Self Publishing with the Espresso Book Machine: Self Publishing with the Espresso Book Machine

Self Publishing Formatting and Layout Guidelines

Self Publishing Formatting and Layout Guidelines for the Espresso Book Machine

“Print-ready” means that you provide The J. Willard Marriott Library Reserve/Cashier Desk with PDF files that are finalized and ready to be uploaded and printed. You’ve written, edited, and proofread your book, and it is formatted to look the way you want. Whether you hire someone to help or you format the book on your own, here are some helpful guidelines.  The Espresso Book Machine is located on Level 2 of the Marriott Library at the Reserve/Cashier & Library Store Desk.

Interior “Book Block” Formatting Guidelines for MS Word

Consistency is key
When formatting a text on your own, it’s important to remember that consistency is key. Figure out what you want your pages to look like, and then apply the settings to the whole document for margins, tabs, font & point size, line spacing, etc.
Do not use the space bar to align your text; use the tab key for any indentations (i.e. the beginning of each paragraph). If you want something centered on the page, highlight the text and click on the center tool. Same goes for aligning anything to any part of the page, whether you want everything left, right or centered, use Word’s formatting tools instead of the space bar.

Trim size
The trim size is the size of your book after it’s printed. Indicated by width x height, a standard size is 6” x 9”. For your book to print properly, you need to make sure that your text document is set to match your trim size.
Set your trim size by modifying the paper size of your document. Under Page Setup or Page Layout, choose Paper Size. Change from the default paper size to whatever trim size you’ve chosen and Apply to Whole Document.
When establishing your trim size, keep in mind that the appropriate trim size for your book does depend upon the number of pages & your spine width. The more pages you have, the larger your spine width will be, and the smaller your overall trim size may need to be for the cover to print properly on the 17” x 11” sheet of coverstock. See Cover Layout Guidelines below.

Your margins are the space between your text and the edge of your printed page. Proper margins are important, as they provide a buffer zone between the text or image and the edge of the page. As such, margins allow for minor variations in the trim size of each book. Also under Page Setup or Page Layout, set your Top-Bottom-Left-Right Margins. 0.8” is standard.

Under Paragraph, set Tabs. Settings of 0.5” or 0.25” are standard.

Line spacing
Single space is discouraged, as it is difficult to read. Spacing between 1.15 and 1.5 is suggested.
Under Paragraph you can modify the settings for Line Spacing.

Fonts & Point Size
Choose the font and point size for your body text. Serif fonts are more readable than sansserif fonts for body text. Standard point size is 10pt or 11pt type. Good suggestions:

Garamond Palatino Times New Roman Century

Choose font and point size for your headings (chapter titles, section heads, etc) that complements your body text. Same font for both usually works well if you bold and/or increase the size by 2 points or so. Alternatively, you can use a serif font for headings to complement sans serif font in body text. Good suggestions:

Gill Sans Verdana Arial

Everything mentioned so far should be consistent throughout the document. However, there will be some formatting options that should be applied to some pages and not others. The best examples are page numbers and headers. It may be helpful to separate your book into three documents, consisting of front matter, core matter and back matter. This way the pages in your core matter will have correct page numbers and headers, while the pages in your front and back matter will be free of any unnecessary markings. You can combine the files later when creating the PDF.

Front matter

  • anything leading up to the first page of your text (page one of your book)
  • title page, copyright page, acknowledgments and dedication, foreword, preface, introduction, table of contents, and any blank pages.

Core matter

  • your core text, where page one of your book actually begins.

Back matter

  • anything after your text ends
  • afterward, about the author, bibliography, index, glossary, etc.

Headers / Footers
Decide if you want any headers or footers on your text pages – some books have the book title, chapter title or author name at the top or bottom of each page. Keep in mind that you can choose to insert them on odd or even pages only.

Go to the Insert function to add headers/footers. They will appear in the space between your body text and the edge of the page. For example, if you set up a 0.8” margin on all sides, then the header/footer will appear within that 0.8” margin. Make sure that it is still at least 0.25” from the edge of the page.

Choose a font that complements your body text font. Set it to about 2 points smaller than your body text size. You may want to italicize your headers/footers. Consider whether you want them centered on the page or aligned to the outside.

