Why Can’t My Book Be 6 X 9?


book-1281238_1920 In a Facebook group I administer, the question of trim size has come up.  (Mainly because I rashly claimed that 6 X 9 was not an acceptable trim size for most books.)

This started off a firestorm of questions and requests.  “What trim size SHOULD my book be?” was the main thread throughout.

So, I decided to do some research by category. I cannot tell you what trim size YOU should make your book, as a publisher, that is your call. However, I have gone through the USA TODAY bestseller list, the Amazon top-sellers and the NYTimes bestseller lists and have compiled a list of the most common trim sizes that they all have. When there was an even split (or close) I reference both.  Many of the trim sizes were SOOOOO close to sizes available at Ingram Spark and Create Space so if they were a 10th of an inch or less “off” I have referenced the  available sizes.

What is clear, is that the major houses are not using 6 X 9 in any meaningful way… and if you want to emulate a successful publishing house (hint: you do….), then you should consider the following trim sizes.

In NO particular order, here are the most common trim sizes of book genres in the current bestselling lists:

General Fiction  5.25 X 8

Thrillers/Mysteries  5.25 X 8.25 OR 5.5 X 8.5

Women’s Fiction  5.25 X 8.25

YA General Fiction  5 X 7 OR 5 X 8

YA Dystopian, Fantasy, and SciFi  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.5 X 8

General Self Help  5.25 X 8

Inspirational/Spiritual  5 X 8

Memoir  5.25 X 8

Reference (writing, editing, etc) 6 X 9 (See?  I can admit when I am wrong!) and 5.5 X 8.5

Mid Grade Fiction  5 X 8

Early Chapter Books  5.25 X 7.5

Picture Books HC  11.25 X 9.25

Picture Books PB 8 X 8 OR 11 X 9

Board Books 6.25 X 6.25

Business  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.25 X 8

The bottom line is this…

Go to your local bookstore and get on-line.  See what the major houses and YOUR biggest competition is doing with their trim sizes.  You can still choose to print in any size you wish, but you should know what the market is looking for right now.  Buyers are human and like things that look like previous successes.  Why not borrow from that phenomenon where you can?




18 Comments to Why Can’t My Book Be 6 X 9?

  1. Joy Freeman says:

    Wow how interesting. All of my non fiction are about 5 x 9. The one that is not is 5.5 x 8.5

    But maybe this is a very new thing and perhaps I have not bought too many recent books.

    I am disappointed because with close to 300 pages, that makes the book more expensive to print given it will be more pages at a smaller size.

  2. Good article. Thanks! What about paperback trim size to fit a shelf at an airport?

  3. B.G. Jenkins says:

    Thanks for all of the information, Amy. It is very helpful.

  4. Kali says:

    Great article, Amy. Wondering where cookbooks come in size-wise? What’s the recommendation? I’m not sure where they fit in.

  5. What if the “picture book” is a spiritual/inspirational? Should it be 8×8 or 11×9, or instead 5×8? This book is meant inspire and educate the reader with images of artwork as well as text. But the artwork is meant to be the bulk of the book content. Also, is there a minimum page count so that the spine is fat enough to be seen at a distance?

  6. You’ve got me thinking now. I wonder what PNR romance and Chicklit Romance sizes are?

  7. Fascinating! I didn’t realize it varied so much and/or along genre lines.

  8. I’m about to publish a business book — you indicate that business books should be 5.5 X 8.8 OR 5.5 X 8 but neither CreateSpace nor Ingramspark offer either of these two sizes but both of them can print books that are 5.5 X 8.5. Is 5.5 X 8.5 acceptable for business books?

  9. Priceless information, Amy. Thank you so much.

  10. Thank you! I believe I am going to spend the money to re-tech my book with Balboa at this point, from 6×9 to 5×8 for spiritual self-help.
    Very glad to be taking this class and benefitting from your wisdom.

  11. Well, I went to the library and found the shelf with books of the same subject (UFOs) and found numerous sizes including larger than 6 x 9. I found a shelf spacing of about a foot. I suppose there are some libraries with shelf spacing less than 9″ but aside from those few (?) I would expect that the book would not be rejected because of size.

  12. Richard Grant says:

    Thanks for going to the trouble. You’re a good gal to ride the rivers with.

    Richard Grant

  13. Nora Hall says:

    This is a tremendous help. thanks

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