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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?