How important are a book’s specifications to you?
A larger format with bigger print can be a boon for those just emerging from the experience of squinting throughout 544 pages of Great Expectations, however “handy” a size it comes in. But scaling up in font and trim size can also result in a book that’s cumbersome to hold and tote around. Then, there are other considerations, such as artwork and length of text. Bearing in mind exceptions to the rule, I generally wouldn’t imagine that a heavily-illustrated volume would suit the narrow confines of a smaller format, and neither would a very short manuscript in a generously sized novel, unless for very early readers.
For Tea in Pajamas, a relatively short novel only comprising slightly over 10,000 words, I knew a large trim size would entail having too many words on too few pages—not an effect I was going for. With that in mind, I even wondered if the most common industry standard of 6″ by 9″ would still be too large. For me at least, the ideal format would enable a comfortable flow of text and still accommodate several illustrations along the way.
Nonetheless, my book designer and I experimented with several sizes—6″ by 9″; 5.5″ by 8.5″; and 5″ by 8″, as reflected below in descending order of size.
In the end, I decided to go with 5″ by 8″, which will look close to the printed mock-up below—something compact yet easy to read, hopefully the best of both worlds.
What do you think? Do you favor certain book sizes over others?
Upcoming: artwork sketches and excerpts.