You Have Options – Part 1: Book Text Stock Traits Defined

by Laura


Books Stocking Paper ListWhen it comes to selecting the text stock for your book project there is more to consider than if it will be white or natural, coated or uncoated. Our book stocking paper list contains columns identifying the traits of each paper we stock at our Sheridan MI facility.  To get a better grasp of the different types of paper available, you need to understand what these traits represent.


Basis – This column represents the basis weight of a ream (500 sheets) of paper cut to its basic size.  The basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches.

PPI – Pages per inch, the number of pages contained in a one inch stack of paper.  The lower the number, the thicker the paper.

Brightness – The amount of light that the paper reflects measured under standard conditions.  For more on this item see our blog post what is the difference between the brightness and whiteness of paper.

Opacity – The property of paper which minimizes show though of the printed image from the opposite side of the sheet or the sheet under it.  The higher the number, the more opaque it is.

Color – The shade of the paper as identified by the paper mill.

PCW – This column represents the percent of post-consumer waste in that specific stock.  Post-consumer waste has been discarded by the end consumer and diverted from a landfill for the purpose of recycling.  Recycled paper is defined as paper including post-consumer and pre-consumer waste.

Sheets and Rolls – These columns indicate the availability of each stock in sheets (for a sheet fed press) or rolls (for a web press).

Now that you have a better understanding of paper traits, you can select the stock that is right for your project.  For example, if you have a book with a low page count you may consider a stock with a low PPI to make the book appear thicker.  Similarly, if you have a book with a high page count you may consider a stock with a high PPI to make the book thinner.

Be sure to ask your printer for printed samples of the text stocks that you are considering so you can see and feel the differences between them.  To request a list or samples of Sheridan’s stocking papers, contact your sales representative.

The next post in this series will focus on cover decorations.