The Golden Rectangle and book sizes

When designing a book for print on demand (POD), one of the first decisions is the book size. For some books like a sci-fi paperback this may be easy — conforming to industry standards would be sensible. We all know what a paperback fiction book is ‘supposed’ to feel like.

But I was faced with choosing a size for a poetry chap book. This would be a fairly hefty publication, as chap books go, and so we considered choosing a slightly larger sized book. Faced with a number of options in Amazon’s CreateSpace, I decided to use a tried and true design approach : select dimensions that approximate the Golden Rectangle. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rectangle] This is hardly a new idea in book design [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canons_of_page_construction].

The Golden RectangleThe result was surprising, given the longstanding presence of the Golden Ratio in artistic endeavors. The only standard book size offered by CreateSpace which approximates the Golden Rectangle is the smallest (5×8) size. As the sizes get longer, they diverge from the ratio.

This being the internet, someone will want to see for themselves, so here are the standard book sizes offered by CreateSpace, what the larger dimension would be to approximate the Golden Rectangle, and the proportion formed of the actual larger dimension vs. the idealized larger dimension :

standard book GR would be proportion
5×8 8.09 .98
5.06×7.81 8.18 .95
5.25×8 8.49 .94
5.5×8.5 8.89. .95
6×9 9.7 .92
6.14×9.21 9.9 .93
6.69×9.61 10.8 .89
7×10 11.3 .88
7.44×9.69 12.0 .83
7.5×9.25 12.1 .76
8×10 12.9 .78

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