PPI – Know How This Number Impacts Your Book’s Appearance

by Laura


stack of books in various sizesThe text stock you select for your book has many traits that you can choose from. From color to coating to what it is made of (did someone say recycled?). No matter which stock you choose, there is one trait that can make a big impact on the appearance of your book that isn’t as apparent as the color of the stock – PPI.

What PPI is and how it is measured

Pages per inch (PPI) is a number that represents the number of pages that are in a one inch stack of paper. The lower the number, the thicker the paper.

Sometimes thicker stocks are used for books with low page counts, to make them appear thicker.  Similarly, books with high page counts, such as Bibles, other religious works, and directories often use stocks with a low PPI, making them thinner and easier to hold.

How PPI impacts cover design

It is best to have your text stock identified before your cover art is created. If you design your cover, case, or dust jacket based on one text stock, then decide later that you want to use a different text stock, you might be in for a surprise if you don’t adjust your cover design accordingly.

Let’s consider two different text stocks for a 1,000 page Bible and see how they compare.

Text stock comparison

Any art or type that you have on the spine will be impacted greatly, especially if your art wraps around from the front to back cover.
Wow, the difference between these two scenarios is huge! In the first scenario, using a high PPI text stock, the book is about 2/3” inches thick.  The book in the second scenario, using a lower PPI text stock, is roughly 2” thick!

Tools you can use to ensure a perfect fit

To ensure that your cover or case art file is created to fit your project, Sheridan has created a handy component template creator. By entering a book’s trim size, page count, and text stock’s PPI you can generate custom paper cover, printed case, stamped case, and dust jacket templates for your project.

From helping you choose the right paper for your project, to walking you through how to use the component template creator, to providing samples of Sheridan’s stocking papers, the sales and customer service teams here are Sheridan are ready to assist.

Additional resources

See our related post Book Text Stock Traits Defined for more information about the different traits of text stocks.

You can also view the list of text papers, along with their PPI, that Sheridan stocks on our website. View stocking papers