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Contents Quick Reference Page Layout Children's Book Family History School Yearbook Poetry Art Book Novel Self-Help Getting Started Editing Choosing a Book Size Choosing a Binding Style Software Image Formats Scanning Book Structure Front Matter Copyright Page Acknowledgments Dedication Table of Contents Foreword / Prologue Core Matter Margins and Bleeds Page Numbering Headers and Footers Font Sizes Font Choices Back Matter Index Registration ISBN Copyright LCCN Cover Design Make Your Own Book Cover Barcode BISAC Codes Cover Coatings Submitting a Book Submitting Files Marketing Creating a Strategy Promotional Ideas Things to Consider Miscellaneous Glossary Papers Yearbook Templates
Getting Started
Choosing a Binding Style

The decision of which binding style to use for your book can be critical to your book’s success. Each genre, whether it is Children’s, Family History, Poetry, or Fiction (to name a few), each has its own preferred binding format. This is not to say you must choose which binding format is most popular, but we recommend you should consider the reason why each genre has it preferred binding style.

Below is a list of the most common genres and the recommended binding styles for each:

Children’s Book

The vast majority of Children’s books are produced using the quality softcover format, although some absolutely have a preference for the hardcover format. The main factor for the popularity of the softcover format is price point. The low production cost means authors will usually see a higher profit margin from the sale of their book. Also, a softcover book is cheaper to ship than the heavier hardcover format. Bookstores are also less interested in hardcover books, as they take up to 3 or 4 times more valuable shelf space in the bookstores.


It is most common to see a work of fiction as a quality softcover book. Some authors choose to split their order to produce a minimum number of copies in the hardcover format (25 copies), and the remainder of the order in the quality softcover format. The quality softcover format is preferred mainly because of the lower production price (and lower retail price) for this style of binding.

Family / Community History

The majority of Family or Community History books are produced in the hardcover format. The two cover options available in the hardcover format are the foil-stamped and printed cover options. Of these two cover options, the foil-stamped option is the most durable mainly due to the genuine cloth-based cover material used in the construction of the cover. This book cover material is available in several colors in both a linen and leather finish.

Generally if the page count of your book is in excess of 400 pages, we recommend the most durable foil-stamped cover option. This will ensure the book will last for generations. The printed cover option is usually reserved for books with fewer than 400 pages. While the quality softcover option is used, it is not recommended for books in excess of 500 pages in the most common 8.5” x 11” page size.

A dust jacket is an available option when choosing either the printed hardcover, or the foil-stamped hardcover options.


While the majority of poetry books are produced in the quality softcover format, approximately one-third of the poetry books are produced in the hardcover format. As with novels, many authors choose to split an order and produce a minimum number of hardcover, and the remaining copies in the quality softcover format.

Memoir / Autobiography

The style of binding chosen for a memoir / autobiography depends whether the book will be sold to the general public, or distributed only to family and friends. If the book is strictly for family, the hardcover format is the most common choice. If the book is to be sold to the general public, the quality softcover option is the most popular.


It used to be that the only binding format used for cookbooks was spiral binding. While this is still the most popular choice because of the ability for the book to lay open flat on a table, the quality softcover format has grown in popularity in recent years. The main reason for this is the hesitation of book stores to stock a spiral bound book because of the absence of the title printing on the spine of the book. If the spiral bound book is placed on the shelves with only the spine showing, people browsing the shelves would not be able to identify which book it is. This will dramatically reduce your books sales potential. The quality softcover book on the other hand would be easily identified with the title clearly printed along the spine of the book.

School Yearbooks

School yearbooks are most often produced in the hardcover format, but some schools prefer the softcover, or spiral bound formats. Of the hardcover options, the printed hardcover (otherwise known as a case-wrapped cover) is the most popular. The printed hardcover allows student artwork or photo images to be printed on the cover of the yearbook. The cover is then finished with a durable gloss or matte laminate finish. The other option available is the foil-stamped option. This consist of text or line images foil stamped in either metallic gold or silver on the cover.

Art Books

Both the hardcover and softcover binding formats are popular choices for art books. Both the printed cover, and foil-stamped option are available for art books in the hardcover format. Oversize options such as 11” x 11” and 11” x 14” are also available in the hardcover format. The largest format available in the softcover format is the 11” x 11” book size.

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