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The Ideal Type of Book Paper for Printing

Aside from knowing the ideal book trim size, one of the most often asked questions from new authors or writers is what type of book paper is suitable for their material. It is a decisive determinant in determining the look and feel of an author's completed book. However, this may be a perplexing and daunting question for someone who doesn't spend their days in a print shop.

What is book paper?

It is also referred to as a publishing paper, which is specially developed for printing books. Traditionally, book papers have been off-white or low white (making them easier to see), opaque to minimize text show-through from one side of the page to the other, and manufactured to stricter caliper or thickness requirements case-bound volumes. Book papers are lightweight paper weighing between 60 and 90 g/m2 and are often defined by their caliper/substance ratios (volume basis).

What is gsm?

Before delving into many kinds of paper, it is necessary to grasp the concept of gsm. If you have purchased paper, cards, pamphlets, business cards, posters, or any advertising material, you are likely to encounter the word gsm. As mentioned earlier, this phrase may assist you in specifying what you precisely want when purchasing any of those.

Gsm is an abbreviation for "grams per square meter." It enables you to consistently and adequately order the materials you need for book printing. The gsm value indicates the weight of the paper.

Different gsm for book

Similarly, you may want to print a book on beautiful coated matt paper. Without knowing the gsm of the paper on which the book will be printed, you may have issues with show-through, spine measurement, the book's feel, and the final weight.

For instance, a bible is typically printed on a paper weighing 35 and 50 gsm; a mass market paperback is often produced on paper weighing between 75 and 80 gsm, and nonfiction books are printed on 80 to 100 gsm. If you are publishing a photobook or a book with tons of pictures (children's books, recipe books, etc.), the paperweight should be between 130 and 170 gsm.

Types of Paper

Coated Types of Paper

It is generally reserved for publications with a large number of illustrations or photos.

  • 115 gsm Coated- gloss/ matt

The lightest gsm coated paper, which is ideal for books with drawings or photos of any kind. This paper type is used for monochrome and color inserts that serve as plate portions inside your book. Due to the low gsm of this paper, it is ideal to use if your book has more than a hundred pages.

This type of paper is ideal for nonfiction genres, keeping the book's weight to a minimum and a high-quality book at a reasonable price.

  • 13o gsm Coated- gloss/ matt

As the type of paper gets heavier, the page count of the books decreases to keep the book's weight down. This specific gsm of paper is an excellent compromise between a densely packed book (nonfiction) and a standard picture book. If your book has more than a hundred pages and you desire coated paper, it is probably better to go with the 115 gsm since the final book will become rather hefty.

This type of paper is ideal for most nonfiction books, any books containing drawings (whether in color or monochrome), and children's books.

  • 150 gsm Coated- gloss/matt

This type of paper is ideal for book photos or publications with a high proportion of color and monochrome pictures with less than a hundred pages. This is a high-quality paper that will give your book an exceptional feel.

It is ideal for nonfiction publications with many images or photos, premium books, and photobooks.

  • 170 gsm Coated- gloss/matt

One of the most luxurious paper options for a book's internals is an exceptional paper best suited for those unique picture albums or any book that you want to last for a long time. Due to the paper's high gsm, this paper is much more durable than the previously mentioned paper types.

This type of paper is ideal for photo books with high-end publications and a children's book that needs sturdy paper.

Uncoated Types of Paper

Versatile use across almost all book genres.

  • 80 gsm- Opaque

One of the most often used kinds of paper. It is smooth, a plain white paper comparable to what you would use to print papers at home. There is some show-through, but it is hardly noticeable until one side is heavily printed.

This type of paper is ideal for nonfiction and poetry books, maintaining a reasonable price and lightweight for the book.

  • 80 gsm- Bookwove White

This type of paper is similar to those seen on most books; they are not as smooth as opaque paper options and contribute to the bulk of the book. Compared to pure white opaque paper, the book wove paper is an off-white paper that seems cream. It is ideal for all fiction books.

  • 80 gsm- Bookwove Cream

It is similar to book wove white; although book wove cream paper is still appropriate for all kinds of books, it is most often used for novels. Any color printing on the cream paper will have an inferior copy.

It is suitable for fiction books, particularly novels, and for authors and writers who want to add a classic vibe to their book.

  • 100 gsm- Opaque

This is similar to 80 gsm, except that it has a heavier weight. This gives your book a more luxurious feel and allows for less show-through than 80 gsm paper.

It is ideal for nonfiction books, adding a quality feel to your book, and any book containing drawings, photographs, or any colorwork.

  • 100 gsm- Recycled

This paper is comparable to 100 gsm opaque paper; however, it is not relatively as smooth and, since it is recycled, it is not entirely as white. It is excellent for imparting a sense of luxury to your book, similar to the opaque paper quality type, but with the additional benefit of being completely recyclable.

It is ideal for every work (either fiction or nonfiction), wanting to add a quality feel to the book and eco-conscious.

If you’re looking for a professional book marketing and advertising company, Paper Bytes is the one you can rely on. Call us today at (888) 309-7588 or visit our website at

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