Every stage of publishing your book requires you to make an informed decision. Choosing the right paper type is yet another important choice you will have to make as it determines the overall look of your book. Broadly speaking, paper type can be divided into two categories – uncoated and coated. Coated paper has a coating or special finish applied to the paper; uncoated does not.


Uncoated paper is recommended for books that consist mainly of text. Most of the books you read will be printed on uncoated paper. It has a matt appearance and therefore no glare. It also has a more textured look and feel. As there is no coating the actual paper is thicker which makes turning pages easier. If you decide to use uncoated paper for colour illustrations, photographs etc. bear in mind that due to its increased absorbency it is likely to reproduce tones and shades differently from coated paper.


Coated paper is typically more expensive than uncoated. As the name suggests a special coating or finish is applied to the paper. This reduces the amount of ink absorbed into the paper and prevents blurring. It produces finer lines and enhances sharpness and clarity. The coating also increases its durability. It is widely used for art books, photo books, biographies which have little text, children’s books, recipe books, colour inserts etc. Due to the higher cost involved these books will often have fewer pages than a text only book.

There are two types of coated paper: gloss and satin or silk.

  • Gloss has a more pronounced sheen which can enrich colour, making it more vibrant` and improve sharpness.
  • Satin or silk has a low sheen coating and a slightly more matte finish.  

Whether you choose coated or uncoated paper, there are increasingly sophisticated options available in both categories which will ensure a great end product. Ultimately the choice is up to you as to what kind of look you want your book to have and what kind of budget you are able to allocate to it.

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Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.