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Hardcover Case Bound Cover Setup Guide

Because we take a single printed sheet and wrap it around 3 pieces of sturdy greyboard to create the hardcover case for your book, your artwork should be created as a single spread.

Hardbound Cover Template

1. The “Page Height” and “Page Width” measurements in the guide below should be the same as the inside pages of your book. You will then add 0.27 inches to the height and subtract 0.16 inches from the width to get the final front/back cover measurements.

2. Next, you’ll have to accommodate for your book’s spine.  To calculate the width of your spine, see our online spine calculator.

3. You’ll also have to account for the area marked ‘foldover,’ which is printed, folded over, and glued to the inside of the greyboard case to hold everything together as you can see in our page on casebinding.  Most of this area is not visible in the final book but you should still fill as much of the space as possible to account for the centering variance.

4. In addition, designs for hardcovers need to take hinge into account, which is the area next to the spine that has no greyboard underneath.  For more information, see our hinge guide.

5. Finally, keep in mind that hardcover cases, like all offset printing, exhibit minute variance in their production.  You should be careful to keep important text and graphics at least 0.125 inches away from the edges between sections since printed elements will often shift slightly in final production.  You may wish to increase this distance to 0.25 inches to be extra safe. This means that your artwork, even if it looks centered in your file, will not be exactly centered when printed, especially horizontally.

Hardbound Cover Template Spine, and Hinge Setup Guide

Hardbound Cover Template Example

Let’s use an 8.5″ x 11″ book as an example. Following the above guide, the size of the front and back cover areas would be 8.34 inches (8.5 – 0.16) wide and 11.27 inches tall (11 + 0.27). To find the total width of your cover spread you would multiply that width by two, add 0.8 for both hinge areas (0.4 * 2), add your spine width (for example, 0.314), and add 1.6 for both the left and the right foldover areas (0.8 * 2). This would give you a total image width of 19.394 inches. To find the height you would take 11.27 and add 1.6 for both the top and the bottom foldover areas (0.8 * 2). This would give you a total image height of 12.87 inches.

Watch the hardcover binding process in action.