Page numbers
Go to the Insert function to add page numbers.

Consider whether you want your page numbers at the top or bottom of your page, centered or aligned to the outside of your page. Choose a font that complements your body text. Try using the same point size, or 2 points smaller (whatever looks best to you).

Remember to use the Page Break function to start a new chapter or section. Do not hit the enter key until you scroll down to the next page.

How do you want to begin each chapter or section?

  • Choose an appropriate point size (bold, 2-4 points larger than your body text).
  • Consider placement of the chapter heading – centered or aligned to the left; at the top of the page, or farther down?
  • Consider the chapter drop – do you want the first paragraph to start at the top of the page or 1/3 of the way down?
  • Do you want the first few words or first line of the paragraph to look different - indentation, capitalization, drop cap, bold?

Example of a chapter head:

Example of formatted text:

  •  Font: Garamond
  •  Font size: 11 pt • tabs 0.25”
  •  top-bottom-left-right margins all set to 0.8”
  •  line spacing at 1.15

  •  page numbers on top outside of each page • headers centered at the top, alternating pages
  •  both headers and page numbers in Garamond 10 pt, italicized • all text justified (aligned to both left and right margins)

Creating a PDF from Word
To create a PDF from a Word document, you can use Adobe Acrobat PDF Conversion software. If you don’t own Acrobat, Adobe offers an online subscription service that allows you to pay a fee to turn a set number of documents into PDF files. Go to
If using other methods of conversion, be sure to embed your fonts properly.

Scanning Images
You must own the rights to, or have permission to use, any images that you include in your book. When scanning for your interior pages, remember that the image will print in black and white. If there is shading in the artwork (i.e. photograph or painting) scan as Grayscale. Otherwise, scan as line art (i.e. pen-and-ink drawing or handwritten correspondence). Scan at 300 dpi, and scale to the approximate size you plan to use in
the book. For images to be used on your book cover, scan in color, 300 dpi, scaled to the approximate size you plan to use in the book. Save either B&W or color images as TIFF files.

Cover Layout

Covers can be designed in a variety of software, including MS Word or Adobe InDesign.

For layout purposes, your cover is the back + spine + front of your book, printed as one continuous sheet. The sheet wraps around the printed book interior and gets trimmed down to your specified size. Nothing can print on the interior side of the front or back cover.

  • Cover basics – for layout of back + spine + front on one document
  • Maximum cover dimensions = 10.75” x 16.75”
  • Cover must be centered vertically and horizontally in landscape-oriented 17” x 11” document
  • No crop / registration marks
  • 0.25” bleed on all sides

Before designing your cover, you must know your spine width. To calculate this, you’ll need your number of book pages (front, core and back matter) and the PPI (pages per inch). The PPI measurement is specific to the thickness of the paper you’re using. Our standard PPI is 434 (for Springhill Opaque 60lb cream paper).

To calculate spine width: Spine width = number of pages ÷ PPI

Note: number of pages here refers to the double-sided page count you use when you describe the length of your book. Remember to include all front and back matter, as well as any blank pages, in your final page count.

Keep in mind that the appropriate trim size for your book does depend upon the number of pages and your spine width. The more pages you have, the larger your spine width will be, and the smaller your overall trim size may need to be for the cover to print properly on the 17” x 11” sheet of coverstock. Once you know your spine width and trim size, you’re ready to layout your cover.

Example of a cover layout:

  • Trim width of 6” x 9”
  • book length 300 pages
  • spine width of 0.6912” (300 pages 434 = 0.6912”)
  • Document size 17” x 11”
  • Cover size 12.6912” x 9” (back cover 6” x 9” + spine 0.6912” + front cover 6” x 9”)
  • - - - - - Indicates 0.5” margin from edge of cover, free of any graphic or text elements.
  • Though not shown here, there should be a 0.5” bleed on all sides of the cover.


  • It’s better to allow more cushion in your design than to crowd the margins.
  • Background image or color should extend all the way to the edge of the bleed area.
  • To place text on the spine, rotate it so that the left type margin falls at the top of the book. The type will then read correctly from left to right when the book lies front cover up on a horizontal surface.
  • If you have your own ISBN and barcode, remember to put it on the back cover of your book.
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