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Quilly Asks About Margins...

... and then hides behind a book because this question is probably asked a lot! Sorry if I'm creating yet another thread for an oft repeated question.


Hello everyone,


Call me Quilly. I'm excited to say that I'm getting ready to jump in here and learn about self-publishing.  

So, yes, that means that I'm quite new to this. I mean, I've been doing a lot of research and reading, but now that I'm trying to put that into actual practice, I've started confusing myself. (I'm pretty good at that. Smiley Happy )


I wonder if anyone can offer my some advice on the proper header and footer, margin and gutter settings for a 200 page book, 8.5x11 Perfect Bound Paperback. I have seen similar posts here, and while they are extremely helpful, they don't quite answer the questions I have right now. This is my first attempt at formatting a book for self-publishing and since it's on behalf of a family member who is working on a limited budget, I would hate to confuse myself, mix things up, and cause extra expense that way. 


I guess what I'm looking for is someone who would be kind enough to double-check my assumptions. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated, really. The downloadable Word template for 8.5x11 Perfect Bound Paperback has margins and gutter as follows: 


Top: 0.7''

Bottom: 0.7''

Inside: 1''

Outside: 1''

Gutter: 0.3''

Header: 0.6''

Footer: 0.6''


Now, my question isn't about differences between programs at all, but here's where things stand now. I've laid out the book in InDesign and have adjusted that document's settings to match the settings of the Word document. If I was only working with text, I would just move everything to Word, but half the book is taken up with photos, so it's probably easier to just leave things in InDesign and go from there. My plan is to create a PDF from the InDesign document. From what I've seen here so far, that seems to be the right (or perhaps simplest) way to do things, yes? 


What I don't know is how the length (number of pages) of a book affects everything. Do I need to adjust anything for a book of 200 pages? I noticed that the manufacturing cost per book is by default for a book of only 100 pages. Maybe I'm over thinking things. 


And about page numbers… I've been assuming that I'm the one who numbers the pages? There's no auto-numbering done by Lulu's Wizard or the printers?



  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    How funny! Your pseudo is very close to Quillie, an episodic character in my sitcom Spiffies and Loonies


  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    I use Header/Footer .5.


    Gutter depends on page count. .3 seems a lot if your book is not over 300 pages.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Lulu does not do anything to your documents, that is up to you. All they do is print and ship and of course list your book on various online sites.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I often use the following >>


    Top: 0.7''

    Bottom: 0.7''

    Right: 0.55''

    Left:: 0.5''

    Gutter: 0.2''

    Header: 0.4''

    Footer: 0.4''

    Gutter: Left


    That's for an A5 with 180 pages. Increase the gutter for more.


    Each dimension affects the others though.


    PS: Word is very able for using pictures in.


  • QuillyQuilly Reader
    Haha. That is funny. Your sitcom sounds like a fun read.

    Thanks! That's what I was wondering about.

    Excellent. Thanks, Shadowmonkey.

    Thank you Kevin, that give me a good reference point. That's exactly what I needed to know.
    Yes, I know that Word is able to use pictures, but the problem isn't Word, it's me. Smiley Happy I've been using InDesign for years and only started using Word a few months ago, so I'm not as familiar with it's capabilities yet.

    Thank you everyone for the fast and informative answers!
  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    There will be a problem with margins when they are reduced to the minimum size because they make reading very uncomfortable, and slightly hide the text on the binding side.

    Conversersely, there can be no problem with margins in the range from 3/4" to 1".

    Mine are equal and about 2cm wide for my books in the 6x9" format.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    There will be a problem with margins when they are reduced to the minimum size


    The minimum size is none  Smiley Happy


    because they make reading very uncomfortable,


    I have not found that. As long as text can be seen it can be read. In fact I have found the opposite with books that for some reason have over 1" margins. It's irritating to the mind.


    and slightly hide the text on the binding side.


    Hence a Gutter, which increases the margin on that side.


    Conversersely, there can be no problem with margins in the range from 3/4" to 1".


    3/4" fair enough. 1" is too large. It leaves too much white space. Imagine such margins on a Pocketbook page for example.


    Mine are equal and about 2cm wide for my books in the 6x9" format.


    0.79"? I would say about enough for that size of book..


    I arrived at my sizes after viewing Proofs. Pages cost money and originally I decided that narrow margins would save cost, but after seeing a Proof I had to adjust the margins because very often parts of the margin get trimmed off! I later had to make them larger again to allow for what seems to be random trimming that started to happen.

    Gutter size I adjust according to page number. The more pages, the larger the Gutter. If a hardback, even larger to avoid a reader breaking its back.


    One has to wonder what some major publishers are thinking because I have just bought two 9.5" x 6.25" hardbacked books and they have 0.75" margins each side and 1" top and bottom, but the text is around 14pnt and the line spacing is around 1 1/12. They are not comfortable reads, mainly due to the line spacing and not many words per line. No where do they state they are Large Print editions for the hard of seeing. (Don't some people own glasses?) Strange.

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    kevinlomas a écrit :

    There will be a problem with margins when they are reduced to the minimum size


    The minimum size is none  Smiley Happy


    LOL Where do you find such amusing remarks?

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