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  • Writer's pictureDevon Noel Lee

Size Matters for Family History Books

When dreamed of writing a family history book, did you stop to consider what size you wanted that book to be?

Today, I will cover some of the standards in the publishing industry so that you make the best decisions about what size book fits your family history.

When you review a bookshelf in your home or at a library, you should quickly observe that books come in various sizes, but the sizes are typically rectangular. Occasionally you’ll find a few square books.

Since that is the case, you can actually publish your family history book in nearly any size and rectangular shape you want. But, the more you size your book away from industry standards, the more the cost of printing your book increases.

Therefore, what are the standard-sized books?

What Country is Your Book Published in?

The first question you have to answer is, where will your book be published? The first thing to recognize is that US self-publishers use inch-based measurements. By contrast, UK self-publishers use mm-based measurements. Additionally, the US discusses measurements based on width and then height. UK providers are the opposite.

US Standard Book Sizes
US Standard Book Sizes

UK Standard Book Sizes
UK Standard Book Sizes

Who is Your Reader?

While there are common publisher sizes, how do you know what size will work for your project?

The best advice is to keep your reader in mind.

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If you visit a library or bookstore, what sizes do romance novels tend to be? How about sci-fi or horror books? What about children’s chapter books?

While there are some slight variations in size, the books tend to be very similar. That is because readers seek what is familiar, and subconsciously book sizes fall into that recognizable category.

Various Book Sizes

If you look at this graphic, you’ll see a variety of possible sizes. The arrangement from small to large can also help you consider your reader.

The wide and large books are often chosen by genealogists because they want to include large maps or other images. However, who is your reader? If your reader is a small child, can they hold the book easily?

If your reader is an adult and the book has 300 pages, do they have space for a 14x11 book on their shelf? Can they carry it around?

Keep your reader in mind when choosing your book size.

If you are publishing a larger-sized book, perhaps you want to include fewer pages than a medium or small-sized book.

4 Common Family History Book Sizes

Of all the available options, here are three size recommendations:

  • 6x9” / 229x152mm - If you have more text than graphics, this size works best. This format is also best suited for writing an individual or a few different people that tie into one cohesive story.

  • 8.5x11” / 279x216mm - If you have more and larger graphics, choose this size. If want to publish a multi-generational story, this size also works best.

  • If you have many photos and little text or you want to print larger images, then perhaps a photo book size:

    • 11x8.5” / 216x279mm

    • 10x10” or 12x12”

Keep in mind the above sizes are not hard and fast rules.

Depending on the publishing company you use to create your book, you can use non-standard sizes if you wish. Do recognize there will be an added cost to the production of your book if you choose those options.

More Self-Publishing Family History Tips

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