Do you have an ideal number of pages for your print books? Or do you want to add or reduce the pages in your books?

Perhaps, the genre that your book falls under has a standard range of pages and you want to meet this expectation. Or maybe, you want to lower printing costs so you want to cut down some pages. Or you feel that your book will look too thin on a bookshelf and thus, you want to increase the number of pages.

The reasons for adjusting the number of pages in your books are endless. There is also no right or wrong answer. The key is what can you do to achieve this.

Here are 7 ways on how to increase or decrease the number of pages in your paperbacks and hardcovers.

[Self-Publishing Tips] 7 Ways To Manipulate The Number Of Pages In Your Print Books

1. Word Count

The most obvious way would be increasing or decreasing your word count.

To increase your word count, you can elaborate more or add more details to your scenes. Or if an incident was mentioned but never shown, you can choose to fully write it out. This also applies to past memories or flashbacks. In other words, flesh out the scenes (rather than summarizing them as brief one-liners).

On the contrary, you can delete insignificant or meaningless scenes if you want to decrease your word count. You can also sum up the entire scene in a few sentences or simply shorten them to a few paragraphs.

Bear in mind that you should always use enough words to convey the story.

Photo by on Pexels

2. Trim Size

Adjusting the trim size is another way to manipulate the number of pages.

A bigger trim size will allow more words on a page while a smaller trim size will have fewer words on a page. The former will thus reduce the number of pages and cut printing costs while the latter will increase the number of pages and drive up printing costs.

I recommend that you choose a standard trim size. For instance, if you use Amazon KDP and IngramSpark to sell print books, do check that your preferred trim size is available on both sites for the correct format (paperback or hardcover). Also, do order a proof copy so you can experience how the book feels in your hand.

Note that changing trim size might require a new book design cover. You probably also need to change your manuscript’s paper size.

Reedsy - Fiction Trim Sizes

Source: Reedsy

3. Font

Changing font might add or reduce the number of pages in your book.

But I feel that the impact might be smaller than adjusting font size.

However, I still encourage you to test it out and see if it helps you achieve your goal.

Note that you should always use a legible font. Ensure that your readers have a comfortable experience when reading your print books.

Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

4. Font Size

Do increase or decrease the font size of the body text and you’ll probably see a change in the number of pages.

Personally, I feel that body text with font size of 10 to 12 is okay. If it’s too small, your readers might have to squint their eyes to read and you don’t want to make it difficult for them to read your book. Font size of 16 and above are more for large print books.

And a bonus tip: consider varying the font size by 0.5~

Photo by Ann H on Pexels

5. Line Spacing

Line spacing, as its name suggests, refers to the vertical space between rows of text.

The amount of line spacing really depends on the font and font size. I strongly suggest that you test various line spacing and print it out so you can see exactly how it looks on paper.

For me, I tested line spacing of 1.15 to 1.25 against various font sizes and chose the combinations that made it easy on the eyes to read (at least, for me). It takes a lot of trial and error and I strongly recommend that you test print a few pages of your manuscript with the various combinations. If you test it out on proof copies instead, it’ll be more expensive.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels

6. Margins

You can adjust the top, bottom, inside and outside margins to fit more or less words on a page and thus, affect the number of pages in a book.

However, remember to adhere to the minimum margins recommended by your printer (eg. Amazon KDP). If your margins are too small, your words will appear too close to the edges of your pages and might be accidentally cut off.

Note that outside margins are the left margin on the left page and the right margin on the right page. Inside margins are in between the two facing pages (near the side of the book that will be bound). Hence, inside margins should be bigger and wider than outside margins.

Remember to use mirror margins!

Photo by Katrina_S on Pixabay

7. Front & Back Matter

If you don’t want to touch the main content of your book, you can consider editing your front and back matter instead. These are the pages that come before and after your story, such as

  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Also By
  • About The Author

Some pages are essential like Title Page, Copyright Page and About The Author. But some pages are optional. You might choose to add or remove some of these pages to meet your ideal number of pages.

Check out my book anatomy blog post for more front and back matter pages~

Photo by marysse93 on Pixabay

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have any other tips or solutions for increasing or decreasing the number of pages in your print books? Feel free to share them with fellow writers~


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Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

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