Formatting Options: What’s Right For My Book?

April 3, 20213 min. Read

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Once you have looked at printing cost versus retail cost, taking a close look at your genre and similar titles is an excellent next step to deciding on the formatting options for your book. 

Palmetto publishing can help with these decisions. Contact us and start learning about your book’s formatting options

What is Book Formatting? 

Formatting refers to how the book looks on each page and feels in your hand if you print it. Formatting includes things like paragraph and line breaks, indents, spaces, typefaces, and punctuation marks. 

Readers know when a book feels ‘off,’ but by observing a few basic text-formatting rules, you transform your manuscript pages into something that looks attractive and professional.

Types of Book Formats

Before starting the formatting process, it’s important to decide your book’s final format: hardcover, paperback, and/or eBook. Each of these options will influence considerations within the text for final print or viewing. 


Hardcover books (also called hardbound) have sturdier covers, usually made from thick cardboard wrapped in cloth. 

The pages can be glued or sewn into the spine, which makes the spine more flexible so that the book can lay flat when opened, allowing for the full viewing of each page. 

The book title and author’s name are typically stamped onto the cloth binding and wrapped in a dust jacket with the cover design.


Paperback books (also called softcover) have a cover made from paperboard or a very thick stock, and the pages are attached to the binding with glue.

This size and binding method allows the reader to hold the book in one hand easily but does not allow them to view a full-page at a glance easily.  


For a book to display correctly on multiple eReading devices, you need a specific digital file. The standard format is the Epub, an open format that means that it is not ‘owned’ by any company or device.

Most eReaders will display an epub, and it is even possible to read an Epub in a web browser. You may have heard of Mobi formats for eBooks as well. But if Epub is the standard format, then what is Mobi? Mobi is Amazon’s version of Epub.

Amazon has tweaked the Epub format to create Mobi files, which one can only read on Amazon’s eReader, the Kindle. As this is one of the biggest markets for eBooks, the self-publishing writer has no choice but to produce both digital ebook formats of your book – Epub and Mobi – to make it available for purchase on Amazon.

While this may seem potentially annoying, the good news is that once you have an Epub file, it’s a straightforward process to convert it to Mobi with free tools online.

Knowing what book format is right for my book?

As discussed, you’re going to need to know a price point and your book genre. As recommended, look at other similar books in your intended genre so that you can then follow suit in formatting to give the reader the expected look and feel of your book. You can do this with books you have at home or by browsing a bookstore. If you know what you like you can work with a publishing company to bring that vision to life. If you aren’t too sure, your designer will be able to make professional recommendations based on industry standards.

Make a note of some of these formatting features:

  • Size of the book 
  • Number of pages of the book
  • Font styles 
  • Line spacing
  • Paragraph formatting
  • Page numbering

The majority of the books you look at will have similar styles in their niche. With this information, you will be able to identify what book format is right for your book based on the book’s genre. 

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