Book cover dimensions for hardcovers.
Setup for book cover dimensions, for the cover wrap, in InDesign.
Book cover dimensions … we are getting technical here, but we find that book cover dimensions are a source of confusion for many people. Let’s slog through it together.
Hardcover book cover dimensions may differ among printers. The designer needs a measurement template to use for book cover dimensions for any hardcover book. Ask for the measurements, or a template from the printer who will print the books. The cover file is a separate InDesign file, so do not include it with the book’s interior text pages.
Cover wrap is not the same thing as a dust jacket!
This page is about the cover wrap only. See the yellow cover wrap in the photograph to the right.
There is a cloth cover wrap and a printed cover wrap. A dust jacket is a loose paper that folds around the book, and the flaps are tucked into the front and back cover. We manufacture standard and French fold styles.
Hardcover books can be bound with a printed paper cover wrap, cloth, or a number of other materials. A cover wrap is the printed paper or material that is glued to the boards of a hardcover book. There is extra margin that extends beyond the cover. This margin wraps over the top, bottom, and outside edges of the book. The cover wrap glues onto the boards which make up the front cover, back cover and spine. The cover wrap fold over the boards of the inside front and back covers.
Then, the endpapers cover the outside margins of the cover wrap. The endsheets, also called ends or endpapers, will glue over those margins on the inside front and back cover.
Working with hardcover book cover dimensions.
When a hardcover book is 9″ x 11″, we are stating the dimensions of the page. The boards extend out farther than the page dimensions. That measurement can be slightly different depending on the printer or bindery.
If a book is 9″ x 11″, the cover wrap file span the front and back cover, spine, plus the extra margin which is usually 15 to 20 millimeters. Again, the margin folds over the boards to glue to the inside covers.
In the USA, book designers are typically working in units of inches. However, in Europe and Asia, we work with millimeters. So, here is what we need you to do to make it easy. Let’s say we are still working with that 9″ x 11″ hardcover book. We will send you a document that shows the book measurements in millimeters. You can change millimeters to inches in InDesign Preferences.
Setup the document with the cover wrap measurements/template.
Let’s look at these book cover dimensions. The measurements depend on the page count and thick of paper stock and boards. Let’s assume we supply a template to you for a 9″ x 11″, 196 page book. In millimeters, it will look similar to the following. Note: On the pink shaded diagram below, you will see that the book cover dimensions are not to scale. The 3 mm adds to the outside edge as if it were a bleed. It is not. Instead, it is the fold over the thickness of the boards.
Let’s translate this into an InDesign document to print.
- Either right click on the rulers to change to millimeters, or go to Edit > Preferences > Units & Increments. Change the horizontal and vertical to millimeters. Click OK.
- Under File > Document Setup, set the width to 532.45 mm, and the height to 322 mm. Ignore the Bleed and Slug settings.
- Then go to Layout > Margins and Columns. The diagram should a 15 mm margin plus a 3 mm fold over on all four sides. Enter 18 mm in top, bottom, inside, and outside. Notice that the spine measurement on the diagram is 20.45 mm. In the same dialog box, set the number of columns to 2, and the gutter to 20.45 mm.
- We still need to account for the 3 mm fold cover, so we will do that with the guidelines. Just left click on the rulers to drag guidelines. They should be set to 3 mm less than the margins. That little 3 mm space is to show the top, bottom and sides of the boards. The InDesign layout will look like the following. It is to scale for this book size.
See this handy fractions, inches, MM conversion chart.
The layout in InDesign:
The extension of background art:
The background needs to extend all the way to the outside margins. The cover wrap is folded over the boards and glued down.
The PDF with printer’s marks:
After the PDF is made, this is what the cover wrap PDF will look like.
The printed cover wrap that is glued to the front cover, back cover, and spine:
The cover of the book, as seen on the finished physical book, will (fold over the board) to end at the pink lines. The rest of the background is folded over the boards and hidden from view.
We hear quite a few questions about book cover dimensions for cover wrap. We hope this explains book cover dimensions, but if any questions arise, feel free to call us!