When choosing the best paper stock for your upcoming book, let your content – not your conscience – be your guide. (Ok, maybe your conscience, too.)

Are you printing a 275-page novel with no photos, but a bunch of words? Or are you self-publishing a photo journal of a recent wildlife safari?

Ultimately, your book’s purpose should drive the paper choice.

Setting cover stock aside for now, there are typically two main options to decide between for your interior pages: uncoated and coated.

  • Coated paper stocks are sealed with a sort of liquid and clay material that prevents the page from absorbing excess ink, and instead allowing it to rest crisply atop the paper. Dependent upon the finish, coated papers are frequently used for projects featuring a lot of images and photos. Coated papers tend to be more durable. They are subject to fewer tears, and are highly resistant to dirt, stains, and water damage.
  • Uncoated paper stock does not restrict absorption. Its porous nature allows the ink to soak into the page, resulting in a surface that is premium real estate for a plethora of text. Uncoated paper also has more texture and is easier to write on than coated pages.

Start with Your Finishes

Paper stocks can be categorized in a number of different ways.

Paper stocks can be categorized in a number of different ways.

Coated stock, for instance, is classified first by its finish. Various options providing various sheens. Two of the most popular include:

  • Gloss: Incredibly smooth, a gloss finish bounces light back at its source, and can spotlight a vast range of tones on a page. Gloss finishes help an image to leap from the page and are ideal for photography. Pages with an abundance of text, however, may be challenging to read.
  • Satin: Offering less shine than a gloss finish, satin finishes deliver sharp and lively colors.

Qualities of coated stock also fall into different classifications and receive a number based on the following factors.

  • Brightness: A stock’s brightness refers to the sheer “whiteness” of the sheet – the higher the number, the brighter and whiter the page. Both coated and uncoated paper stocks are rated for their brightness. Coated papers with a brightness level of 90 to 100 are considered premium stock and allow light to bounce from the page, creating a vibrant image.
  • Opacity: Your paper stock’s opacity refers to its transparency. A higher number means less transparency, and less show-through of your text.
  • PPI: “Pages Per Inch” helps you determine the thickness of your paper. A high number indicates a thinner sheet.

Common Uses for Different Stocks

As mentioned before, the best paper stocks for books that are image heavy or feature color printing are those with a glossy or satin finish. Children’s books with lavish illustrations and graphic novels with dynamic splash pages might benefit best from this paper style. A premium print quality should also be selected for heavy ink coverage and critical color.

Uncoated paper is the go-to for novels and memoirs, as well as journals which require written notations directly on the page. Standard quality printing is ideal for text-heavy books and those with non-critical color artwork.

Let’s Talk About Weight

It can be so easy to get lost in the weeds regarding the weight of your paper stock. Here’s what you need to know, at least at first glance:

Paper weights are often listed as the following: WEIGHT 50#, 60#, 70#, 80#, 100#.

Just remember: the lower the weight, the thinner the sheet. The higher the weight, the thicker the sheet.

If using uncoated paper, a 60# stock is a common standard. On the other hand, if using coated paper, 80# gloss or satin is commonly selected. This, of course, hinges on the project’s size, shape, and page count – and, obviously, personal preference.

Gasch Printing provides all of the tools and trade knowledge, including our book specifications guide, to help you take the necessary steps for a quality product. Once you have chosen your specs and uploaded your files, we take care of the rest. You maintain complete control of all intellectual property. We simply handle printing a high-quality book that you can be proud to show your friends, family, customers, or business associates.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more!