I finished writing a book, and was planning to publish, but decided to go a self-publishing route so I can maintain better ownership of it. It's a children's textbook, so it needs to look professional, eye-catching, and quality design that allows children to navigate it clearly.

The problem is, I don't know much page and typography design. I know well enough to know how complex the art of laying out text can be. I have nice software that can get good results, but it still requires templates made by a designer, and the software has limited ones.

If I simply find a design I like in an existing book, is it illegal to copy the page dimensions, page numbering, font choice, and font sizes, for chapter titles, table of contents style, headings, etc.?

2 Answers 2


I am not a lawyer, but I very much doubt someone could claim rights over page dimensions or page numbering, etc.

Most books have one of a set of standard page dimensions, for example textbooks are usually 6"x 9", 7"x 10", or 8.5"x 11". And there are only so many places where you can put the page numbers or headers and footers and footnotes.

Things that are copyrighted are the actual content and artwork. Some fonts also require you to buy a license. However, for many standard fonts there is an almost identical looking free font that you can use as alternative.

A book design template is an interesting case. I think it would be copyrighted, but in the same way that software is. So copying or using it without a license would be prohibited, but independently creating a template that does the same thing would be allowed. (But as I said, I am not a lawyer.)

If you're comfortable with LaTeX, there are many free templates that give excellent results for many kinds of books and documents. Although I'm not sure that's also the case for children's textbooks (I'm more familiar with ones for adult academic audiences.)


Yes. Paper jackets and most artwork are ​copyrighted​. If you're unsure, email the publisher.​

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