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27,730 Views 16 Replies Last post: Sep 12, 2009 6:51 PM by MinervaReef RSS
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Level 1 56 posts since
Jul 1, 2008
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Sep 11, 2008 3:10 PM

Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

I notice a lot of paperbacks have 1.5 line spacing. While I realize there is probably no "standard" I just wondered if anyone else has thoughts about what looks best.

 

The first question most people ask me when I tell them I've written a book is: "How many pages is it?" When you think about it, it's a completely irrelevant question (page count depends on font size, pictures, line spacing, etc.). But the amazing majority of people asking me this right off the bat makes me think I might as well use 1.5 line spacing just to beef up the page count.

 

Might be easier to read too...(but more expensive).

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks

Level 2 214 posts since
Aug 15, 2007
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1. Sep 11, 2008 6:09 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Man, I've never seen a modern book printed with 1.5 line spacing, except for off-the-wall cutesy books.  If you want to flesh out your page count, I recommend using no more than 1.2.  If you're using a program that allows it (such as Word), you can also increase character spacing to to 1.1.  Neither of these changes will be noticeable.  Use a chubby font such as Bookman Old Style, and generous, but not excessive, margins and gutter.

 

Other tricks to puffing out page count include using up a lot of your header area, like a blank space under the header text, then a line across the page, then another blank space beneath the line.  Treat your page numbers (at the bottom of the page) the same way.  Using drop caps may push text off the last page of the chapter onto the following page, as will scooting the text down a bit on the first page of each chapter. 

 

Naturally, you want to start all chapters on a right-hand page, and if it isn't too cloying for your subject matter, preface each chapter with it's own chapter title page (always on the right hand and complete with a blank page on the reverse).  This is an ideal place for illustrations or graphics if appropriate.  If you make your chapter titles large (fancy font maybe), they'll fill up a lot of white space.

Level 3 703 posts since
Mar 29, 2008
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2. Sep 12, 2008 6:40 AM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Printers talk in terms of "leading" rather than "line spacing". The optimal leading varies depending on the font and the width of the line, though there has been a trend over the years toward more leading. For example, Garamond 11/12 pt might have been considered suitable in the past. Now Garamond 11/14 pt might be more normal. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn typography. Some books you may be able to find for free in your local library:

 

Pete Masterson. Book Design and Production. Aeonix Publishing Group, 2005.

Robert Bringhurst. The Elements of Typographic Style. 3rd edition. Hartley & Marks, 2004.

James Felici. The Complete Manual of Typography. Adobe Press, 2002.

The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th edition. University Of Chicago Press, 2003.

Level 2 142 posts since
Feb 22, 2008
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3. Oct 6, 2008 6:08 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

As it happens, I've just posted a blog entry that covers this very topic, among other issues related to industry standards:

http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2008/10/word-about-industry-standards.html

 

I always use the Tahoma font in size 11, set my line spacing to 1.5, and set my gutters wider than industry standard because it improves readability and doesn't require the reader to forcibly flatten the book in order to see the words closest to the spine (thereby ruining the binding).  I've actually received compliments on my books' superior readability; not everyone requires a large-print edition, but many of us aren't fond of squinting, nor of wrecking our books. 

 

It seems to me that most mainstream-published books use font sizes that are too small, along with line spacing and gutters that are too narrow, in order to reduce page count.  More pages = higher production costs.

Level 0 12 posts since
Sep 30, 2008
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4. Oct 6, 2008 6:59 PM in response to: AprilLHamilton
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

getting a little confused, Im getting ready to submit my first book to CS, and their submission requirements dictate line spacing at 2.0 using times new roman, is this not correct?

Level 4 1,324 posts since
May 16, 2008
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5. Oct 6, 2008 7:01 PM in response to: Rudy
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

No Rudy, CS is only bothered about Margin area to be vacant.

 

You can use any style of font and line spacing you want, they are not concerned about that.

 

Though if you do not know much about designing and typography, go with the default settings.

Level 2 142 posts since
Feb 22, 2008
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6. Oct 6, 2008 7:02 PM in response to: Rudy
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Rudy -

Where did you see that?  I just looked over the CS Submission Requirements page and didn't see anything specifying a particular font or line spacing:

https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/BWSubmission.jsp

 

I've published 3 books so far through CS, all with the Tahoma font in 11pt size and 1.5 line spacing.

