Each book is unique, and different types of books are suited to different types of paper stock. There are so many options to choose from when sending your book to print. Coated, uncoated, GSM… These terms may sound abstract but don’t worry, we’re here to simplify them for you.
What is GSM?
GSM stands for grams per square metre, and is directly related to the weight of the paper. A higher GSM means that the paper is heavier. The following are the GSM of some types of paper used in commonly-found printed products:
- 45-55gsm: newspaper
- 60-90gsm: medium-weight books, generally trade or mass market paperback
- 100-140gsm: heavier-weight books, photographic paper
- 130-170gsm: children’s books with illustrations
Coated or Uncoated paper?
These types of paper serve different purposes.
Uncoated paper is most common, can be used for a variety of genres, and is generally less expensive. However, it can be somewhat transparent if it is smooth and has a low GSM (80-100), especially if you have heavy printing on one side of the page, like rich illustrations or photographs. It is suitable for printing poetry books and some non-fiction books, and can appear to be higher quality if the GSM is higher. You can also choose between certain types of paper in cream or white, and some printers may also offer the option of using recycled paper – though you should remember that this will affect the look and quality of your book.
We generally use coated paper for books with lots of imagery. This is so that the ink does not seep through the page, and brighter tones are produced. Non-fiction books, children’s books and photo books are commonly printed on coated paper. Using coated paper does add to the weight of the book, so paper with a higher GSM may not be ideal for books with a large number of pages.
How can Preflight Books help?
At Preflight Books, we can help you to choose the best type of paper for your book based on our experience with a wide variety of formats and genres. We know which printer will do the best job for your book, which ensures that you will always get a quality product at the end of the publishing process.