Choosing the Right Book Paper for Your Book Printing

What’s the right book paper for your book printing? It’s a common question, and it’s not easy to answer. It really depends on each publisher or artist’s preference, and there’s obviously a lot of variation in design and style from designer to designer. Plus, Bookmobile offers eighteen choices of interior text stock to choose from—that’s not common for a short-run digital book printer.

What’s the most popular book paper for black and white interiors?

By far, it’s our 60-lb. cream trade book at 436 PPI (pages per inch). For poetry, academic titles, and novels, it’s the number one choice, and least half of our books print on it.

Book Paper

American Appetites, from the University of Arkansas Press, printed black on 60-lb. cream.

Second in place is our 50-lb. Boise offset white at 520 PPI, which is the most common choice for bound galleys. It’s an economical choice; our 50-lb. cream trade book high bulk antique is the same rate, so also keep that in mind as an option.

Book Paper

Faces in the Crowd/Sidewalks (a flip book), from Coffee House Press, printed black on 50-lb. natural.

What’s the most popular book paper for color interiors?

Our color book interiors split into two camps: coated paper versus uncoated paper.

For coated stock, the most common choice is our 80-lb. matte- or gloss-coated white at 510 PPI. It’s a good weight with good opacity. The smooth surface of the stock is a plus for reproducing artwork with a lot of detail. However, EVA binding glues don’t adhere well to a coated stock, so we will use use our PUR binder for these runs—a PUR glue has a stronger and more flexible bind for coated papers. We also offer matte- and gloss-coated white stock at 70- and 100-lb. as well.

Book Paper

Robert Smithson’s New Jersey, from the Montclair Art Museum, printed color on 80-lb. matte coated.

For uncoated stock, the most common choice is our 80-lb. white opaque smooth at 382 PPI. It’s also a good weight with good opacity and is smooth (though not as smooth as coated stock) for good print coverage. Uncoated stock is a great look for color printing, and it’s gaining popularity. Uncoated stock also offers a nice contrast to our color printing’s characteristics. We use Xerox 800/1000s, and with heavy coverage the result is rich tones, which stand out on an uncoated paper.

Book Paper

Works on Paper, by the artist Richard Lange, printed color on 80-lb. uncoated white.

We do have clients who print color interiors on our cream or natural uncoated stocks too. Depending on your content, it may be the right choice for you.

Book Paper

Relatively Indolent, but Relentless, by the artist Matt Freedman, printed color on 70-lb. natural.

What’s the most popular book paper for the cover?

Hands down, it’s our 10-pt. C1S (coated one side) cover stock, with a gloss or matte lay-flat film lamination. Another option is the 12-pt. C1S, but really, 90% of the books we produce use the 10-pt.

Still wondering what book paper to choose?

Get a quote! Budget is always a factor when choosing a book paper—the heavier the weight, the higher the cost.

Ask me for a paper stock sampler! Just let me know your address. And lastly, we’re always happy to send a 10-page test print to you as well, so you can see the paper firsthand before proofs.