I have a prized e-book which I am submitting to a website for printing and subsequent courier. The website is asking me to select the quality of paper.

I would like the book to remain more or less the same, say 15 years from now. Is Matte finish a good option or something a bit less expensive can also be an option?

Also, any opinion on the weight of the paper to be used would be really useful.

Thanks a lot.

  • 1
    We don't know what options they offer and at what rates...
    – Weckar E.
    Sep 25, 2019 at 17:26
  • 2
    You might be interested in the question What paper stock should I use for the soft cover of my book? and my answer to that question. Especially the links I mentioned might be helpful for you as they are talking about more than just the cover.
    – Secespitus
    Sep 25, 2019 at 21:18
  • Welcome to Writing.SE MathMan, glad you found us. We have a tour and help center you might wish to check out.
    – Cyn
    Sep 25, 2019 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


I think I understand where you're coming from for this question. However, I don't think we can answer it.

Paper is often measured (where I live) in grams. However, that only really reflects the thickness. It doesn't tell me about the colour or the quality. Bright white can be thin or thick.

Next to me is sitting a novel that is thirteen years old. It is printed on thick, cheap paper. It is still perfectly legible but it probably won't last for a hundred years.

I have computer printouts from when I was at university over thirty years ago. The legibility depends on the quality of the paper, the type of ink and the amount of light they have been exposed to. (The last factor is significant.)

If it's important, I go and touch the paper that will be used for the project. The sheen, the weight and the texture tell me if a particular paper will be suitable. If you can think of a better test, tell me.

  • 1
    Your last portion about touching, feeling and experiencing the feel of the paper is huge! I do this too, for a variety of different projects and presentations. How it feels, looks and (if using large volumes) smells is a big thing for written works (in any capacity).
    – J Crosby
    Sep 25, 2019 at 19:35

The "weight" and grade of "finish" will affect the look and feel of the printed page. Your preference amongst the options is not something we can advise you on. Check at a local printing shop, or paper specialty store, to get a hands-on assessment.

But if you are concerned with longevity (15 years, as you asked), don't worry. Most papers used in photocopiers and laser printing are low-acid and will last. (I have several printed booklets from the 1990's that are still looking sharp.)

That being said, if you are seeking to obtain a book that will truly out-last you, inquire about archival paper. If you take that route, I'd advise you not to be cheap on the binding and cover. Look for stitched signatures and cloth-covered heavy card. It will cost ($$$), but it will look hot.

EDIT: A 30lb paper (also labelled as "70# text") will have a nice weight, and will have very little show-through. Of your options for paper finish, just compare a regular piece of photocopier paper (unfinished), almost any college/university textbook (usually some grade of matte), and a magazine from a store (usually gloss or satin). What would you prefer?

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