Book Packaging Ideas…say what?

Book Packaging IdeasProfessional book package and book packaging ideas are terms that publishing professionals toss around on a regular basis. In fact, The Cadence Group offers a full range of book packaging services. Here’s the thing, a lot of authors don’t actually know what goes into packaging and what it all means. And who can blame them? It’s a very loose term that encompasses so many different things in the book production process.

So what does Book Packaging really mean?


  • Cover – The cover is the design of the wrapping paper of your book package. A professional book cover design is key to your book’s success. Make the wrapping professional, readable, and eye-pleasing.


  • Interior Layout and Design – The interior layout and design is the construction of your package. This has to do with the interior fonts you choose, whether or not you have sidebars, running heads, page number location and, very important, margin size. When a consumer opens the book, you want it to be a pleasing book reading experience. It has to look good but it also has to read well.


  • Price – A key part of your book package is your price. What is a reader willing to pay for your package? Price should always be set based on category and competition. All too often authors and publishers get talked in to overpricing their product to make more money. You will make more money if you sell multiple copies at a competitive price versus no copies of a book that is priced too high for the category and content.


  • Title and subtitle – The title and subtitle is how your package is named. If you publish in nonfiction, it can be fun to come up with a funky, funny, odd, stand-out title which is great! However, make sure your subtitle is very clear about the content of the book. You want the reader to “get it” right away. For fiction, you have some room to be a little more creative with the title and then message through imagery alone. This is because part of the fun of fiction is not knowing exactly what’s between the pages. For nonfiction, you want the consumer to know exactly what your book is about and how it will help them.


  • Format – The format is how your package is  the actually wrapped for the reader. Common formats are paperback, hardcover, mass market paperback and eBook. We generally suggest that the reader always have an eBook to sell along with the print edition of the book. We also often steer authors away from publishing in hardcover unless they have a very clear reason to do so (specialty edition). Hardcovers are much more expensive to produce and therefore are often priced a little higher for the price-conscious consumer.


  • Printing – The printing is how your package is manufactured for the consumer. The two most common types of printing used today are offset printing and digital printing. Offset printing and short run digital printing still have a superior end result than most POD digital presses.


  • Paper – Paper is the guts of your package. Depending on how you are printing your book, you may have one or two (or several) paper options. Carefully consider paper weight (thickness) and color (bright white, off-white, crème, etc). Books with color (2-color or 4-color) are often printed on a higher weight of paper to hold the color. 4-color coffee books are often printed on heavy (100 #) paper with a gloss finish to pop the color. When it comes to paper, don’t over think it! Print to your category and competition. Your basic trade book is printed on either 55# or 60# white or off-white paper. Always ask for a paper sample from  your printer (this applies to POD as well) so there are no surprises.


  • Cover copy – This is the messaging of your package. Your back cover copy is your pitch to the reader to buy your book. It’s important to be clear, concise, descriptive and creative in your copy. Remember to include endorsements if you have any!


Just remember when you’re busy bouncing book packaging ideas off of your friends, family, colleagues and publishing team that the package is really the finished and full product! Each of these pieces is key to the professionalism and success of your end product – which should be a really great book!


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