book sizes

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Yves Hanoulle

Apr 18, 2019, 3:14:15 AM4/18/19

For the first time, I want to create a print on demand version of one of my books.
That makes me think about book size.
(So far the size of pdf was set to A4, so that I could easily print it)

A few questions:

What size did you use?
Why did you select that size?

How can I test how the books looks visually. Do you only verify that in pdf on your computer? 
Is there an option to print to see how it would look on paper?

Yves Hanoulle - 0476 43 38 32

        Peter Armstrong

        Apr 18, 2019, 5:33:19 AM4/18/19
        Hi Yves,

        There's a m:n relationship here: there are 7 ebook sizes and over 20
        print book sizes. Every ebook size corresponds to a number of print
        book sizes, but we keep the content area the same size so you don't
        need to test pagination, etc. We do alternate headers and
        inside/outside margins in the print-ready PDF, of course.

        Full answer here:

        To make a print book, we recommend Lulu or KDP.

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        Peter Armstrong
        Co-founder & CEO, Ruboss

        Yves Hanoulle

        Apr 18, 2019, 6:09:50 AM4/18/19

        I was not clear.
        I know the link between the e-book and print ready pdf
        I was looking for expereinces from leanpub authors on how to select the right size.
        (yes it subjective, hence why I asked why)

        Once I select a size, I do want to test the pdf to see how it looks
        yes you make the conversion work, I want to test what's on the pages etc.
        not the tehcnical test, the content test
        and it would be nice to do that in a printed version that has more or less the right size


        Op do 18 apr. 2019 om 11:33 schreef Peter Armstrong <>:

        For more options, visit



        Yves Hanoulle 
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          Len Epp

          Apr 18, 2019, 4:11:23 PM4/18/19
          Hi Yves,

          Davide Barranca recently published a post where he talks about size (see "My Mistakes" in particular):

          Mark Graban doesn't talk about size in his recent post that much, but he does talk about the details of getting a book into print using Amazon:

          I hope some of that helps! When you do select a size, if you'd like to write something up to help other Leanpub authors in the future, we'd be happy to share it in our Help Center etc.

          Kind Regards,


          For more options, visit

          Len Epp
          Co-founder, Leanpub

          Yves Hanoulle

          Apr 18, 2019, 4:58:56 PM4/18/19
          I have been reading both post, they did not help me, that is why I wrote my question

          I'm experimenting now with some sizes, yet it looks like I now have a generating problem
          not sure if it's size related anything that leanpub changed since the last version or if I screwed something up that I don't know

          I doubt I 'm the first person experimenting with sizes...

          Op do 18 apr. 2019 om 22:11 schreef Len Epp <>:

          For more options, visit

          Peter Armstrong

          Apr 18, 2019, 5:04:27 PM4/18/19
          Hi Yves,

          If there's a problem generating a specific book, please email the
          details to Note that we're a couple hours away
          from a holiday long weekend, however. The Versions tab is probably
          your friend here:

          Author > Books > (your book) > Preview or Publish > Manuscript Versions

          From there, you can see which book generation attempts succeeded or
          failed. The best thing to do is to click "create archive" on the last
          good one, and compare it to the first broken one and see if the
          problem appears...

          > To view this discussion on the web visit
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          Peter Armstrong
          Co-founder: Leanpub | Author: | Twitter:

          Yves Hanoulle

          Apr 18, 2019, 5:13:30 PM4/18/19

          Op do 18 apr. 2019 om 23:04 schreef Peter Armstrong <>:
          Hi Yves,

          If there's a problem generating a specific book, please email the
          details to
          I did before I wrote the previous mail.
          with details 

          For more options, visit

          Johanna Rothman

          Apr 19, 2019, 12:42:50 PM4/19/19
          HI Yves (and others),

          I use 6x9 inch sizes for my print books. I set the size of my books when I start a new book on leanpub. That’s because I know I’m going to go to print. (My strategy is to go with as many formats for a book as I can afford, and as many distributors as possible. I want people all over the world to buy my books in every possible format. More people still buy print books than ebooks. Audio is fast growing. Ebooks will continue to grown.)

