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Printing Templates & Guides

Printing the cover of a book comes with very specific needs for the design. There are a variety of factors that influence the layout of every cover, including the width of the spine and the gutters and bleed. Further, paperback designs are formatted quite differently than hardcover designs. This article specifically discusses paperback print layouts/templates.

The final page count (which determines the width of the spine) and the trim size of the book are primary factors in the initial setup of the cover.

Below is a simple diagram (based on an Amazon KDP paperback template). LightningSource/IngramSpark templates are similar in appearance, but with a few cosmetic differences (blue guides instead of red for example). An interesting fact to keep in mind is that a KDP template and LS/IS template for the exact same book (trim size, page count, etc.) typically have a few differences that have to be accounted for in the design. So if you’d like to print with KDP and LightningSource/IngramSpark, please let us know so we can discuss formatting the layout for both and additional cost. Likewise, hardcover templates vary from both printers, so those must be evaluated separately as well.

A standard paperback KDP template layout, with added explanations.

Want to learn more about print layouts? Visit our article on trim sizes here.