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What does PP mean in Printing?

Saddle Stitched Uncoated Brochure

When making a brochure printing order, have you ever come up against a printer who is insisting on changing the number of pages your brochure has? You have artwork for a 9 page brochure and they are saying it must be 8 pages or 12 pages, does that sound familiar? Or a 38 page book and they say it must be 36 pages. Here is the reasoning behind it.


What does “PP” mean in printing?

PP means printed pages. When planning or ordering a printed brochure or leaflet of any kind you may be asked how many printed ages there are.  So when we (the printer) say 8pp or 16pp, that simply means eight printed sides which is four leaves (pages), or sixteen printed sides which is eight leaves. A brochure is always made in multiples of 4 because each folded section makes 4 separate pages.  There are situations where this can change, for example, when something called throw-outs are used. This is where an extra page folds out from the cover which changes the “rule of 4”.

The 8pp Book

If you wanted an 8pp A4 book then it’s constructed with two sheets of A3 folded in half and stapled in the spine. Each sheet of A3, once folded, has four A4 sides to it. Stapled together in the spine that gives eight A4 sides. We call that an 8pp booklet, so if your artwork has eight pages, then that will fit perfectly.

4pp fold

How we print the 8pp

The most economical way for us to print an 8pp book is all on one A2 size sheet. A2 gives us space to print four A4 pages on each side making eight in total. Once printed the A2 sheet is folded in half and half again to A4 and then stapled in the spine. After stapling (the correct term is actually ‘Two wire stitch’ or ‘saddle stitch’) we then cut a few millimeters off the top, bottom and front edge to make the neat 8pp A4 book.

8pp fold

The 9pp Book

Now, if you want a 9pp booklet, that’s not possible because any more than 8pp means adding another sheet of four A4 sides. Your next option is 12pp, then 16pp and so on.

But it doesn’t stop there. To print a multi page book, we print all the pages on a larger sheet and fold it to size before stapling. So if you want a 16pp A4 book, we print that on an A1 sheet which allows us to print eight A4 pages on each side, giving us sixteen A4 sides. We fold the A1 sheets into half 3 times, to A4 size, then staple and trim as above. If you need a 32pp book we print two A1 sheets of sixteen pages and collate them together before putting the staples in the spine. For a 24pp book we print an A1 sheet for sixteen pages and an A2 sheet for the eight pages and collate those together giving 24pp. So you can see that the ideal page counts for brochures are in multiples of eight or sixteen because they fall within standard paper sizes.

For the in-between pages numbers like 20pp or 28pp, these are still okay but it just costs a little more because we are printing extra little 4pp sections in. Throw-outs can be included as a creative solution for adding fold-out sections in a book, effectively adding 2pp, or 4pp pages.

Different size books will further complicate it because the 210 x 210mm size fits twelve each side on A1, so the sections become 24pp. A5 fits sixteen up and so on, but you can leave us to do the calculating. We will advise.


We offer a full brochure printing and design service for businesses and organisations across the UK.


Trevor has accrued 31 years’ experience in the print industry and has a wealth of knowledge in almost every field of print. He has built Action Press to where it is today and has guided the company through changes in both litho and digital media.

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