          I also use a layout person because I have too many (!) images. The page numbers are roughly similar for the ebook and print books. (I screwed up with the Hiring book, so that’s not a useful comparison of ebook and print for my books. I changed layout person and my print books are better now.)

          I don’t know if leanpub offers mass market paperback as a size. I haven’t looked.

          I do *not* use Lulu because they are significantly more expensive than KDP Print.

          I have Vellum (which runs only on Macs) which is a book layout program from Word.  I have not experimented with it yet. They do not yet support sidebars/asides. They also only support one level of lists. That’s not a problem for me, but I’m not sure how many lists or levels you have. 

          From leanpub, you would have to generate a doc file for each chapter, combine all the docs and then generate the print book from Vellum. Doable with pandoc. 

          My opinions, which are free and possibly worth the same:

          1. A 6x9 book with a glossy cover and white interior works quite well for both fiction and non-fiction. (Fiction readers like mass market paperback size and Vellum can do that. You can do that on KDP Print.)
          2. I start with KDP Print with my *own* ISBN because then I have options for further distribution. (More on that later.)
          3. I generate my barcode for my ISBN.
          3. I upload everything to KDP Print: the cover, bar code, interior pdf. I now generate the KDP Print proof. Amazon now allows you to print on demand for your country’s store. That means if you’re outside the US it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to print a proof.
          4. Once I’m happy with the proof, I take all the resources and *also* use Ingram Spark to distribute the book to libraries and other bookstores. That’s why I have my own ISBNs.

          A note about bookstores and libraries: They do *not* buy from Amazon. They *can* buy from Amazon but they don’t. I only sell about 25-30 books a month through Ingram Spark. But, I would totally miss those sales from Amazon. 

          Your country determines how much you spend for ISBNs. You might be able to get a free ISBN. I pay a stupid amount for them. (I bought 100 because it was cheaper/easier than only buying 1 or 10.)

          Your author cost for the book through KDP will vary because of the number of pages. My books now seem to range from $3.15 - about $4.50 per author copy. That’s more expensive than CreateSpace was, but that’s what it is now.

          Author copies through Ingram Spark are more expensive. That’s why I start with KDP Print and never get an author proof or copy from Ingram Spark.

          While Amazon restricts author royalties for ebooks based on price, they do *not* for print books.

          I’ve been commenting on Davide’s post, because my experience is different. I do not have full color in my books. I have no idea what they would cost if I used color in the print pages. Maybe at some point I’ll investigate, but not now.

          I can recommend 6x9 for print and you should be fine anywhere in the world.

          Hope this helps.

          For more options, visit

          Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.     781-641-4046
          Speaker, Author, Consultant - Managing Product Development
          New book: From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams

          Gojko Adzic

          Apr 22, 2019, 5:00:33 AM4/22/19
          to leanpub
          Hi Yves,

          Traditional US paperback for professional books is 6 inches wide and 9 inches tall, so narrower than most computer books. Most print-on-demand systems will support this.

          Typical computer science books (think AW, Prags or someone similar) are usually around 7 inches wide and 9 inches tall. There are small variances depending on company, but that's the most common format. The reason is that these kinds of books have a lot of code, so adding an extra few centimetres makes code formatting easier. This is so common that even books without code end up being formatted like that. I'd say this is the common market expectation now for software or computing related books. Many print on demand systems don't have this exact measure, but they will have something similar enough (for example, lightning source uses 7.5 x 9.25)

          For Fifty Quick Ideas series we intentionally used a square format so it stands out on a bookshelf, it's 8.5 inches wide and tall.


          Peter Armstrong

          Apr 22, 2019, 11:46:06 AM4/22/19
          Hi all,

          Yes, we produce mass-market Paperback.

