Hardcover & Casebound Cover File Setup Guide

Hardcover book covers are printed on a single sheet of paper that gets wrapped around the outside of your book. Your cover artwork should be created as a “double-page” or single spread.

Hardcover & Casebound Cover File Template

  1. Set up a double-page spread:

    • Make sure the “facing pages” option is checked when exporting from your graphics program.
    • If your not using InDesign, note that you should exclude bleed from the center. The only bleed required is ⅛” around all outside edges.

    Facing Pages Double-Page Spreads InDesign Setting Spreads Crossover

  2. Calculate your page height and page width:

    • The Page Height and Page Width measurements in the image below are the same as the inside pages of your book:
      • Add 0.27 inches added to the page height
      • Subtract 0.16 inches added to the page width
  3. Calculate the spine width of your cover using our tool below
  4. Add 0.8” to your file for the foldover. This area is printed, folded over, and glued to the inside of the greyboard case to hold everything together. You can learn more about this process on our hardcover and casebound binding page. We recommend filling in as much of the space as possible, even though most of it will not be visible.
  5. Add 0.4” to your file for the hinge. The hinge is the area on each side of the spine that allows the book to open without causing damage to the cover or spine.
  6. Double-check that all important text and graphics are at least 0.125” away from the bleed area. You may wish to increase this distance to 0.25” 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.

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