Book printing – Frequently asked questions

Q. How should I supply you with my manuscript in MS Word?
Q. A. Preferably proof read, unless we are doing this for you, and with a consistent layout.
Q. Can I have a few books printed as hardbacks?
A. You can have as few as 30 copies of your books printed and bound as a hardback with or without a dust cover and with a range of cover materials.
Q. Does having pictures and images in the book affect the printing price?
A. Yes, it can do as we may need to print using a more suitable paper for reproduction.
Q. How many books should I print?
A. Excluding books for promotional purposes you should not print a single copy more than you can sell unless, of course, it is for family or private distribution.
Q. Which is better for my book – digital or litho printing?
A. There is virtually no difference in quality today between our digital and litho printing today. Digital is ideal for short run books (both black & white and full colour) from 30 copies up to 500-750 copies at which stage litho printing generally becomes more cost effective.
Q. Do I need an ISBN?
A. The ISBN is the International Standard Book Number. If you want to sell your book through major bookshops and Internet outlets, you need to have an ISBN for their ordering systems. The ISBN also provides access to bibliographic information and your title details can be disseminated widely to booksellers and libraries in more than 100 countries.
Q. How do I get an ISBN?
A. You can buy one from us for print on demand books or, you can buy direct from the ISBN agency in your country usually over the Internet.
Q. How do I get my book listed on Amazon and other on-line book stores?
A. For your book to be listed on Amazon and other on-line outlets it needs to be registered with Nielsen BookData (the UK ISBN agency is part of Nielsen BookData). If you are using one of our ISBNs we do this for you.
Q. What size (dimensions) should my book be?
A. We will advise you on the most cost effective size for manufacturing your book taking into account your preferences and requirements. The printing method (litho or digital) may also have a bearing on the dimensions.
Q. What is a Page?
A. One leaf equals two pages. So a 200pp book would have 100 leaves. Please remember to quote number of pages.
Q. What should I do about a cover design?
A. You can supply images and text and we will make up the complete cover artwork for you including the spine. Alternatively, we will brief one of our cover designers to design your cover from scratch. If you wish to make up your own cover or jacket artwork, ask us for the dimensions and please note this can only be done in a professional application such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress.
Q. What if I need help with the layout and typeface for my book?
A. We can supply you with standard dimensions and margins for the text. Please note that we are not able to provide support beyond this as it is assumed you have the technical skills. Alternatively, one of our designers can do the layout and typography for you.
Q. What are the specifications for supplying files?
A. Our preference is to receive print ready PDFs for the cover and for the text. We recognise this is not always possible so we can accept Adobe InDesign files as well as ready formatted MS Word files. If files other than print ready PDF are submitted there will be a charge for converting them to PDF.

General Tips on PDFs:
a) The Cover
Consisting of the outside back cover, spine and outside front cover. We will confirm the spine width to you and supply a template/diagram, if required.
b) The Text
Should preferably be supplied as one PDF for the entire manuscript with one page up to view. We will do the imposition for printing. Where manuscripts may be too large for one file then more than one PDF may be supplied.
c) Fonts and Graphics
These must be embedded within the PDF. To check, open the PDF and go to >File >Properties >Fonts. All fonts used in the document are listed and they ALL must have the words (embedded subset) next to them.
d) Images
These should be scanned and inserted at a minimum of 300dpi to reproduce well. Lower resolution images will not print clearly. (Please remember that images downloaded from the Internet are not suitable for printing as they are only 72dpi unless, you have specifically ordered a high-resolution image.)
e) Bleed
If you have an image that prints to the edge of the book (page) this image “bleeds”. For us to be able to print this there has to be part of the image that gets trimmed off. Therefore, the artwork needs to be extended by a minimum of 3mm on all four sides of the page. Please note that any text should be at least 3mm inside the trim size.
f) Download ‘How to create a PDF X1a in Indesign
g) Colours and Litho printing
Files for litho printing must be created using CMYK colours. We will supply basic profile information for saving as a PDF, on request.
h) Colours and Digital printing
We prefer to receive files created using CMYK but can convert from RGB on press.
j) Proofs
Please check your quotation to see if proofs are included. On smaller digital jobs and if PDFs are supplied, we don’t generally supply proofs though they can be provided for colour books.

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