          Now, that said, there are 3 huge caveats here:

          1. We support 7 ebook sizes, and 26 print book sizes. Each of the 7
          ebook sizes corresponds to the handful of print book sizes which make
          sense for it. This is shown in the following answer on our help

          Now, since this message will get search indexed too, I'm going to just
          list them all in point 3 below, and put the full list of which size
          corresponds to which in point 3 below.

          2. Even with a Custom Theme, the font size choices are not as good as
          they could be, and the margin choices are nonexistent. As a
          consequence of this, books which are as small as Paperback don't look
          as good as they would if we had margin customization and better font
          size customization. I'm well aware of this. This will be improved
          this year.

          3. When I made that big list of ebook and print book sizes a few weeks
          ago, I realized that arguably this "one ebook size : n print book
          sizes" approach was the wrong decision. I try to keep an open mind
          about most of my decisions. Most decisions are reversible, and when I
          realize that one of them was wrong, I try to reverse it as quickly as

          So, at some point, probably by the end of this year, we will probably
          just offer every size as an ebook or print book size as a choice for a
          Custom Theme.

          Now, a couple weeks or so ago, I decided to just list every ebook and
          print book size near the bottom of the Export > Print-Ready PDF page
          at Author > Books > your book > Export > Print-Ready PDF.

          These are the 7 ebook sizes you can choose with a Custom Theme:

          US Letter (8.5" x 11.0", 21.6cm x 27.9cm)
          A4 Paper (8.27" x 11.69", 21.0cm x 29.7cm)
          Technical (7.0" x 9.1", 17.8cm x 23.1cm)
          US Trade (6.0" x 9.0", 15.2cm x 22.9cm)
          A5 Paper (5.83" x 8.27", 14.8cm x 21.0cm)
          Digest (5.5" x 8.0", 14.0cm x 20.3cm)
          Paperback (4.25" x 6.87", 10.8cm x 17.4cm)

          These are the 26 print-ready PDF sizes you can choose with a Custom Theme:

          US Letter (8.5" x 11.0", 21.6cm x 27.9cm)
          8.0" x 10.0" (20.3cm x 25.4cm)
          8.25" x 10.0" (21.0cm x 25.4cm)
          8.25" x 10.75" (21.0cm x 27.3cm)
          A4 Paper (8.27" x 11.69", 21.0cm x 29.7cm)
          8.26" x 11.69" (21.0cm x 29.7cm)
          7.0" x 10.0" (17.8cm x 25.4cm)
          7.44" x 9.69" (18.9cm x 24.6cm)
          7.5" x 9.25" (19.0cm x 23.5cm)
          7.44" x 9.68" (18.9cm x 24.6cm)
          Crown Quarto (7.44" x 9.68", 18.9cm x 24.6cm)
          Technical (7.0" x 9.1", 17.8cm x 23.1cm)
          US Trade (6.0" x 9.0", 15.2cm x 22.9cm)
          A5 Paper (5.83" x 8.27", 14.8cm x 21.0cm)
          6.14" x 9.21" (15.6cm x 23.4cm)
          6.69" x 9.61" (17.0cm x 24.4cm)
          6.13" x 9.21" (15.6cm x 23.4cm)
          6.625" x 10.25" (16.8cm x 26.0cm)
          Digest (5.5" x 8.0", 14.0cm x 20.3cm)
          5.25" x 8.0" (13.3cm x 20.3cm)
          5.5" x 8.5" (14.0cm x 21.6cm)
          5.0" x 8.0" (12.7cm x 20.3cm)
          5.06" x 7.81" (12.9cm x 19.8cm)
          5.25" x 8.0" (13.3cm x 20.3cm)
          5.83" x 8.26" (14.8cm x 21.0cm)
          Paperback (4.25" x 6.87", 10.8cm x 17.4cm)

          Arguably, we should just make all 26 choices available as ebook and
          print book size. Instead, we thought too much like programmers.

