Trade Books

Easy to sell, print,
and distribute

  ✓ Bookstore-grade printing
  ✓ Customizable design
  ✓ Affordable pricing

Trade books are versatile and affordable. And with our print-on-demand services, there’s no need to place up-front orders or deal with storage and shipping.


  • Bookstore-grade quality trade books</a>

    Bookstore-grade quality

    Trade books allow full customization from cover to spine to paper type. Our papers have a terrific hand-feel and feature rich black ink and deep, bold colors.
  • Distribute trade books worldwide

    Easy worldwide distribution

    Trade books make it easy to print, distribute, and ship your work wherever you want to sell it, including the Blurb Bookstore, Ingram (includes Amazon), and 39,000+ indie bookstores.
  • Trade books priced for sellers

    Priced for

    Trade books are an extremely affordable option for printing, so you can competitively price your creations and still make good earnings. Plus, our trade books come with a free ISBN.
  • Free tools and templates for trade books

    Free tools and templates

    We offer free, easy-to-use BookWright software and design templates to help you make your trade book effortlessly, or you can choose Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, or Lightroom plugins.


High-Quality Trade Books

Versatile formats help capture your vision and are ideal for self-publishers looking for quality at a lower price per copy.

Trade books with a watermelon on the cover shown in three sizes


  • Travel Log trade book shown in a 13x20 cm in size
    13x20 cm
    We like it for: novels or novellas, fiction, paperbacks, travel journals, how-to books

  • What if This Is All Real trade book show in a 15x23 cm in size
    15x23 cm
    We like it for: fiction, non-fiction, short stories, textbooks, behind-the-scenes books


  • Burger Book trade book shown in a 8x10 size
    20x25 cm
    We like it for: children’s books, biographies, yearbooks, cookbooks, portfolios, manuals

Trade book paper types

Paper Types

Trade books can be as few as 24 pages to as many as 440 pages with these three paper types.

  • Trade book economy black and white
    Economy Black and White
    White or cream uncoated, 75 g/m²
    Why we like it: Works well for books of mostly text and line art.
  • Trade book economy color
    Economy Color
    White uncoated, 75 g/m²
    Why we like it: Great price, lower fidelity black and color, but great for print and line art.
  • Trade book standard color
    Standard Color
    White uncoated, 105 g/m²
    Why we like it: Shows rich black and deep color, perfect for images and illustrations.
Trade Book Cover Options

Cover Options

  • Softcover trade book with gloss finish and no cover flaps
    Print on the front cover, back cover, and spine
    Gloss finish
    No cover flaps
  • ImageWrap hardcover trade book with durable matte finish and no over flaps
    ImageWrap Hardcover
    Print an image on front and back cover plus spine
    Durable matte finish
    No cover flaps
  • Dust jacket hardcover trade book with glossy dust jacket and slate-gray linen hardcover
    Dust Jacket Hardcover
    Glossy dust jacket
    Slate-gray linen hardcover



BookWright Layouts we love

With our free software, you have complete creative control and can choose from a variety of layouts for different types of books and page arrangements. Here are a few of our favorites for trade books.



BookWright Layouts we love


Download Bookwright




Ready to make your trade book?


  • BookWright module shown on laptop
    Design trade books with our free software featuring customizable templates, layout ideas, and image retouching tools.
  • Adobe InDesign Plug-in
    Adobe InDesign Plug-in
    Create unique, print-ready books, magazines, or wall art as part of your InDesign workflow.
  • Blurb PDF uploader shown on laptop
    Blurb PDF Uploader
    Have a PDF ready to publish? Just upload it and get your trade book printed quickly and easily.
  • Adobe Lightroom Book Module
    Adobe Lightroom Book Module
    Already editing photos in Lightroom? Turn your digital galleries into beautifully printed photo books.


Trade Book Success Stories


  • AG23 photo zine in trade book format
    By Dan Milnor and Rick Elder

    This offset printed 15x23 cm, softcover zine promotes understanding through dialogue and art. They chose trade for its exceptional reproduction of illustrated content and portable trim size.
  • Mixed poetry book in trade book format
    By Cameron Mouton

    'Creative freedom,' is the reason this Los Angeles-based Afro-Latina writer and editor chose an affordable trade book for her debut.
  • Houseplant home and garden book in trade book format
    By Hannah Stetter

    Leafy, flowery, and prickly plants get their moment in the sun with stunning, colorful spreads fit for a high-quality photography book, but priced to sell.