Level 1 82 posts since
Sep 20, 2008
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7. Oct 7, 2008 8:02 PM in response to: Rudy
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Avoid Times. Not only is it the default font on most word processing software, and overused to the point on being annoying, it's a newspaper font and can cause problems when used for the wider lines of a book.

 

Most books credit the typeface these days, and you can track it down in the Amazon "look inside" in many cases. So check the books you own, or visit the bookstore to explore, or if you're more patient, use Amazon. Some serif fonts you might consider are:

 

Garamond

Granjon

Janson

Caslon

Minion

Columbus

Level 0 2 posts since
Jun 25, 2008
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8. Oct 7, 2008 10:59 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Use 1.5 line spacing: easier to read AND increases page count slightly. Check out a few books and see it in action.

Level 0 12 posts since
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9. Oct 8, 2008 5:31 AM in response to: AprilLHamilton
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

Sorry my mistake, been doing so much research lately must have been confused, But I did read it somewhere, maybe another publishers web site, thanks for the correction

Level 2 397 posts since
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10. Sep 11, 2009 6:59 PM in response to: Rudy
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

11 point Palantino at 1.1 or 1.2 spacing gets a good professional look. I never good beyond 1.2. Maybe try 1.3 but I'd stick with 1.2.

 

-Nate

Level 5 13,354 posts since
Mar 8, 2009
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11. Sep 11, 2009 8:21 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5
I use single space, 12pt Garamond, Justified text, eliminate hyphenation, indents 0.25 inches, Drop caps 3 lines. double space between sections of the same chapter, and I add a 0.063 to my paragraphs to keep them off the trim lines. Oh, I also drop my Chapter head to the 2.25 point. Of course I use Pagemaker 6.5 and not Word (well, I use word to write my manuscripts). Seal
Level 5 13,354 posts since
Mar 8, 2009
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12. Sep 11, 2009 8:23 PM in response to: tinhorn
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5
why start on the right hand page if you have an open left hand page? I can't think of any books I've read recently that left the reverse unused, except maybe a text book somewhere in the ancient past. That may be the standard in hard covers, but I don't recall paperbacks doing that. Correct me if I am wrong, but I use every possible page I can after the front matter and before the back matter. Seal
Level 4 1,317 posts since
Aug 11, 2007
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13. Sep 11, 2009 8:28 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5

A lot of what the spacing is depends on the book and the audience. I'm doing one now where a big audience will be elderly nuns, and am making it 12 pt Palintino with 15 point leading, as their aging eyes need the bigger type. Children's book use large type and wide leading. poetry is often widely spaced; so are "art" books.

 

I agree with April that the gutter (inside margin) of perfect bound books should be wider thanrecommended -- I generally use about 1.125". Especially for a thick book, the inside type will be shadowed if the margin is to small.

 

Double spaced, even space-and-a half,  is WAY too wide for anything other than a specialty book. It ends uop looking like a typescript rather than a finished manuscript.

Level 3 703 posts since
Mar 29, 2008
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14. Sep 11, 2009 9:08 PM in response to: donwrege
Re: Line Spacing - Single vs. 1.5
I've used Caslon at 12/15 and it looks great. To expand on the point I made on this thread a year (!) ago: The amount of leading a book gets has varied over the years. If you look at Victorian books, the leading was actually quite generous. Then, in the mid-twentieth century, especially during the depression and the second world war, books were set solid (e.g., 10/10) to save paper. Since then, the amount of leading has gradually increased. 20% is nowadays normal, but in artsy designs something like 35% is quite common. However, 50% leading would be excessive, unless you wanted to use it for a special effect.

The traditional paragraph indent is an em-space, i.e., about as wide as your type is high. So, for example, if your type is 11 pt., you might indent paragraphs 0p11 or about 0.15 inches. The upper limit would be the leading size, so that for 11/14 type you could go up to 1p2 or about 0.19 inches.

As for margins, the classical proportions assume that the inside margin will be relatively small. However, these proportions were based on huge books. The Gutenberg Bible has a trim size of about 12 x 17 1/2. For perfectbound trade paperbacks of 6x9, my view is that you need to avoid having the reader break the spine to see the type closest to the gutter. I use a minimum of 1 inch on the inside margin, and more for a book above 200 pages.

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