Top Elements of Book Typesetting That You Must Be Aware Of

Typesetting involves creating optimum reading experience by arranging text properly in pages and interior of a book. The process usually starts at the concluding phase of book publication. Margin sizes, chapter starting styles, content size, and correct fonts are determined for impactful visually communication. Proper book typesetting promotes better sales.

typesetting book for publishing

Typesetting The Book

You need to consider a number of things while typesetting a book for publishing. These are discussed below.

  1. Style of Text

    For imparting a formal tone, justify your text. A casual, personalized look can be achieved through ragged text. However, readers may feel annoyed if the volume of ragged right text is high.

  2. Margins

    Use margins generously to allow sufficient space around text blocks. This will allow comfortable movement of reader’s eyes among lines. Margins should be left sufficiently for binding purpose else outside margins would appear bigger than binding side margins.

  3. Font

    Text which would be read continuously can have serif type font. Reader’s mind recognizes words’ shapes and is not inclined to read letter by letter. Serif font streamlines linkage between letters.

  4. Size of Font

    Large fonts can make the book appear non-professional. It impairs credibility of author. The font size should be such that 70 characters are accommodated in each line.

  5. Book Block

    Book block is the pre-defined area within which text remains tightly confined. After opening the book, pages facing each other must converge along same line.

  6. Orphans and Widows

    Paragraph’s first line shouldn’t be on last section of page. Paragraph’s last line shouldn’t be on first section of page. Both these conditions impede smooth reading.

  7. Word Widows

    Paragraph’s last line should always be more than 5 characters inclusive of punctuation marks. Word spacing needs to be adjusted in subtle manner.

  8. Subhead

    Subhead at page’s bottom should be followed by a minimum of 2 lines of text. It should be confined to book block. Complex elements like bullets have to be considered while working towards perfection.

  9. Line Spacing

    Text lines shouldn’t be too close or too distanced from each other. Proper line spacing optimizes the page count of book which results in lesser printing cost. If line spacing is more in a short book, readers won’t like it.

  10. Paragraph Spacing

    Each paragraph in the book should not be preceded with a line of space. This space should be used for signifying start of new section or change in plot. If line space is present, the first line paragraph indent should be removed.

  11. Alignment

    Text lines along with lists, subheads and illustrations must be made to line up along the page.

  12. Spacing Among Words

    One of the important book typesetting guidelines is that word spacing should be optimal for ease of reading. Color should be uniform and even along the page. If lines are tightly placed, page may appear dark whereas if lines are loosely placed, page will appear lighter.

    Change the justification settings (letter and word spacing, glyph scaling) to accomplish even coloring. Justification settings would vary based on fonts and font sizes.

  13. Hyphenation

    In a page or single row, too many hyphens would appear annoying. The last line of page should not be hyphenated as reader would be left wondering what to follow next. The paragraph’s last line shouldn’t be hyphenated word’s stub end. Names, places and other capitalized words should not be hyphenated.

  14. Dashes

    For each font type, 3 dash types are there. Words and phone numbers are separated with hyphens. Clauses in a sentence are offset by Em dashes. The En dash which is half of Em dash is used for denoting span like time, date, etc.

  15. Quotation Marks

    Apostrophes and curly quotations should be used.

  16. Small Caps

    The surrounding text should be slightly more than the uppercase text.

  17. Capitalized Text Letter Spacing

    Always loosen the small caps or capitalized text present within normal text. Lowercase book text should not have spacing between letters as readability may be compromised.

  18. Italics and Boldface

    Boldface text should not be frequently used as continuity of reading will get hampered. Don’t emphasize words unnecessarily with bold text or italics as it is against professional typesetting rules.

  19. Text Underlining

    Underlined text distracts readers and hence must be avoided.

  20. Special Characters

    Use ©, ®, and TM sparingly. Based on fonts, use special characters minimally.

  21. Ellipse Formatting

    Ellipse must be preceded and succeeded by a space each. This holds true for each dot. They should not be present at start or middle of line.

  22. Lists

    Surrounding text should be 2 points greater bullets and check boxes. Bullet characters even in digital typesetting should be same so that book gets a professional look.

  23. Word Stacks

    Same word should not be used for starting or finishing 3 consecutive lines.


If you have been using software for typesetting the book, override some of its automatic features for adjusting word spacing and paragraph settings. You can consider rewriting text if needed. For multilingual typesetting, you can take the help of a professional typesetting services company.