How Do I Know Which Paper Is Best For My Book?

Stacks of Paper at MalloyMany variables exist when it comes to the paper used to make books.  If you are new to book printing, there are a few fundamental facts to keep in mind when choosing the type of paper your text will be printed on.

We carry a wide range of papers suitable for everything from high end color reproduction to economical workbook type paper.

Paper Coatings and Finishes   

Malloy’s standard book papers are un-coated white and off-white sheets.  Un-coated means the paper has no coating applied at the mill where it is produced.  On the other hand, coated papers are of higher quality and suitable to print full color on inserts, dust jackets, and covers.

The papers actually have a coating that helps the ink stand out on the sheet and makes for excellent reproduction.  Books where coated paper is common on the actual pages include text books, catalogs and magazines where there is a lot of color and high resolution images.

Books without a lot of color and more text such as novels generally don’t use coated paper on their pages.  Coated papers generally cost more than the un-coated papers.

Groundwood paper

roll of paperSome paper is manufactured using groundwood.  These papers are less expensive but are not as good in terms of quality.

They contain less refined fibers.  Malloy carries different choices of groundwood paper including high end versions that can be used as economical substitutes for white or off-white offset sheets.  We also carry lower end groundwood papers.

Basis Weights and Bulk  

We carry various basis weights and bulks for the paper we stock.  The basis weight is defined as the weight of 500 sheets (a ream) in a paper’s standard sheet size.  Sheet size can vary from paper to paper.

The weight of the paper determines how “heavy” it is which then translates into how much your book weighs.  Groundwood papers are usually lower basis weight to lightweight papers whereas coated and un-coated off-white sheets are heavier papers.  Often, the weight of your book is an important factor in regards to the cost of shipping or mailing it.

Used Paper RollsThe bulk has to do with the “feel” of the paper and how thick it is.

A measurement for this is known as PPI or pages per inch.  The bulk of a paper can come into play in a variety of scenarios.

For example if you have a book that is relatively short in terms of page count, but you want to make it look thicker, you could choose a paper that has fewer pages per inch, or usually a vellum or antique bulk.

In contrast, if you have a book with a lot of pages and you don’t want it to be too thick, you could choose a paper with a higher PPI or more pages per inch.

Paper and the Environment

Another factor to take into consideration when choosing paper is where it came from and how it was made.  The chain-of-custody (CoC) certifications that Malloy carries are SFI and FSC and soon PEFC.

Chain-of-custody certification insures that the fiber used to make the papers comes from sources that practice sustainable forestry processes.

Most of our papers are SFI or FSC certified and we encourage our customers to use them as well as display the appropriate CoC logo in the books as a testament to the environmental stewardship we support.

For any additional questions about our paper offerings or to get a complete list, please contact your sales or customer service representative.

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