When disseminating your research with a preprint, is there ever a disadvantage to using (almost) the full printable page area? I see overwhelming advantages to using the entire page:

  • The page count is lower,
  • hence the document is easier to navigate
  • and the printed stack is cheaper and lighter

Possible disadvantages include:

  • Some people may want ample space for their own annotations
  • Some people may dislike long lines

Whether to use the full printable area is more important in mathematics because one of the dominant styles for formats, namely the ones used in AMS publications, leaves side margins that basically cover >40% of the entire page. This seems rather excessive.

But I also know that many (recent?) formats in mathematics go fairly close to the printable area. So what are the most reasonable side margins for a (mathematics) preprint?

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    The first advantage is not an advantage, just a statement of fact. The second supposed advantage does not follow from the first claim. The third is simply irrelevant – is the cost of printing papers an actual concern to you or anyone you know? By focusing on supposed efficiency, you're really missing the key point here, which is not that "some people may dislike long lines", but that it's a well-established typographic principle that when the lines are too long the text gets more difficult to read. Aug 18, 2023 at 22:48
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    You might not truly want readers to wonder why-in-the-world you did a strangely non-conformist thing... distracting them from the content. Not that I'm an advocate for conformity, but, sometimes, non-conformity can just be "noise". Aug 18, 2023 at 22:51
  • @paulgarrett: who says non-conformist? I see very different common practices next to each other, and rather than just picking one by chance, I'd rather make a conscious choice. Besides, the "why-in-the-world are doing that strangely non-conformist thing" is generally how virtually everyone else reacts to conventions in mathematics.
    – Ambicion
    Aug 18, 2023 at 23:44
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    @Ambicion, well, to my perception, many/most people just use default TeX/LaTeX settings for margins and such... I suppose because they are more interested in the content than the format. I myself have experimented with different fonts, font sizes, interline spacings, etc., but, as it turns out, the defaults are pretty good, by comparison. Well, ok, yes, to my perception. :) Aug 19, 2023 at 0:22
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    @Ambicion "And are you saying that physicians, economists, and physicists are doing it all wrong and only mathematicians got it right?" No, I am explaining what the main reason is to keep your lines short. I don't know what the normal preprint looks like in physics, but as far as I can tell they tend to be typeset either like math preprints or in a multiple column format (which keeps your lines short). What is not happening, as far as I can tell, is that they are typeset in a single-column format like math preprints but with smaller margins. Aug 19, 2023 at 0:34


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