The table gives a rough relationship between word count and page for different types of book. There are a number of assumptions such as the design and layout of the book, the number of quotations and much more. This is based on practical experience. A more theoretical approach is set out below that would be useful if you are making a mock-up.
Matching word count to your page
To get an idea of what your book will look like you need to match the number of words per page on your word processor page to the finished printed page. This is an art rather than a science but here are a few tips.
Lines per page
For paperbacks you get 25-50 lines per page with 35 being a good average. This line count includes blank lines between paragraphs as well as lines with just a single word.
Words per page
At one extreme you get large print books with 250 words on the page. Academic books might put 600 words on a page with works of reference squeezing in 1000 words. A good working average is 400.
These figures represent continuous words with no blank lines or breaks. In practice you need to subtract 15-20% from the page word total once the white space is taken into account. This gives you 200 (large print), 500 for an academic book with 350 words per paperback page as a working average.
To put these numbers in perspective, if you type with a font size of 10, you could be packing nearly 1000 words on each A4 page - which would make nearly 3 paperback pages.
All this relates to the standard paperback size book. Pages come in many sizes and it often makes sense to opt for a larger page format to reduce the print costs.
There are some examples of page count from books we publish.
How to match the page sizes
There are 2 ways:
Notes: Figures based on:
How to convert your file give it 'the book-look'
If you 'select all' (supported by most software) then adjust the font size using the chart, you will discover the number of pages your book requires.
You would be unwise to have your whole book as a single file. Computers do not like files much bigger than 100 Kilobytes. (They can handle very large files but this sort of operation might upset the very old machines - windows 95 era - or take an extremely long time to carry out.)
Be patient. It will might take a minute to resize and adjust the layout of your chapter or book and Word can be come unstable if you ask it to do too many things at once.
If you are planning to make an index, and plan to use your word processor, you will need to layout your document with page breaks to match the print layout.
There is another fancy trick.
Having made the font size bigger of smaller to get the look and feel of the book, you might be able to use the fancy software that came with your printer to reduce it and print 2 or more pages on a single A4 sheet. The output might be very close to the finished size but you will still need a guillotine to cut the pages to size.
Having dismissed the notion of adjusting the page shape, it is possible to set the aspect ratio (height to width) to a print page format you want. However, if you check your bookshelves you will find that books vary enormously in size and shape.
There is a powerful numeric logic behind this truth. The European paper sizes have 3 basic sheets, named A, B and C. These are then folded (halved along the longest side) to give A1, A2, A3 etc for the A0 sheet size. The A0 has an area of 1 square metre.
The chart below lists the common book page size aspect ratios. If you are a perfectionist you can adjust the margins to match the paperback size you want. (More about book sizes)
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