3 Reasons You Need to Make a Trade Book | Blurb Blog

3 Reasons You Need to Make a Trade Book
30 Jan 2018

3 Reasons You Need to Make a Trade Book

Trade Books are one of Blurb’s secret weapons for self-publishers or anyone who wants to give away less-expensive versions of beautiful books. With so much attention on paper type and the variety of trim sizes with Photo Books, it’s easy to overlook this fantastic format. But for writing children’s books, cookbooks, memoirs, or even comic books, Trade Books can’t be beaten.

Trade books were designed from the get-go for distribution and have the most competitive pricing of any of Blurb’s books. They’re especially beneficial in situations where getting your work in the world depends on having a cost-per-copy typical book buyers would recognize. If you haven’t already, here’s why you should consider a Trade Book:

1 ) The print quality is beautiful

Blurb’s standard-color Trade Books are printed with the same printers used for many of the Photo Books. You really have to see it to believe it, but the color richness and range for this price point is truly incredible. Photographs, graphics, illustrations, and saturated designs all reproduce well. The thing that makes the difference is the paper, which is matte with a look and feel like a typical bookstore book.

Economy printing, especially Economy Black and White, often uses toner-based machines like many of the text-heavy books you’d find in a bookstore. You get dark blacks and sharp edges, which is just what you’d need for clear and easy reading. Economy Black and White also offers a cream-colored paper, which is common in traditionally-published titles. Economy Color lets you add pops of color to help important sections stand out, or gives you a rougher, lo-fi look you might want for your design style.

2 ) For the free ISBN

To sell your book in stores, get it in libraries, sell it with an online bookseller, anywhere, you need an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs, if purchased separately, could cost up to $125.00 each from the ISBN distributor. Blurb’s Trade Books assign each of your titles a number, and this even changes if you create a second or third edition. Each of your cover types—hardcover, softcover, etc.—also gets its own ISBN. Some things to note about ISBNs: They are part of the printing process. This means they will always be on your Trade Book and they cannot be removed, nor can they be moved to a different location on the cover. They are located in standard industry locations on the cover, so be careful when designing the back of your book so as to leave room for it.

3 ) It’s ready to sell

Trade Books are priced to sell, with the lowest price-per-page at Blurb. They’re designed for publications of 100+ pages and come in common bookshelf-ready sizes, like you’d find in a bookstore. Blurb partners with Ingram to print and distribute its Trade Books. Ingram is the leading book printer and distributor in the industry, so creating a Trade Book makes it possible to put it into wide distribution. Blurb Trade Books in distribution with Ingram can be ordered on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble stores, as well as independent bookstores, provided the customer has your ISBN.

Don’t believe us? Consider making your visual book as a Standard Color Trade Book and a Photo Book and see how it stands up. You may be surprised, but you’ll likely be impressed. There’s no better format for a text-based book, but either way, when you see the price compared to a Photo Book, when you see the quality, and when you see the reach of distribution, you’ll be convinced.


Jessica Ruscello

Jessica is writer, teacher, and photographer who makes her mark with empty coffee cups, ink spills, and red lipstick. She’s passionate about creativity, people, and the written word. She believes anything worth doing is worth doing beautifully. When not chasing the perfect sentence, she’s stalking Bay Area beauty camera in-hand, amazed and grateful that she gets to call San Francisco her home.

  • Photo Book, when you see the quality, and when you see the reach of distribution, you’ll be convinced.