I am self-publishing a free e-book which I will make available in several formats: EPUB, online HTML, PDF.

What characteristics should the PDF e-book file have? What should the page size, font size, margins, and so on be?

2 Answers 2


Before going ahead with the rest of the answer, please keep in mind that pdf is not usually considered as a true ebook format.

Some standards, based on a number of pdf ebooks (technically not standard but convention):

  • Page Size: Usually 6-by-9 inches or 7-by-10 inches (but there is no fixed size. You can even use A4 or smaller; Ebooks larger than A4 would be a rarity, I believe).

  • Top and Bottom Margin: Usually 1 inch (the idea is to keep both of them equal. You can tweak around with the size depending on your paper/page size)

  • Left and Right Margin: Usually 1 inch (the idea is to keep both of them equal. You can tweak around with the size depending on your paper/page size)

  • Font: Use serif/sans-serif fonts but avoid serif fonts with delicate serifs or thin strokes (the goal being, it should be easily readable). The choice of font would depend on the type of book as well. Usually Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Verdana, etc. are used.

  • Font Size: 12 (but this may change based on your paper size and also on the font that you have selected)

  • Line spacing: 1.15/1.5

I guess these should help you get started. If you need any more specifications, please comment.

  • Agree with the pdf not being an ebook format. One thing I'll add is: No use fretting over fonts etc, as most eReaders will override them anyway. Same with page size- it makes no sense for eBooks. Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 19:15
  • +1: PDF's lead to reader disappointment and frustration, as they do not scale or flow with different page sizes. I'd stay clear of it completely. Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 18:11
  • PDF might be useful if you want people to be able to print things off (and you think it would be nice to have a good-looking, formatted PDF), and in that case you'd want either A4 or US Letter paper (they're similar enough that you only need to bother with one).
    – evilsoup
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 8:05
  • 2
    Although I agree with the sentiment that PDF often is not the correct format for ebooks. But this is often only really true for text only ebooks. The moment you have graphically rich books; like a cookbook, you may prefer a PDF that retains formatting. EPub and ereaders often butcher the formatting.
    – rioki
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 11:31
  • "Not considered as a true ebook format", but by who? Please gives source to support the claim, Whose opinion is it and what are the reasons. It's not a matter to agree, it's probably a good opinion, but it's a matter to avoid expressing self opinion.
    – Quidam
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 17:44

I would suggest the same formats that most editors and publishers would require for evaluating your book, that would be a serif font (like Times New Roman or Courier New) and double spaced. On top of that you could ad some adornments for your public, like large first letters for the first paragraph of a chapter, etc. Above all, make it so that it is easy to read if printed.

  • Are you conflating submission requirements (what editors require for evaluation) with publication requirements (what the question seems to be asking about)? Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.