I have to create a 400 page book with the measurements height: 16cm by 24cm in Adobe InDesign. It is intended for publishing, but what are the bleed and margin measurements I need to follow so that it can be printed correctly?

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    Hi Alexandra. Thanks for your question and welcome to GDSE! I don't think there is going to be a 'correct' answer to your question, as bleed is up to your printer (contact them, I'd say), and margin is up to you, the designer.
    – Vincent
    Sep 17 '13 at 15:05

In general...

Bleeds should be a minimum of .125 inches, 9 points, or 3.2mm.

Margins or "safe area" are often set .25 inches, 1p6 picas, or 6.5mm inside the trim.

These are general measurements which I've found will work for 99.9% of the print providers I come across. However, as Bakabaka posted in the comments, each printer can have a different set of preferred measurements. You should ask for general specifications from your printer if that's possible.

For example, some publishers want single pages with no inside bleed/trim. So the bleeds are not the same on all 4 sides of the piece.


A large book will not be printed page by page in a reader's spread. Most likely, it will be imported into a page imposition program that will print several pages at a time in what is called a signature or a printer's spread. Printer's page imposition is specialized software that allows for stuff like page "shingling" and "creep" and positioning of pages according to the desired print finishing to be performed. The various settings for InDesign should originate from the one who will impose your files for book printing. Assume nothing and get your information from the book publisher's printer. Ask for a "JDF" (Job Description File). It will come in the form of a disk with instructions. It will put all the correct values into the right places for your software to work correctly with the print publisher.

C'mon back if there's no printer yet chosen.

There are loads of different ways to determine margins for a book. Have a peek at anything by Jan Tschichold. Proportional margins usually have the gutter roughly equal to the sides and the upper to be half the lower. After that, there are hundreds of variations.

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    While everything you posted is true, I'm still left wondering, how does explaining imposition answer the question?
    – Scott
    Sep 18 '13 at 7:12
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    @Scott Apologies. It was an over-long, over-detailed, variation of "Go ask your mother." I was attempting to frame why one would consult the printer for all details that might affect the production of the publication. Since you covered the standard settings, I was amplifying what happens in the production.
    – Stan
    Sep 18 '13 at 15:09

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