How to Choose the Right Paper Stock for Your Booklet

How to Choose the Right Paper Stock for Your Booklet

Custom booklets are incredibly versatile and can be printed for a variety of purposes. How good your booklet looks and how well it is received could be impacted by the paper choices you make when it’s printed. Some paper choices for booklet printing are better than others, depending on what the booklet will be used for. So how do you choose the right paper stock in the first place?

Custom booklets

Types of Booklets

First, you’ll have to think of what type of booklet you’d like to print. The most popular options are Perfect Bound, Saddle Stitch, Spiral Coil and Wire Coil Booklets.

Saddle stitched booklets are stacks of paper folded in half and stapled at the fold. Spiral bound and wire coil booklets are fairly similar in that they are stacks of paper with holes punched at the edge and a wire or plastic coil wound through to keep all the pages together. Perfect bound book printing is where a spine is created and pages are glued to the spine.

Number of Pages

The number of pages in your booklet could seriously impact your design and final results. The fewer the pages, the more choices you have. The number of pages determines the type of binding you will use. Fewer pages will fit in a saddle stitch book while more pages will only fit in the spiral or wire coil booklets.

Additionally, there are page number restrictions on saddle stitch booklets because of how they are constructed. The minimum page count for saddle stitch booklets is eight and the page count must go up by increments of four.

How to choose the right paper stock

Cover Stock vs. Text Weight

Just as the number of pages could impact the type of booklet you print, the paper could as well. Cover stocks are sturdier and thicker while text stocks are lighter and thinner. A stack of 100 cover paper sheets will be thicker than a stack of 100 text paper sheets. This is very important to know, especially if you’re printing a book with a saddle stitch binding.

There is a limit to how many sheets the saddle stitch booklet can contain before you need to consider moving up to a spiral coil or wire coil booklet.

  • With cover weight stock for both cover and interior pages, the maximum page count is 16
  • With 100# text weight for interior pages, the booklet can be a maximum of 60 pages
  • With 80# text weight for interior pages, the booklet can be a maximum of 64 pages

In online printing, if the page count for your saddle stitched booklet is higher than the page limit, it might be time to consider a spiral coil or wire coil booklet. These booklets can be made with more pages but can become unwieldy once the page count gets over 200, depending on the paper stock you choose.

Whether you’re printing a saddle stitched, wire coil or spiral bound booklet, it’s common to choose a cover stock for the outer cover of the booklet with text stock making up the interior pages.

Matte, Glossy, Textured & More

Once you’ve determined whether cover stock or text weight paper is appropriate for your booklet printing project, it’s time to figure out how the paper will look. The paper choices available for booklets range from the popular premium gloss and premium matte to uncoated and natural stocks to textured paper like felt weave and linen.

You may choose different paper depending on the project. For example, lots of marketing materials are printed on the premium gloss and premium matte. Uncoated is a good choice if you’d like for people to be able to write in your booklet. Additionally, white ink printing is only available on colored stocks and would require a custom quote.

Extra Printing Features

Finally, which type of paper you choose could impact your finishing options. Our online printing services include UV coating and Soft Touch laminate that can give your booklet cover added sturdiness and protection. However, UV coating and laminating can only be applied to smooth, coated papers; it cannot be applied to uncoated, felt weave or linen papers.

Perhaps you’d like the booklet to be three-hole punched so it can be put in a binder. Choosing a cover stock for at least the outer cover (as opposed to using text weight paper for both the exterior and interior pages) can make it less likely for the holes to tear and help you get more use out of the booklet.


Each booklet printing project is unique. The choices you make can impact how sturdy your booklet is and how it is perceived by recipients. With the team of print experts and features offered from a world-class online printer like Smartpress, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right paper stocks to make your own booklet.


Hint: You’ve learned how to choose the right paper stock. Now dive a little deeper:

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The paper sample book is a complete reference to the wide variety of paper stock options offered at Smartpress. Paper sample books are shipped free of charge.

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