Page counts

On this page, we'll explain how to accurately count pages for printing, show you why we do it in multiples of 4, and highlight some of the exceptions to this rule.

Counting your pages

You might think counting your pages is straightforward enough, but without fully understanding how interior pages work in the printing process, it can be easy to make mistakes.

Your book, booklet, catalogue, or magazine will follow a particular page count style. Page one will always start on the right-hand side, and each side of the paper will count as one page. So, on the other side of page one is page two (now on the left-hand side). Page three is on the right, page four is on the other side, on the left, and so on.

Our instant price calculator tool counts pages in increments of 4 for you. You need to make sure the file you upload has the same page count, otherwise you’ll end up with extra pages.

You can always include blank pages in your final project if required. Please note that blank pages will factor into your overall page count.

Page numbering example

Why are page counts given in multiples of four?

Most types of binding require booklets to be printed with interior pages in multiples of four. This is because the pages aren’t printed individually, but rather on larger sheets, called ‘parent sheets’.

Depending on the size of your booklet, the parent sheets will hold 8, 16, or 32 pages. If your document’s page count is not a multiple of four, there will be blank pages printed in order to make the page total a multiple of four.

After printing, the parent sheets are folded in a specific way and inserted into your booklet, with three sides trimmed to allow for flipping. See our A4 portrait booklet opposite as an example.

This “multiple of 4” rule is only used for perfect-bound, case-bound, and saddle-stitched bindings.

Example of folded interior pages

Cover papers

The parent sheet/multiple of four approach outlined above also applies to adding a cover to your booklet.

Simply use the first page of your booklet as the cover. The page count will remain the same in our price calculator.

Cover papers example

Exceptions

Hardcover books are exceptions to the Multiple of Four rule.

If you’re printing a case-bound hardback book, the extra end papers are included free of charge.
These pages cannot be printed on.

This makes the first printable page of a hardback book page three–the first right-hand inside page.
Page two (on the left-hand side) is left blank and is made from white or black paper.

Below is an example of a white endpaper (also sometimes called an endsheet)
White endpapers in a hardcover book

Page count limits

For certain binding types, there are limits to the number of pages you can include.

Staple bound booklets, for example, can only go up to a certain number of pages, or a total thickness of paper. This is because a staple can only physically hold together so many sheets of paper at once.

Once you exceed that limit, we need to use perfect-bound binding instead. In perfect binding, the pages are glued against a rigid spine. This allows for a higher number of pages.

Your print job must meet a minimum page count or paper thickness before we can use perfect binding. Otherwise there won’t be enough sheets of paper to glue to the spine.

Fortunately, our instant price calculator works this out for you. It prevents you from selecting perfect-bound as an option until you have enough pages or the required thickness of paper. The calculator also alerts you and automatically switches your product from staple-bound to perfect- bound when you exceed the limits of our booklet staple binding.

Our instant price calculator starts at a minimum of 8 sides, and goes up to 400. We can go higher on request. Contact us for a bespoke quote.

This is an example of a stapled brochure, which is also called "saddle-stitched"
Staple bound booklet
This is an example of a perfect bound brochure
Perfect bound booklet
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