Create, Sell, and Distribute


  • Sell any format trade book

    Sell any format

    Choose the best format for your self-published book to strike a balance between your creative vision and a price that works for your audience.
  • Print trade books as you go

    Print as you go

    Reduce your self-publishing risk! Order a single book to proof. Since you can digitally print trade books for each sale, you’ll eliminate upfront expenses.
  • Distribution options for trade books

    Distribution options

    Create a self-published book you can sell and distribute at scale through the Blurb Bookstore, on Ingram (includes Amazon), and in more than 39,000 stores worldwide.
  • Large order services for trade books

    Large order services

    Enjoy custom discounts, bespoke print solutions, and expert support from our in-house team for orders of 100 or more books.

Ready to make your trade book?

  • Trade Book FAQs


    What is a trade book?
    Why are they called trade books?
    What are trade books used for?
    What are examples of trade books?
    What are the types of trade books?

    What is a trade book?

    As the largest category in book publishing, a trade book is intended for general readership and typically sold through bookstores and other traditional retail channels. Trade books are available in various genres, including fiction and nonfiction novels, memoirs, and lower-price-per-copy photo books. They're what most people envision when they think of books and publishing in the general sense.

    Trade books are common formats for self-publishers who use platforms like Blurb as well as publishing houses that specialize in producing books for the general public. They're often printed in a standard size and format and priced affordably for sellers. Blurb offers 5x8 in (13x20 cm), 6x9 in (15x23 cm) and 8x10 in (20x25 cm) trade book sizes.

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    Why are they called trade books?

    The definition of "trade book" originates from the practice known as "trade publishing," which refers to the business of publishing books intended for the general public. Trade publishers are for-profit publishing houses that aim to produce books that will sell in the marketplace and generate profits for the publisher, author, and other stakeholders.

    Not to be confused with skilled trades or stock trading, the term "trade" in this context refers to the commercial activity associated with buying and selling books as a commodity in the marketplace. Trade books are intended to be published and marketed to the general public instead of specialized audiences like academics or professionals. In turn, trade books reflect a much wider audience and genres ranging from children's books to self-help books.

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    What are trade books used for?

    Trade books are a popular format used for a wide variety of purposes, including reading enjoyment and enrichment, personal growth, research and documentation, and subject matter teaching. In an educational context, trade books lend to various topics for student consumption and offer teachers autonomy in choosing relevant materials for instruction.

    In the general marketplace, trade books are an affordable alternative to photo books and portfolios for creating collections of photos, art, and stories. They're primarily genre-agnostic and are often used for leisure reading or to learn about a new subject or topic. Overall, trade books serve a vast array of purposes and are enjoyed by readers of all ages and interests.

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    What are examples of trade books?

    There are countless examples of trade books, as they encompass a broad range of book genres and subjects. Here are a few popular examples of trade books across core categories:

    • Fiction: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," "Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," and J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye."
    • Nonfiction: Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air," Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit," Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," and Yuval Noah Harari's "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind."
    • Memoirs: Tara Westover's "Educated," Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime," and Michelle Obama's "Becoming."
    • Self-help: Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People," and James Clear's "Atomic Habits."
    • Children's Books: E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web," and Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree."

    These are just a collection of classic trade book examples by popular genres. The world of trade books spans a much broader scope of topics and genres, and new titles are constantly being released.

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    What are the types of trade books?

    Trade books can be classified in several ways. The most common way to organize the various types of trade books is by genre, which can include: novels, memoirs and autobiographies, self-help and personal development, children's literature, travel and guidebooks, and art and photography. However, in a publishing context, the classification of trade book types can be viewed a bit differently.

    In addition to the genre, trade books can be classified based on their book cover type: softcover, hardcover imagewrap, and hardcover dust jacket. Trade paperbacks, or paperbacks, usually measure around 13x20 cm and are more affordable and portable compared to hardcovers. Hardcover trade books are hardbound, with perfect-bound spine and removable dust jackets. Hardcover trade books are preferred for being more durable; however, standard paperbacks generally cost less to produce.

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