1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Self-publishing paper type

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by OurJud, Aug 26, 2016.

    Aside from the often awful covers I've always found a big giveaway when spotting a SP is the thicker and much whiter paper used.

    I was once told the reason for this was down to cost, but I've always imagined the exact opposite is true. Surely mass-produced, commercial books use the thin, smoky-cream paper we're all so familiar with, precisely because it's cheap, which begs the question, why don't SP books use the same stuff?
     
  2. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I would imagine lack of knowledge. If you don't know the various papers used for book printing, you may not know what to choose. I chose a printer that provides a proof copy of the book before printing, so I could be sure I was happy with the final copy. I think also people aren't aware that book 80gm is thicker than photocopy 80gm, so assume they have to order a heavier weight to ensure you can't see the reverse page print showing through. Self-publishers have a lot to learn.
     
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  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So does the typical 'paperback' paper have a name, because it's a type I've ever seen for sale anywhere. It's almost like it's a special paper, made specifically for the book publishing industry.

    I'm guessing the 'milky coffee' colour is to reduce glare, but I don't know.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that the thick white paper that seems like it would collapse into instant mashed potatoes if dropped into water, is pretty cheap. Thick paper with high rag content can be very expensive. I suspect that tough thin paper is fairly high quality; you need quality to get strength into the thinness.
     
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  5. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    It's called book wove paper. I like an off-white (ivory) paper rather than cream, so I've had mine done on 80gm off-white book wove. It looks nice and clean, easy to read and no print from the reverse side shows through.

    I know there is another discussion on the forum about the poor quality of many self-published books, but I have used a professional illustrator for the cover and a good book printing company for the printing, to give mine the right look. Now, it's down to whether or not people think I can tell a good story. If the book doesn't do well it will be down to the content not the appearance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
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  6. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    But the stuff I've seen in most SP doesn't look like this, and that's my point. It looks to be much more hard-wearing than the ivory wove stuff that's used for the mass market commercial paperbacks. I'm not saying I prefer it, quite the reverse. I like a paperback to look like a paperback, and the ivory woven stuff just gives it the look of a 'proper' paperback.

    I'm talking about the ivory stuff, just that the word 'ivory' to describe it never occurred to me, but that's exactly what it is.
     
  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Where are you seeing all these self-published books in print? Just curious!

    I know what you mean. I have one printed self-published book, by Jack Kilborn, and it is different to your average paperback. I do notice differences in traditionally published books too--I have some children's books with thicker than average paper, presumably because the low word count means they can afford it, and Memoirs of a Geisha (which is over 200,000 words) is on very, very thin paper. Neither of them look self-published though.

    Interesting topic.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Maybe the paper that you're seeing in the self-published books somehow works better in whatever small-run printing and binding equipment is used for those books?
     
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  9. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I bought one off amazon (didn't know it was a SP) and I was sent a 'contributor copy' of one which was a collection of short horror stories. I was also given a copy of Cracking the Short Story Market when I signed up for a writing course many years ago.
     
  10. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I think there may be a difference between POD books compared with multiple copy print runs. I've had a hundred books printed rather than an odd one, maybe the printing equipment, quality of paper etc is different in this case to POD set-ups.
     
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  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Depends on who youuse. I use CreateSpace and they offer a choice of papers - white or cream. I've switched to the latter because I think it looks better.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but is it the wove stuff they use for mass produced paperbacks? The stuff that feels almost rough to the touch?
     
  13. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think most self-publishers use Rizlas.
     
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  14. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I can answer this question with some authority, because I have on my desk two books. The first is the first edition of my book The Pavilion Book, which was commercially printed as a trade paperback. The second is a proof of the same book printed by CreateSpace as a print-on-demand edition, since I was out of the first run but didn't want to commit to a second run. Aside from subtle differences in the color of the cover and a slightly higher resolution of the interior pictures in the first one, the two would be extremely hard to tell apart. The paper quality is identical.
     
  15. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    That's good to know. I have stock for when I do talks, visits and local sales but I wondered about using CreateSpace for online orders.
     
  16. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I looked at creating my book on CreateSpace and was surprised to find their spine width was 25% narrower than the one on the proof copy from an independent printer. This can only mean the paper is not as good quality compared to the paper I already have in my paperback. This makes me hesitant to use CreateSpace for POD books ordered through Amazon. I don't want two versions of the paperback of differing quality. I've used 80gm book paper and assume CreateSpace are using 70gm. I'll have to see if they do an 80gm version.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, no, it can only mean that the paper is not as thick. You're assuming that thickness=quality and quality=thickness. But high-quality paper can be thick or thin, and low-quality paper can be thick or thin.
     
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  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Responding to myself--I'm also assuming that you checked the page count. A difference in margins, font size, etc., could mean a different in page count.
     
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  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The paper quality in the CreateSpace books I've seen is pretty good. I don't know how many options they provide, but there was nothing about the paper itself that caused me to wonder about quality.
     
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  20. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    Yes, it's same page count. I used the cover calculator, that's why I was surprised. And yes, I accept that thickness and quality are not necessarily linked, but 25% does seem a considerable difference. I will probably send for a proof copy to see what the difference is before making a final decision. As I have a number of orders from Spain and America, it would help keep postage costs down if they were produced by CreateSpace and shipped direct.
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    See, I usually assume that thinner paper is higher quality. I'm thinking of the paper used in dictionaries, Bibles, etc.
     
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  22. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    And I agree with you on that basis, but as my book is a children's novel I need the pages to have some durability. I've also got it going into children's sections of local libraries, so the books may not be treated with kid-gloves.
     
  23. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Sorry to have taken so long to get back on this, but I was out of town.

    The first edition of the Pavilion Book was printed on 60# offset, according to the information on the original bid. And the two editions are the same thickness, so I assume CreateSpace used the same 60# paper. (And I just read something on their site where they do say it's 60# offset for color interior and 55# offset for black and white.)
     
  24. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I have received my copy from Createspace today and can now directly compare it with the copy from the printing company I've used in the UK. Initial impressions are equally good and I will have no worries having this supplied through Amazon. Both the cover and the paper are slightly thinner than that on my original print run, but they are still good quality, and without having my original copy first I would've been perfectly happy with the Createspace copy. The paper used by Createspace is whiter than the other copy, (although not bright white), but still has the density to prevent the text being visible through from the other side. Very little to choose between the 2, I just prefer the slightly creamier, thicker paper. Anyone thinking of using Createspace can be comfortable that the quality is good.
     
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  25. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Photo, photo! I want to see your book!
     
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