How do I make my book feel thicker?

Sometimes a book that does not have many pages will benefit from being a little thicker to give it more perceived value. This is often easily be achieved by just increasing the paper weight, but the disadvantage of doing this is that the paper cost increases proportionally and the overall weight of the book also increases proportionally which may have implications for your book price and postage.

Have you thought about changing the kind of paper you use instead of just expensively increasing the grammage?

90% of paper used by printers are standard woodfree coated or uncoated papers. Over the years, these papers have become smoother and silkier to the feel which keeps the printers and their customers happy because the printed result looks and feels great. The only problem with the smoother look and feel is that the paper is thinner than it could be, and this works against some of the basic requirements for a book.

I propose that you consider the other 10% of the paper world – the papers that are maybe a bit rougher with more texture, but are bulkier and will give your book a nicer feel. What’s more, it can be cheaper to choose these options!

So what are these papers?

Well, instead of using a standard woodfree uncoated paper (some call this offset or bond paper), consider a bulky bookwove paper. And instead of using a gloss or silk coated paper, use a lightly coated matt paper. It may be that by careful paper selection you can choose a lower grammage of paper, and actually increase the thickness of your book!

Other advantages:

Paper glare makes reading uncomfortable

These bulkier papers also have another critical advantage when we are talking about books and that is readability. Bulkier coated papers are less reflective and so you do not get any uncomfortable glare or shine when reading lots of text. Even better, the bulkier uncoated bookwove papers are not as bright white, they are off white, slightly grey or creamy, which if you have ever spent a lot of time reading a novel you will appreciate. Even the Kindle and other ebook readers acknowledge this be simulating a greyer or off white background for their pages.

In addition, because these types of paper have less coating content, they make for more strongly bound books and they are more recyclable.

So, if you are producing a book, my advice would be to think seriously about these bulkier papers, not only are they better for your pocket and the environment but they make your book look and feel great and make them stand out from the crowd.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any of the above or suggest improvements to my blog.


David Exley


Written by David Exley

David has an Honours Degree in Printing and Packaging Technology and has worked in both technical and sales roles in both the Paper and Printing industries for over 25 years.