There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the best paper options for your book: weight, brightness, color, texture, environmental impact, gloss, matte, uncoated, and (of course) cost. We see it as our job to provide information about all of the various options, while organizing that information in a way that’s logical, and (hopefully) a bit less daunting. To that end, we’ve categorized paper options into two categories. The first we’re calling our “house” papers. These are the papers that we use most commonly, are most readily available, and are generally most cost effective. The other group we’re calling “custom” papers.
To begin with, our house sheets include four lines of paper for book interiors: Opaque, Coated, Environmental, and Publishing Grade.
Our Opaque line is a high quality paper, that is available in smooth or vellum finishes. The white is very bright (97), and some weights are available in a natural (warm white) shade. The print quality on this sheet is somewhat better than the other uncoated papers we’ve worked with (for halftones and color images). The opacity, true to its name, is very good in terms of allowing minimal show through even on lighter weights (i.e. 50#). We typically offer it in 50,60, and 70# weights — although there are other weights available if requested. It is our most expensive, but also traditionally our most requested, paper for shorter run book interiors.
Our house Coated sheets are available in white gloss and silk, in 80 and 100# text. The gloss is a high gloss, while the silk is similar to a dull matte coating. Both are popular for books with a lot of color images, such as art books or illustrated children’s books. (The opaque line is also a very good option for this if an uncoated stock is preferred.) We will often use a coated sheet for colored inserts in books which use uncoated papers for the text-only pages.
The Environmental papers all have a high post consumer recycled content (many of them are 100% PCRC). They are available in 50, 60, and 70 — in white and natural. The finish comes in smooth and “antique”, which is similar to a vellum feel. They have a small amount of “flecking” due to the recycled fibers, but it’s not highly noticeable. These papers are less expensive than the Opaque line — and the natural is our lowest priced off-white option.
Publishing Grade is only available in white. It’s a very inexpensive grade, made specifically for higher volume book printing. We usually recommend this sheet when printing runs of 500 or more. It comes in 50# and 60#, with a smooth finish. If price is the most important variable, this sheet does offer a significantly lower production cost.
Hopefully this gives you a good overview of our “house sheets” — which, for many of our clients, simplifies the production process. Additionally, we offer a huge variety of custom stocks — including kraft papers, satin uncoated sheets, metallics, pearlescents, textures, etc. There can be some challenges with sourcing these papers, since paper distributors don’t always stock them — making it a bit more challenging to meet minimum orders for smaller projects, etc. But we’re always more than happy to help find creative solutions for unique book projects requiring custom paper stocks. A very popular option here, especially for accent pages and end-sheets, is to use one of the lines from the French Paper Company (www.frenchpaper.com). They make colors we haven’t found elsewhere and, while expensive, it’s always easy to obtain paper directly from the manufacturer.