of the page may need to be printed so they extend past the edge of the page (see the section called “Page Setting”). If they do not bleed past the edge of the page, then any inaccuracy when trimming the page to its correct size after printing and binding could result in a white strip between the graphic and the edge of the page. Conversely, the graphic should not have significant details close to the edge of page in case the trimming takes off too much rather than too little.

Even the binding method may need to be considered when designing the book. Perfect binding or a wire binding may reduce the visible or usable area of the gutter between pages. If the pages of a book are gathered into signatures and then trimmed, the pages in the middle of the signature may have more trimmed from their fore-edge than is trimmed from the pages on the outside of the signature.

Figure 2. Effect of binding method

Effect of binding method