If sending a hard copy manuscript, we suggest setting all margins (including any headers and footers) on a 8.5×11″ book at 1″. Generally a book printed from this would contain a 1.25″ binding/interior margin, and a .75″ trim/outside margin. “Fixing” the margins in this way is a free service we offer to make it easier on the manuscript preparation person.

Can you “cheat” the 1″ margin on a smaller format book and still have a pleasing balance of print and white space? Margins that leave less white space don’t have quite as pleasing a balance between printed and white space. Additionally, if the book is very thick, you can make a book with so small a margin that people are breaking it’s spine to read it. Outside margins differ between hard and soft binding selections, as they all have different minimum trim requirements.

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This section is drawn from
http://www.gregathcompany.com/publish/design/margins.html

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