Best margin spacing for paperback/hardcover?

I loathe when the spacing is too narrow that I have to keep the book’s bent super hard to read it. With that said. Recommended margin spacing for 6x9 and 5x8?


Your printer should have a spec sheet with this information.

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What do you mean? My Printer?

They don’t quite answer your question as they only give “at least” measurements, but then what I would personally do is find a book that seems right to me and measure the gutter margin of it. (?)

I don’t think whether the book is 5x8 or 6x9 is really gonna change anything to the gutter margin as regard to your concern of the book needing to be flattened hard to be able to read close to its center-side page’s printed zone’s edge.

To give you an idea, I have a KDP printed book here.
close to 400 pages
gutter margin is a tad over 0.5’’
and reading it was comfortable.

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So, for example, is 0.7, 0.7, 0.7, 0.65 a pretty normal margin size to use?

I would think so, yes.

more like 0.6-ish maybe.
0.75 seems like a lot

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I am at .7 though. is that too much?

Likely, yes I would say.

KDP says “at least 0.25”
But that’d be too little imo.

Cancel that, I forgot to take the ruler’s edge into account… (It’s late here.)
0.7 should be fine.

How about 0.65, 0.65, 0.65, and 0.55?

You give 4 values, which one is the gutter margin ?

I would go with 0.7 for the gutter margin. That’s the one in the center of the book. Where facing pages meet.

0.75’’ would be pretty safe.
I wouldn’t go above that personally.

But it is your book.
I say measure one that you like and go with that. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be a KDP book.)

→ KDP has a forum too, where likely it’d be a better place to ask.

KDP specs


I’m not actually sure what that translates to for gutter margins. I’m just reading what is listed in Scrivener.

To my knowledge Scrivener doesn’t handle/offer different margins for the outside vs middle/gutter margin.
If you want a gutter margin of a different value than the outside margin, pretty sure you’ll have to further tweak in some other app.
For Scrivener a page is a page. There is no difference in the print zone that takes into account whether the page is a left page or a right page. And therefor no specific gutter margin value.

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You should seriously ask on the KDP forum if you want to be sure.
Perhaps you don’t even have a choice.
Or perhaps they use too much glue and the margin is in reality bigger than what I could measure.
On their forum you’ll find satisfied/dissatisfied people who already went through the process. Learn from them. (Just don’t mind the rude members. – They have a good couple.)

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If you are planning to produce a physical book, then the first step is to decide how you’re going to produce it. That means finding a printer. Whether you’re using a print-on-demand service or a local print shop, they should have a spec sheet that tells you how big to make the margins, how to design the cover, whether you can include color (and how much it costs if you do), and so on.

Yes, it can. Compile → Page Settings → Options, check the “Use facing pages” option. See Section 24.20.5 in the (Mac) Scrivener manual, which also has an explanatory diagram.

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Right right. Sorry about that.
I thought it was only for alternating headers.
I spoke too fast.

I always think that my aim should be something like this: when the book is held open comfortably, the visual span between the two facing text blocks (the valley created by the inner margins) should appear visually similar in width to the outer margin width. Certainly no less.

By way of example, for a recent 400-page 5.5x8.5 book, I resolved to margins:

inside 1in, outside .66in
top 1 in, bottom 1.5

This does create the visual effect I described, meaning that a total of 2in of gutter space between the two facing text blocks, once bent into the crevice of the open 400-page book, presents as a roughly 2/3 inch gap.

I am happy enough with the result in this case, but, if anything, that gap space seems still somewhat grudging.

Still, there are limits to what one can do and still have a reasonable text block size. I find the 5.5x8.5 size very satisfying, so didn’t want to go larger. (6x9 is unpleasing to me for reasons I am unsure of. Maybe for something else, but this was fiction.)

[ The above does not include the extra bleed all the way around that a book printer will ask for. So, the pdf sent in would actually have had a page size of 5.75x8.75 to account for an extra 0.125 bleed area all around. ]

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