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October 28th, 2014

Different Paper Types for Book Printing

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by David Rogers

Paper Types for Book Printing

An important choice you’ll make about your book printing project is the paper type you will use as the inside stock of your book. This will define the look and feel of your book along with your binding type and cover stock choices.

If you take a look at the paper options on our quote page, you’ll see quite a few options for “Inside Text Stock.” However, understanding a bit about these different kinds of paper and how they will affect your specific project will make the decision fairly simple.

Two Primary Paper Types: Coated v. Uncoated

The type of paper you choose will be divided into two general categories: coated and uncoated. As the names describe, coated paper has a coating applied to the surface of the paper – uncoated does not.

For most projects, we recommend going with a gloss paper for books that have numerous photos and uncoated paper for books that are consist primarily of text.

The coating on coated paper keeps the ink on the surface of the paper until it dries. This reduces dot gain – ink expanding a bit after it is applied to the paper – allowing for higher ink density, finer line screens and faster drying. Therefore, photos print sharper and with more contrast on coated paper.

Uncoated paper, on the other hand, has more texture (and allows for more texture options) than its coated counterpart. Most novels are printed on uncoated paper, which makes text easier to read, in part because there is no glare created like there is on coated paper. Additionally, because of the coating process, coated papers are thinner than their uncoated counterpart (even at the same paper weight). This thicker paper can make novels easier to handle and the pages easier to turn.

It should be noted that though these paper type guidelines are typical of many books we print, none are hard and fast rules. Sometimes book customers desire the look of photos printed on an uncoated page, or text printed on coated paper. The final decision is up to you depending on your desired aesthetics for your project.

Other Considerations When Choosing Coated v. Uncoated

- As mentioned above, coated papers are thinner than uncoated papers at the same paper weight. This also can leave them more susceptible to cracking when folded.

- Uncoated papers are available in a variety of paper types, including textured finishes such as linen or laid.

Types of Coated Paper: Gloss v. Satin

If you choose to use coated paper for your book, you have another choice to make: gloss or satin.

A gloss finish is a bit shiny, while a satin – or matte – finish does not have the same shine. The choice between the two again depends on what you want the final look of your project to be.

Choosing the Right Paper Weight for your Book

After choosing the right paper type you’ll need to choose the best paper weight for your book. Paper weight is such an extensive and complex topic that we’ve created a separate article for it, but we wanted to touch briefly on some recommendations here.

For most books with uncoated paper we recommend 60# (pound) uncoated text paper. For most coated paper we recommend 100# gloss or satin text. These recommendations can vary depending on the dimensions of the book and the number of pages, but the are a good guide for most projects.

To find out more about how all of this will affect your particular project, give us a call at 888-664-8166 or email us at bestbook@colorwise.com.