# How to Calculate A Book Trim Size and Page Count

There are many ways to go here. There are common sizes of book ranging from about 4.25 x 7.5″ up to 9 x 12″
Different subject matters lend themselves better to certain sizes. What is your book’s intention? Is it supposed to be a guidebook, or a coffee table book?

One thing that is important to do early on is to establish a character count for the manuscript. the best way to do this is to separate front matter (title page, table of contents, etc) and back matter (index, apendixes, etc)
from the manuscript of the book. Then determine an average number of characters per line. If your manuscript is done on 8.5 x 11″ pages, count how many lines total in the entire manuscript and mutliply by the average character per line. Deduct all lines that will be Headlines, as those will be figured in perhaps with a larger number of characters (or space) attributed to them. Once you have this number you can determine how many pages at a given size your manuscript will fill up.

Next you can be thinking of these elements in terms of the space that will be available.
•Will there be photos? Illustrations? What are the desired final
sizes of these photos. Will they bleed? Will the photos be throughout
the copy or will they be a separate photo section. Will this photo
section be part of the total page count or a separate unit? What
about captions? Do you have caption copy? Some photos may look just fine
as quarter pages in an 8-1/2 x 11 trim but need to be full page in a 6×9 book.
•Is there more copy to come? Charts, tables, art, figures?
•Is this the final edited manuscript? Will the character count be real?
•What will make up the frontmatter and in what order will
it apppear?
•Do you have all of the frontmatter?
•Do you have all of the backmatter. Will there be an index?
•Will there be color? Throughout or just in certain signatures?
•Will there be bleeds?
•Have all elements been marked clearly?
•Will all openings begin new rights, or new left and rights?
•In cases such as cookbooks for example, pages will be dictated by type of copy, not by quantity of copy. A new recipe may be required to start a new page regardless of its length. This may also be true in certain types of educational textbooks. Once the subject is covered, a new page starts, regardless of how long the subject was.

Once you’ve combed over these questions above, you should be close to getting an accurate page count which will be necessary to know early on in your process whether you are self publishing or working with a publishing house. Either way, you or they need to establish a trim size and page count to do your financial planning, choosing a printer/binder, along with potential catalog copy and advance promotional materials for your book.

Check with your printer/bindery early on in the process so as to design proper margins according to the style of binding you will use. Paper stock choices have an effect on thickness and overall appearance. Make sure you choose the right type of paper for your project.

As always, there may be more questions, which is why I am always available to discuss your project needs by email at mpugh@houchenbindery.com or toll free at 1-800-869-0420.