Self Publishing with Marathon Press: Setting up document for interior pages

Self Publishing with Marathon Press: Setting up document for interior pages

This is a continuing series on Self Publishing tips for authors looking to go the “DIY” route. Marathon Press is a short run length digital book printer.  We are not a book publisher, but we print projects for many smaller to mid-sized independent publishers and organizations producing special editions. We do not provide editing and design services for books, but often work very closely with our client’s freelance or contracted editors and designers to help assist new authors on their journey. Getting in touch with us early in the process helps the production part sail more smoothly to completion! We often see a pattern of many of the same questions and issues which we will try as much as possible to address in this series. Today we’ll cover some of the true basics for getting started setting up the interior pages of a book.

Interior Page Requirements
All interior pages should be in one single PDF file, first page to last, in a single-page format (no spreads).
Keep in mind that “page 1” of your text is a right hand facing page.
Keep all pages the same size.
The margins must be at least .5 inch around the outside edges of the text block and .75 inch on the inside edge.
Margins, headers and page number should be positioned consistently throughout the book. Make sure page numbers are not too close to the edge of page.
Text bleeds should be .125 inch.
All fonts must be embedded.
No additional printer’s marks should appear in your final PDF file.
Your PDF file is considered print-ready, so please preview the file to check it’s correct before submitting to us.

As Shakespeare wrote: “To be or not to be?”,  we know that he was really just asking whether you want your book project to look like a college thesis or have a more beautiful, inviting layout with ample use of  white space, improving readability.

We hear this question frequently from self publishers making their first book.  Attention to details like this will help set your project apart from the pack of self published titles that never gain traction due to poor design. We’ve created this basic, brief post to give you some guidance and a few ideas on setting margins for some of the standard page sizes.

From a printing perspective, our answer is quite simple: Typically allow at least 0.5” on all 4 sides, and in some cases, perhaps the spine (gutter) margin should be atleast 0.75”
Always add 1/8” beyond final page size extra for any page that bleeds off the edge.
See diagram below:

If you just follow a printers parameters for margins it will be fine, but it’s possible your text layout may end out looking more like a college thesis instead of an interesting read that I’m sure you hope for.   Filling the page too much without leaving the right amount of white space makes reading more difficult .

Consider “mirrored margins” .

Mirrored Margins
If you open up most professionally produced novels or trade editions, you will typically see that outer and inner margins are not equal measurements, and that left and right hand pages “mirror” each other. You will typically also see that top and bottom margins are not always equal. Here’s a few examples of some of the standard sizes that yield good visual results.  Note the below examples are right hand side pages .


Designing with a Crossover Image

Capturing Moments by Eric Albright

Note the curvature of the binding on a perfect bound book

Here’s some tips for designing with a crossover image

Keep the main subject in images from crossing the spine.
Avoid trying to use a group photo as a crossover picture. It doesn’t look good  for someone’s head or face to be in the spine.  Keep text away from the spine. If you have a headline of copy you want to crossover,  align the text so that the spine is between words. If that isn’t possible, use a large bold font that will be less noticeable than an italicized or thin scripted font.


Click Here to start a project quote inquiry!

If you would like to schedule a free consultation call to discuss options for printing, or any particular questions we can help you with, I welcome the opportunity to hear from you!


Martin Pugh


(402)-371-5040  ext 289



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Free Consultation for Individuals & organizations!

When it's time to print your book, let us be your guide!
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With over 30 years of Book Publishing experience, Marathon Press has helped thousands of clients self-publish anywhere from 20 to 50,000 copies of their book titles. Marathon has worked with several of the top names and organizations in the photography and photobook industry.

Wire-o Bound Booklets and Calendars

Twin Loop, Mechanical Binding

Wire-o Binding for Calendars, Cookbooks and more!
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Some of the style variations we offer are: *Soft cover Wire-O, *Hard cover Wire-O and *Concealed Wire-O (both hard cover and soft cover) * Twin Loop with Calendar Hanger

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Sizes from 8 x 8 up to 14 x 19" !

Layflat Albums
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Marathon’s Layflat Albums are produced with German Pro Photo paper which has a matte finish and a neutral white point with a slight shimmer. Water resistant so you can easily clean off a spill. Acid free and chlorine free.

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Let us be your Guide!

Choose between printed hard cover or cloth bound with optional foil stamping. Optional dust jacket printing with 3 lamination options

Let us help guide you to the most appropriate paper options for your book project. We have 9 standard text options and 6 standard soft cover weight options for paperback books.

We have a long track record of award winning quality work for some of the most demanding artists and photographers in the industry!

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