Book Size Matters
Books more commonly come in three of the different, standard sizes or formats in Australia. How and why you choose the size you do is your decision as an Author. However, there are some things to consider when you are thinking about the overall look and feel of your books.
Hardbacks tend to be larger in size with smaller print runs and are often for New Release titles. Hardbacks are looked at as serious books. They can vary in size however they are mostly the same as a Trade Paperback. If a publisher puts enough stock in a book to print hardback; it must be good. Even though this statement is not necessarily true; this is how critics in the industry often view it.
New Release can also come out in Trade Paperback aka. C Format (135mm wide x 216mm high). This is a large paperback format and tends to have a larger font size as well. This is the traditional size major Publishing Houses tend to use. It makes an impactive face/ front cover out on shelf for the bookseller and they can afford to downsize it to a B Format in six to twelve months.
The B format (130mm wide x 198mm high). Our friend B fits snuggly on the shelf and in your hands, it lends itself perfectly to large series and back list titles. B Format is by far the most popular size for published books in Australia. B Format is also referred to as a “drop-down” by booksellers because of the drop-in size from Trade format for New Release titles.
Then there is the cousin no one talks about: A Format paperback (110mm wide x 178mm high). I can almost hear the collective intake of breath across the Australian literary world as I type the words. So, what’s wrong with the A Format paperback? Booksellers don’t like them. They sit strangely on shelves. They tend to be over inflated and look like a brick. Apparently, European booksellers love them; Australian booksellers don’t. They just don’t fit in your hands the same as a reader and they stick out amongst the neat little B Formats and look unruly. If you want to have your book in store in Australia this is not the format for you however if you are targeting the European market it is ideal.
The best advice you can get at the end of the day is – research. Research your target market, talk to your local booksellers and look at the shelves in store; in the genre you are writing in. This will give you an excellent idea of publishing size when it comes to your book.
NB: In the US Trade Paperback is the same size as the Australian B Format