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Children's Hardcover Book Printing: Five Things to Consider

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Books for young children require different features and construction elements than other types of printed books
Children's Books must be designed to capture and hold the attention of a child. Unlike traditional books, books for children have minimal text and rely on colorful pictures and illustrations to guide the story and encourage imagination.

Equally important is the physical construction of the book - it must be hard-wearing to withstand heavy use and rough handling.

As a book printer, I wanted to pass along five things to consider when you are planning to produce a professionally-printed book for children...

1) The Cover

Children's books are generally made with a durable hard cover that is printed in full color. The thick, hard cover extends the life of the book and protects it against the rigors of frequent handling.

Vibrant full-color is the most desirable choice for the cover of a child's book because it attracts and maintains attention. Also, the cover is often laminated with either a high-gloss, matte or soft-touch finish. This laminate coating helps protect the book against spill, stains, and scuffs.

2) Interior Pages

Like the cover, the interior pages of a kid's book should be printed in full color. Some book printers only offer the option of black and white interior pages, so make sure you find a printer that offers full-color printing. Let's face it, a picture book in black and white just won't have the same allure (or marketability) as one printed in full color. The thickness and sheen of the pages will also affect the quality of your finished book, so be sure to discuss these options with your printer in advance.

Also, when writing for children, the page count is intentionally kept low because of a child's short attention span and the need for a simple story. So make sure the printer you choose can bind hardcover books with a relatively small number of pages - some can't.

3) Artwork

As mentioned earlier, the use of full color is crucial when writing a book for kids. Using colorful pictures and illustrations as focal points will convey more meaning than text to a young child, especially if they are not yet able to read. This is why many children's books are designed using large pictures and illustrations to convey the distinct elements of the story.

Many children's book authors possess the ability to create expert artwork themselves. But if your drawing skills are lacking, find a graphic artist who can professionally illustrate your book. Don't let poor illustrations hinder an otherwise enchanting story.

4) Size and Orientation

Determining the physical size of your children's book is something you should research during the early stages of design. There will likely be certain sizes that will be more prevalent and more economical to produce than others. For example, 8.5" x 8.5", 8.5" x 11" and 11" x 8.5" are popular sizes. It is not recommended that a book for young children be created in a small size. A medium or large book is much easier for young eyes to survey and for small hands to manipulate.

Another consideration is whether the orientation of the book should be portrait, landscape, or square. Portrait mode refers to a book with a height greater than its width and the spine of the book runs along the greater dimension. Landscape mode refers to a book with a height shorter than its width and the spine runs along the shorter dimension. Of course, Square books have the exact same dimension for both width and height.

All three orientations are popular, but in my opinion Landscape mode is the orientation better suited for a young child's book. This is because it provides easier handling when the book is shared - such as when a parent sits with the child to read the book. However, not all printers can produce hard cover books in landscape mode.

5) Quantity to Order

Once a children's book is ready to be printed, determining how many books to order will depend largely on the book's intended purpose and target audience.

For example, a grade school teacher may wish to create a story book based on his/her school or community. In this instance, the book's distribution would be limited. So, the teacher will likely only need a relatively low number of books, not thousands of copies.

Even if a book is planned for a much wider audience - like a book to be distributed commercially - there are benefits to starting out with smaller production runs until the demand for the book becomes more apparent.

My general recommendation is to find a printer who can economically produce your custom hardcover book in smaller quantities - like 100 or 500. This will allow you to market your book and develop sales outlets without tying up too much money upfront. Then as sales climb, the book can be purchased in larger quantities to meet demand.

Formax can economically print your hardcover children's book using full-color throughout, with a durable laminated cover, in just about any popular size or orientation, and in production runs as low as 100 books.

So if you've authored a book, have your specifications finalized, and are ready to go to print, give Formax a call at 866-367-6221. Or, submit our easy quote request from by clicking here. As always, we look forward to assisting you!

Take care! Keith


About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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