Art Book Printing: How to Get Started

Even with the advent of e-readers like Amazon’s best-selling Kindle, books are still the preferred method for enjoying a novel or collection of stories.

This is doubly true for art books and other coffee table books. The tactile sensation of turning pages and discovering new and fascinating pictures is irreplaceable and will likely keep art book printing services in business for the foreseeable future.

What Is an Art Book?

Custom art books can feature subjects as diverse as video game concept art, a collection of outer space photographs or original surrealist illustrations. The important common denominator is that the book features high-quality images in a size large enough that readers can absorb fine details.

One reason you might want to print art books is that there’s no other practical medium for the images you want to present — they may exist online, but perhaps not in one convenient location. Or you may want to give readers the ability to flip through the art without having to rely on an electronic device.

Whatever the case, you’ve decided these images should be in print. What’s next?

Paper Considerations for Art Books

To ensure that your book art print quality meets reader expectations and holds up to constant use, you’ll need to consider the properties of the paper you use.

Types of Papers to Choose from

The most common type of paper used in art book printing is heavyweight, white-coated stock in either gloss or matte finish.

Coated stock helps images pop more because they reproduce light and dark contrasts well. Gloss paper is somewhat more reflective but retains the sharpness of the image better. Matte paper is excellent for black-and-white photos and reduces glare. 

Uncoated paper is another option. It’s more porous and rough than coated paper and is generally used for text, as it can make images appear soft and fuzzy. If this is the effect you want for your art, an uncoated paper may work well for your project.

Combined Paper Thickness and Size

Two books with the same number of pages can have drastically different weights and thicknesses if they use different types of paper. This can result in higher shipping and storage costs from your art book printing partner. Thick heavyweight paper will take up more space and weigh more than lightweight paper.

That said, thicker papers can lend the impression of quality and durability, so the added weight and size may be worth it.

As for overall size, art book pages are generally 6 inches x 9 inches (arranged portrait or landscape), but depending on your book’s subject, you may want larger pages up to 12 inches or more in either axis.

Cover Paper Options

You can use either coated or uncoated paper for the cover, depending on the type of paper you selected for the pages. You can also choose more unique papers, such as:

  • Linen — highly textured and upscale
  • Kraft paper — natural, earthy, homemade feel
  • Leather — a sense of age and luxury (faux leather is an option, too)
  • Metallic paper — can feel industrial or futuristic

Most art books will settle on either coated or uncoated to keep costs down and stay consistent with interior pages.

Print Quality and Finishing Touches for Art Books

If you’re going the route of art book self-publishing, it will be up to you to figure out the fine details. 

Perfect Binding Options

Perfect binding refers to a method of binding in which the pages are folded together and sewn in the middle. Each of these groups is then glued to a cover. This is a common, inexpensive, durable method of binding. 

Hardcover books often use case binding. For this method, the pages are glued into a case made of paper-covered greyboard. Another technique, board book binding, involves printing pages on heavy paperboard, then adhering them to a book block. This method is commonly used for children’s books.

Dust Jackets

Dust jackets protect book covers and add a feeling of quality and presentation. They’re also helpful for adding space for cover art and author information should you prefer to leave the cover blank or minimal.

Art Book Formatting 

Your printing service will require your book to meet its format guidelines, such as page size, margin spacing, image resolution and text size. That way, it can optimize the book for the reader.

Finding a Printing Service for Printing Your Art Book

Considering how much time you’ll spend preparing your art book, it only makes sense to work with an experienced printing partner when it comes time to make it a reality.

Print Bind Ship produces top-quality custom art books for customers worldwide. When you rely on our services, you can expect durable, attractive copies every time.

High-Quality Printing

We use high-grade paper that can withstand years of constant flipping, and our bindings will keep those pages in place for decades.


Your budget matters just as much to us as it does to you. You can print as few copies as you like or take advantage of our print-on-demand services to only print books as customers order them.

Shipping and Tracking

All orders ship within 24 hours, and we’ll provide a tracking number for both you and your customer. We’ll also take care of the returns so you don’t have to.

Your Art Book Can Be a Work of Art with Print Bind Ship

Art books deserve the highest printing quality and durability, and that’s what we provide to each of our customers. When you’re ready to show your art to the world, we’re ready to help. Contact Print Bind Ship today to get started.


How much does it cost to self-publish an art book?

Self-publishing costs can range up to $4,000, especially if the book uses the highest resolution printing on top-quality paper in hardback form. They can also be as low as $1,000 if you handle the editing yourself, keep the size small and print in lower resolutions.

What paper do art books use?

Typically, art books use coated stock in gloss or matte finishes for the highest detailed image reproduction possible.

How do I turn my art book into a coloring book?

Convert your images into black-and-white outlines. Use newsprint or similar types of paper that work well with crayons, colored pencils, etc.