Paper Sizes

Print On The Right Paper Stock

Choosing the right paper stock to print on can be difficult. There are a number of options, and it’s not always obvious what the difference is between them. 

Two of the most common mistakes we see people make when choosing a paper stock are:

  • 1. Choosing the lowest gsm paper, assuming it will save money.
  • 2. Choosing the highest gsm paper, under the assumption that it is of higher quality.

Whilst those two assumptions aren’t necessarily incorrect, using that reasoning to choose which paper stock to use is risky. Different paper types are right for specific situations. This guide should help you identify which would be right for your print requirements. If not, our team know their paper, get in touch for some advice.

Gsm stands for ‘grams per square meter’ and refers to the substance weight of the paper, relating to a specific area of paper (1mm x 1mm), that remain constant irrespective of sheet size. See… confusing, right?

Types of Paper

Paper types refers to the finish of the paper, this affects the look of the pages rather than the feel or the weight.


This produces a matte finish. The majority of books that you read have an uncoated finish.

Perfect for: novels, poetry books, anthologies, short stories, biographies.


Paper with a silk finish has a low sheen coating. This improves colours and sharpens images. Silk is somewhere between uncoated and gloss, it provides a high-quality look in a more subtle way than gloss.

Perfect for: photo books, posters, leaflets, brochures


Paper has a higher sheen coating which further enhances colours and sharpness. 

Perfect for: children’s books, colour inserts, photo books, recipe books

Paper Stocks

The paper stock is the weighting of the paper. As a general rule, a higher stock paper is a little more expensive to print on, but higher stock is also perceived as being higher quality.

70gsm – Uncoated

  • Suitable for black and white printing.
  • Thinner paper gives a more traditional, ‘old-timely’ feel.
  • Lowers the weight of your book which can cut costs on international shipping

80gsm – Uncoated

  • Our standard paper for black and white books.
  • Costs slightly more than 70gsm, but not significantly.
  • Perfect for novels, biographies and poetry books.

100gsm – Uncoated

  • Our standard paper for colour books
  • Also works well as a heavier alternative for black and white books, particularly A4 books.
  • Perfect for autobiographies, anthologies, history books.

115gsm (Gloss or Silk)

  • Slightly heavier than 100gsm, but with a gloss or silk finish. 
  • Works best in books / booklets with a lot of colour.

120gsm – Uncoated

  • Provides an outstanding finish for colour pages.
  • Work perfectly as colour inserts in black and white books. 
  • Best for brochures, presentations and colour inserts in biographies.

135gsm (Gloss or Silk)

  • A high quality, thick paper stock.
  • Can make colour pages look more vibrant and sharp
  • Perfect for leaflets and flyers

170gsm (Gloss or Silk)

  • Our heaviest paper, very strong and durable.
  • Provides a beautiful, vibrant finish.
  • Works great for postcards, menus, and posters


  • Our standard cover card.
  • Recommended for the majority of the books we print.
  • Perfect for novels, anthologies, biographies, children’s books, poetry collections and more.


  • A slightly heavier cover stock.
  • A little more expensive than 250gsm, but not significantly.
  • Works brilliantly on recipe books, manuals, workbooks and children’s books. 

Sourced from BookPrintingUK

Last Updated on July 27, 2019 by @R_A_Chalmers