I have to specify print instructions for a textbook that will be printed in China. If I want to create a hardcover textbook that is 300 pages in length, and will weigh less than 5 pounds, what paper weight/thickness do I need to specify?

(I'm hoping this is the right SE to ask this in)

  • Normally the printing supplier will do this math for you, but since this is in China.. who knows :)
    – Lucian
    Sep 14 '18 at 15:24
  • Internationally, grammes per square metre (GSM or g/m2) is the usual way to specify paper weights in the printing industry.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 14 '18 at 16:14
  1. 300 is a bad number. Try to round it to multiples of 8. I would say multiples of 16 but probably 8 will do.

300/8=37.5 decide if you need 296 or 304.

  1. Define the size of the book. A tiny book will weight less than a humungous one, with the same number of pages.

  2. Define the covers.

  3. Weight alone is not the best measure to start with.

Do you want good print quality? You need coated paper.

Do you want lower cost? use uncoated paper.

Quality and costs are a heck more important factors than weight, but lets go to the math part.

Some basic math

There are several ways to measure paper. Let's use the international one.

A 150g/m2 paper says that each square m weights 150 g. If your book measures 50x50 each page it is 150/4 = 37.5 g each sheet... But a sheet is not a page, you have 2 pages per sheet, so you need 152.

37.5 x 152 grams per book. Now convert that into ponds.

That is the basic math.


I suppose you can divide the total weight you want by the calculated total square meters of paper your book will contain (all converted to metric units) you should get an approximated g/m2...

Or you could ask your printer, they should be able to help you choose amongst the paper they have available.

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