          What my decision was a number of years ago was "7 ebook sizes are
          enough for anybody", and so we only supported the 7 ebook sizes listed
          above. However, since people wanted all kinds of print book sizes, we
          just varied the margins to give them those print book sizes, while
          keeping the content area the same size (so that pagination would
          match, so that hyphenation etc would be the same). Now, print books
          still get extra blank pages added so that new chapters start on the
          right, so this is not the same as keeping the number of pages the
          same, but whatever.

          So, we have this m:n ratio of ebook sizes to print book sizes, with
          the following list of which ebook size corresponds to which print book

          Print-ready PDF sizes for US Letter ebook page size (8.5" x 11.0",
          21.6cm x 27.9cm)

          US Letter - 8.5" x 11.0" 21.6cm x 27.9cm
          8 x 10 inches - 8.0" x 10.0" 20.3cm x 25.4cm
          8.25 x 10 inches - 8.25" x 10.0" 21.0cm x 25.4cm
          8.25 x 10.75 inches - 8.25" x 10.75" 21.0cm x 27.3cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for A4 Paper ebook page size (8.27" x 11.69",
          21.0cm x 29.7cm)

          A4 Paper - 8.27" x 11.69" 21.0cm x 29.7cm
          8.26 x 11.69 inches - 8.26" x 11.69" 21.0cm x 29.7cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for Technical ebook page size (7.0" x 9.1",
          17.8cm x 23.1cm)

          Note that this is Technical page size, not the Technical theme. The
          Technical theme uses US Letter paper (8.5" x 11"), ironically.

          7 x 10 inches 7.0" x 10.0" 17.8cm x 25.4cm
          7.44 x 9.69 inches 7.44" x 9.69" 18.9cm x 24.6cm
          7.5 x 9.25 inches 7.5" x 9.25" 19.0cm x 23.5cm
          7.44 x 9.68 inches 7.44" x 9.68" 18.9cm x 24.6cm
          Crown Quarto 7.44" x 9.68" 18.9cm x 24.6cm
          Technical 7.0" x 9.1" 17.8cm x 23.1cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for US Trade ebook page size (6.0" x 9.0",
          15.2cm x 22.9cm)

          US Trade 6.0" x 9.0" 15.2cm x 22.9cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for A5 Paper ebook page size (5.83" x 8.27",
          14.8cm x 21.0cm)

          A5 Paper 5.83" x 8.27" 14.8cm x 21.0cm
          6.14 x 9.21 inches 6.14" x 9.21" 15.6cm x 23.4cm
          6.69 x 9.61 inches 6.69" x 9.61" 17.0cm x 24.4cm
          6.13 x 9.21 inches 6.13" x 9.21" 15.6cm x 23.4cm
          6.625 x 10.25 inches 6.625" x 10.25" 16.8cm x 26.0cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for Digest ebook page size (5.5" x 8.0", 14.0cm x 20.3cm)

          Digest 5.5" x 8.0" 14.0cm x 20.3cm
          Digest, 5.25x8 5.25" x 8.0" 13.3cm x 20.3cm
          Digest, 5.5x8.5 5.5" x 8.5" 14.0cm x 21.6cm
          5 x 8 inches 5.0" x 8.0" 12.7cm x 20.3cm
          5.06 x 7.81 inches 5.06" x 7.81" 12.9cm x 19.8cm
          5.25 x 8 inches 5.25" x 8.0" 13.3cm x 20.3cm
          5.83 x 8.26 inches 5.83" x 8.26" 14.8cm x 21.0cm

          Print-ready PDF sizes for Paperback ebook page size (4.25" x 6.87",
          10.8cm x 17.4cm)

          Paperback 4.25" x 6.87" 10.8cm x 17.4cm

          Again, I think this decision was a mistake. Believe it or not, it was
          done so that we could keep the list of ebook sizes small. But
          instead, we end up with this mess. Also, it means that the print
          books can't be customized as much as they should be able to be, and
          varying the margins is a stupid cheesy hack. It should hopefully be
          reversed by the end of the year.

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