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print book document dimensions

New Here ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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Hi, friends! Today is that day when I come here once again asking for help on getting cover document dimensions right. I make a few books for writing clients per year, and seemingly every time, I have all my document dimensions matching the template from the self-publishing platform (in this case, Lulu.com). And yet, when I output, the doc is too large by either .3 inches or .6 inches, roughly.

 

I'd be so grateful if someone could, proverbially, teach me to fish on this one. I'll attach the InDesign file. The .pdf template/guide is on a layer. Specs are there. Margins match @ .5 ", bleed matches @ .125 ". Pages are 5x8.  I'm just stumped why the total dimensions don't add up.

 

When outputting, if I pick "use document bleed settings" I'm too wide by .6 inches. If I clear that options, I'm closer, but still .3 inches too wide. 

 

Thank you!

Ben 

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Community Expert , Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

If you're using a template, follow the template — and you should have an exact size for your output. If you're coming out with a document that matches the template size but is too large, then you have a mis-sized template. If you're coming out with a document that is a different size from the template, you're most likely doing something wrong in the export step.

 

The only unknown in this is spine width, which should come from a calculator or template generator at your specific book producer. (G

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Participant ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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Just use 1 single page and not 3 facing pages together.

The pdf you are referring too is not included.

See attached v2.

 

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New Here ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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Thank you. The PDF is on a guide layer. But no matter. The was increasing--astoundingly--because I was including crop marks and bleed marks at output.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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If you're using a template, follow the template — and you should have an exact size for your output. If you're coming out with a document that matches the template size but is too large, then you have a mis-sized template. If you're coming out with a document that is a different size from the template, you're most likely doing something wrong in the export step.

 

The only unknown in this is spine width, which should come from a calculator or template generator at your specific book producer. (Generic ones, or ones for other services like KDP, won't be accurate.)

 

So your height should be 8 inches plus 0.125 inch bleed top and bottom, or 5.25 inches.

 

Your width should be 5 + 5 + exact spine width + 0.125 inch bleed left and right. (Some printers ask for a bit more 'wrap' bleed.)

 

You can lay this out as one page/panel, but I'm a huge advocate (convert) for the 3-page layout method. The latter should make it easy as you can adjust the spine page to the exact spine width, and change it as needed.

 

The front and rear cover pages should exact size, 5x8 inches. Set up document bleeds of .125 all around. Your export to PDF should be that exact calculated size above. DO NOT include crop or bleed marks, as the printer doesn't want them... and including them will include some variable amount of space making the document an oddball larger size. (When you export docs with crop marks, you have to look at the document properties to get the actual doc size, ignoring the overall layout size... but the easy way to deal with that is not to export marks at all for digital production layouts like these.)

 

Does that make sense?


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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Thanks, James! It was indeed the crop marks. (The spine width, like all other values, was matched to the template, generated from a particular interior page count.) I'm astounded that marks would increase the document size.   

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 26, 2024 Jun 26, 2024

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It's normal/expected for the export to add space to put the marks outside the printing area. This throws a lot of designers who are carefully looking at the resulting doc size and not realizing that (1) yep, marks do add some X-Y size and (2) most digital print services don't want crop marks and thus don't allow for them in the overall doc size specification. (Or, although it would be useful to do so, mention this.)


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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