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Side margins must be the same?

The requirements for retail distribution posted on the Lulu site say that margins must be the same.

In traditional printing, books are sometimes made with wider outer margins and narrower inner ones.  I'd like to do this; something like 1.25" on the outside and .75" on the inside.

I'm making a hardbound book of about 110 pages.  I will upload a PDF created in InDesign, not a Word file that will be converted by Lulu.  The required .3" gutter will be included when I set up the InDesign file.  If I uploaded a file arranged like this, would it actually be rejected?  Or is that 'requirement' basically a guideline that works for most books but can be disregarded as long as there is no danger of cutting off any text (i.e., margins are well beyond the .5" minimum)?

Comments

  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    edited February 9
    As a rule I set up a margin equal both inner and outer then add in a gutter measurement [adding to the inner margin to counteract shrinkage due to the binding process].

    As for doing the setup the way you're talking about being rejected, either Paul or another admin will have to chime in or you'll have to try it to find out.
    The requirements for retail distribution posted on the Lulu site say that margins must be the same.

    In traditional printing, books are sometimes made with wider outer margins and narrower inner ones.  I'd like to do this; something like 1.25" on the outside and .75" on the inside.

    I'm making a hardbound book of about 110 pages.  I will upload a PDF created in InDesign, not a Word file that will be converted by Lulu.  The required .3" gutter will be included when I set up the InDesign file.  If I uploaded a file arranged like this, would it actually be rejected?  Or is that 'requirement' basically a guideline that works for most books but can be disregarded as long as there is no danger of cutting off any text (i.e., margins are well beyond the .5" minimum)?

  • It occurs to me that Lulu may have been thinking in Microsoft Word terms when it set up those requirements.  In Word, for a two-page spread you set the margins and then add a gutter setting (which has the effect of narrowing the text block to compensate).

    InDesign doesn't have that same special setting.  The only way (AFAIK) to get Lulu's example of 1" margins on both sides plus .3" gutter is to set the margins to 1" outside and 1.3" inside -- which are technically unequal margins. 

    Can someone confirm that this is the right way to set things up in InDesign?
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The requirements for retail distribution posted on the Lulu site say that margins must be the same.

    One has to wonder at such rules. I am sure no one examines the millions of books published each week or even day, to check if they do follow that rule. What is important is that the margins allow for the trimming so as the edge of the text does not get hacked off.

    In traditional printing, books are sometimes made with wider outer margins and narrower inner ones.  I'd like to do this; something like 1.25" on the outside and .75" on the inside.

    That could just be the way it looks because some of the inner margin is often within the binding. 'Hidden'. 1.25" is very large. Far too large. Use 0.75" for both sides, and as previously said, set a Gutter for the edge that will end up in the spine. The Gutter size can often depend on the number of pages, but as a rule I use 0.20". Once bound the margins do look equal.

    I'm making a hardbound book of about 110 pages.  I will upload a PDF created in InDesign, not a Word file that will be converted by Lulu.

    Lulu's convertor will normally still work on it, because the PR PDF is of a specific type. (The Wizards will also only accept a PDF of a specific type.)

      The required .3" gutter will be included when I set up the InDesign file.  If I uploaded a file arranged like this, would it actually be rejected?  Or is that 'requirement' basically a guideline that works for most books but can be disregarded as long as there is no danger of cutting off any text (i.e., margins are well beyond the .5" minimum)?

    Your 1.25" outer margin is too large, anyway. Rejected or not.

    But this is handy >  https://www.thoughtco.com/gutter-in-graphic-design-1074466

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Kevin, thank you for the comments.  1.25" may be too large for the outer margin, or it may not.  It has to be at least 1", for reasons too long to explain here.  I'm experimenting with a few fonts for the body text; if the one I choose sets narrow, so we end up with more than 65-70 characters per line, one way to deal with this is to increase the outer margin. You're right that margin variation can result from binding irregularities, but there is no question that large outer margins are one traditional design approach (see, for instance, the extensive discussion of page proportions in Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style).

    You're right that Lulu can't inspect tons of books every day for margins etc.  So I'm probably safe just increasing the inner margin by .2" (yes, better than .3" for a 110 page book).  All I need to know at the moment is that I won't have to go back to square one and rework the design because Lulu doesn't like the margins.


  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Kevin, thank you for the comments.  1.25" may be too large for the outer margin, or it may not.

    It is well above 'normal'.

      It has to be at least 1", for reasons too long to explain here.

    Well it would be interesting to know the reasons why.

      I'm experimenting with a few fonts for the body text;

    Do note that unless embedded in to a PDF then you need to stick to Lulu's 'standard' fonts. But do not forget that it does also have to be easily readable, no matter what font you pick.

     if the one I choose sets narrow, so we end up with more than 65-70 characters per line, one way to deal with this is to increase the outer margin.

    Why does that matter? But I don't think you have said what size pages you are creating.

     You're right that margin variation can result from binding irregularities, but there is no question that large outer margins are one traditional design approach (see, for instance, the extensive discussion of page proportions in Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style).

    Hrmm. I have just looked within that book and he places subtitles in to the margins. There's no real need to copy that style at all. In my opinion it just wastes space, in what is an expensive media. Print on Demand. The pages also seem to be full of images of typographic styles which are not the actual bodytext. He also uses a very strange double column copyright page. (It is also a large and thick book.)

    You're right that Lulu can't inspect tons of books every day for margins etc.  So I'm probably safe just increasing the inner margin by .2" (yes, better than .3" for a 110 page book).  All I need to know at the moment is that I won't have to go back to square one and rework the design because Lulu doesn't like the margins.

    I doubt they will because I doubt they will actually look. It's the distributors such as Ingrams that may object. But I doubt that also.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • I think the wording is both a little poor and geared toward MS Word documents. Also, don't overthink it. For what it's worth, I write all my manuscripts in LibreOffice, with a left (inner) margin of .85 and right (outer) margin of .60. I work from a very specific and detailed template I created and have never had a problem with either Lulu or CreateSpace.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    But basically you are simply adding the equivalent of a .25" Gutter to the inner margin. Gutter is actually a generic term, and whatever WP is used and whatever they call it, there's usually an option to create one.

    https://www.thoughtco.com/gutter-in-graphic-design-1074466

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • I can verify that the documentation is largely created with MS Word in mind.

    And as Kevin said, it's unlikely that anyone is actually checking the margins when we send your book through distribution channels. I think the reason retails request this is simply so they have a basis to reject a book if they get complaints about inconsistency.

    I'm not well versed in InDesign, but this guide does mention how to manipulate the gutter value and may be helpful - https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/creating-documents.html



  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I myself use Word because it has all that most self-publishers require to create a book, and it is comparatively cheap. The Save As PDF option also works well for upload to Lulu Wizards.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

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