Data merge help needed


New Member
Hi guys.

New to this forum, so forgive any blunders.

I regularly publish a list of meetings for a 12 step fellowship in the form of a 96 page A6 book, bound as a paperback. The workflow is:

1) From a database generate a .csv file.

2) Using InDesign, data merge from a template I've created to a new doc.

3) Format this doc to facing pages, set margins etc.

4) Create a book, add the formatted data merge doc, add front/back cover and some notes.

5) Export book as a pdf.

The problem:
Due to a change in the copy contained in the database, the copy that now goes into the text box that forms the data record within the data merge template, can now vary hugely, from 20 words to hundreds. If I set the size of this text box to accommodate the maximum then (obviously) each data record will be the same size resulting in lots of wasted space, thereby pushing up the page count.

The question:
So, can anyone think of a way to get the text box to shrink/ expand to accommodate the text it contains? (Remember, this must happen post data merge, i.e. after the fields have been populated.)

Suggest an alternative workflow or software (I'm on a mac).

Thanks for any help.

Brett l-s