How to measure a book for printing

What is the size of the book you want to print? Perhaps it doesn't confirm to a standard size? Here's a quick and easy guide to measuring book dimensions.

Measuring your book

Materials

  1. The book you want to measure
  2. A ruler of sufficient length
  3. A sturdy, flat object
  4. A flat surface to work on

This guide is for measuring a portrait book.

Steps

1. Minimise movement

Lay your book on a flat surface. Line your book up against a wall or a sturdy flat object, like another book or a stiff cardboard box. Start with the longest side of your book lined up against your sturdy object. This will help to make your measurements more precise by minimising movement.

2. Measure the width

With the long edge of your book lined up against your sturdy object, place your ruler down on the flat surface. Then place the short edge of your ruler against the sturdy object, with the long edge flush against the bottom of your book. This will tell you the book’s width.

Measuring the width of a book

3. Measure the height

Pick up your book, turn it 90 degrees, place it back down on the flat surface and line up the short edge of your book against your sturdy object. Then place the short edge of your ruler against the sturdy object, with the long edge flush against the bottom of your book. This will tell you the book’s height.

Measuring the height of a book

4. Measure the spine

Keeping your book lined up against your sturdy object, set your ruler upright with the shortest edge touching your flat surface and the long edge lined up against the spine of your book. You can then measure from the flat surface up to the top edge of the spine of your book.

However, when printing your book with Mixam, we recommend using our Spine Calculator to calculate the perfect print file size.

Measuring the spine of a book

Top Tips

Always measure to the nearest millimetre.

For a hardcover book, the cover extends approximately 3 mm past the book block (interior pages) on each side. So, for example, the cover of an A4 210mm x 297mm book would be approximately 213mm x 230mm. Make sure to keep this in mind!

To calculate the spine width of your project easily, use our Spine Calculator tool in the Artwork Dashboard of your order.

Once you figure out the dimensions of your project, you can use our instant price calculator tool to see how much it will cost to print.

Common book sizes

You may find that the book size you want to copy is actually one of many industry standard sizes (although some popular book products, like Penguin paperbacks, have their own unique sizes too).
It’s always a good idea to measure the book to be entirely sure.

If your book doesn’t match any of these sizes, that’s okay! In this case you’ll need a custom size, which you can easily order from Mixam.

You can enter custom sizes on our price calculator or contact us with your specifications and we’ll get you a bespoke quote.

Ready to get started?