WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BOOK PRINTING

Book printing is a specialized niche within the printing industry -- don't go to the corner printshop to get your book printed! Call Pneuma Books for help.

Book printing is a process that is unique within printing. Books usually are standard sizes and are printed on standard paper. To do this, they must have standard page counts and be designed in standard ways to accommodate prepress processes and printing presses.

Book printers usually specialize in just book printing to be able to offer economical print pricing. As a publisher, you'll need to seek out a book printer and learn how to request a quote. It can be a complicated and lengthy process -- how do you know what size or page count your book will be or what type of paper to request? It can be difficult just to find a book printer. Once you do, how do you know the printer is offering you a good price or whether they are a quality printer?

We can help. We have experience working with printers and negotiating prices. We are familiar with the most reputable and the most economical. And we can accurately approximate the page count and size for your book. Part of our design fee covers finding just the right printer for your book. We have knowledge of which printers are more economical or experienced for certain sizes or types of books. Bottom line is; you need to work backwards -- know your end product's specifications to get a good price and printer. We'll help.

Here's what's covered on this page:

>>Designing Your Book for Print
>>Beware of Printer Design Packages
>>Standard Book Sizes
>>PrePress
>>Signatures
>>Presses
>>POD (Print on Demand)
>>Bindery
>>Finishing


Designing Your Book for Print

Book Designers
Designers know the idiosyncrasies of book design -- standard sizes; acceptable gutters and margins; ink tolerance; treatment for elements such as footnotes, endnotes, sidebars, pull quotes, titling, bulleting, and features page counts and signatures; folios; and front and back matter. Book production is a craft requiring great skill. Why are there standards for these things? Because, as readers, we subconsciously expect books to appear a certain way -- a way that enables our brain to easily process the information we are looking at.

Yes, you could probably buy a book on book design and learn how to produce a book. But, trust me, it is a slow and painful process. And, if you are not good at it, you'll produce a disaster. You are gambling with the success of your book -- and that means sales dollars. Leave it to a professional (Pneuma!) while you concentrate your efforts on marketing your book.

Because book printing is very particular, it can be costly if you design a book that conflicts with prepress or press capability. Unless you understand book printing, you should let a designer or print buyer coordinate the printing for you. Book printing is specific with regard to sizes, page count, inks, photos, prepress, etc. Of course, you could spend a lot of time receiving an education about print from printers and salesmen and design a book that is printable. But wouldn't you just rather tell us what you want and let us deliver the best creative printable solution for you? An excellent little book on the subject is The Pocket Pal: A Graphic Arts Handbook, published by International Paper; available from the publisher. This book covers every technical aspect of the industry.

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Beware of Printers!
Many small printers who service self-publishing authors advertise "one-stop shopping" by offering "art and design services" at amazingly low prices in addition to printing. This is a marketing ploy to entice an author to use the print services. Usually, the printer has several cookie-cutter "styles" to choose from for the book's interior and cover. Why on earth would any author want their book to look like other books? Obviously this method of design is not customized to a book's content. Printers print; designers design; in many cases, a printer has purchased page layout software and hired someone who knows how to use it. But very little "design" goes into the development of the book. Mostly, it is a process of rehashing templates and changing colors. Design is especially critical when it comes to your book's cover. Most of the cover "styles" available are merely a typestyled title and a piece of clip art. In addition, these "styles" offer no marketing expertise pertaining to your subject. Good designers familiarize themselves with the content they are designing and employ their commercial know-how and marketing skills in conceptualizing and sculpting the product -- at least Pneuma Books does.

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Printing 101

Standard Book Sizes for Trade
The following book sizes will cut your printing costs dramatically. Printers buy paper in bulk at certain sizes. Page size is contingent on the most economical fit for the paper that can also be accommodated on press. You can print a size different from those listed but it will cost extra for prepress and press adjustments. These sizes are categorized according to their most common markets.

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Prepress
The printing process works like this: your pages are photographed and "impositioned" or placed into a signature configuration. The negative, or film, of that signature is transferred to photosensitive paper, called bluelines, which are used to give you a dummy of your book for final approval. The cover is also color-separated and recomposited as a proof for your approval. After your signoff, the signature and cover film are transferred to metal printing plates. This whole process is termed Prepress and Makeready. Your pages are photographed from sharp laser printouts or they are processed digitally direct to film or sometimes plates. If you have many photos and special elements that require hi-resolution, you may want to have them scanned by a drum scanner and placed into the film at the prepress stage. Usually you can include them in your page layout software if you have powerful equipment, the right software, and the know-how. The prepress process can get complicated. You don't want to make mistakes in preparing your files, because at this stage, corrections are extremely expensive. If you are producing a complicated layout, it is better to have an experienced professional production artist do it for you to ensure it is done correctly. If you do it yourself, ensure you provide all hi-res, corrected linked files and postscript fonts. True Type fonts are a no-no. 

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Signatures
If you take a piece of paper and fold it into eighths, then cut off the top, right, and bottom folded sides, leaving the left outer fold, you have a signature. A signature is a large piece of film or paper that accommodates individual pages and, when folded, orders the pages sequentially. Depending on the size of the paper, signatures accommodate 4, 8, 16, 32, and sometimes 64 pages. Once printed, they are folded and gathered, bound and glued, trimmed, and voila, you have a book. Why am I telling you this? Well, your book's page count must be divisible by 16 to be printed economically. A designer knows this and plans for it in the production of the book.

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Presses
You don't really need to know anything about presses except that there is a type of cheap printing for mass market books (like dimestore novels) that is called a Cameron Belt Press. Unless that is the type of book you are doing, don't have your book printed this way. The other two types of presses are web presses and sheet-fed presses. Your designer will select the best press for the job. The Pocket Pal details press information if you need to understand how they work.

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P.O.D. (Print on Demand)
While we are talking of printing, there is another type of printing that is ideal for very short runs (25-500). It is digital printing. Basically, it is high-end copying. A digital file from a page layout program goes to a high-speed copier. The book is then bound by the machine by mechanical binding. Some shops offer perfect binding. It is very economical and wise if your are unsure of your marketing plans to move your book. Please call and consult us about this option.

This is an area of publishing that is coming-of-age. We are developing strategies for offering design and promotional support for this venue of book selling. To learn more about P.O.D and ePublishing, click here.

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Binding
After your book is printed it is finished -- covered, bound, wrapped, and packed. There are a number of choices to make in these areas. You have several bindery options.

Perfect Bound
This is the most popular. The edges are roughed and a hot glue strip is applied. Then the cover is added. Perfect bound books lie flat. Perfect binding is economical.

Case Binding
This is hardback. Case binding is expensive and a more intricate process than other binding. It is appropriate for presentation copies and assured bestsellers. Many authors choose to case bind a few hundred copies.

Mechanical Binding
This is primarily used for short run Docu-Teching, or P.O.D (Print-On-Demand). It is basically spiral binding or rivet binding. It is acceptable for the office place but not the commercial book market.

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Finishing
Finishing is the catch-all process of book printing. It is lamination of your cover; embossing, foil stamping, and spot varnishing your cover; tipping in sheets or signatures to the book; shrink-wrapping; packing and stacking; and shipping or warehousing. Obviously, some of these options are related to the design of your book and cover and some are related to your decisions about distribution and fulfillment. The one thing you do want is film lamination of your cover. This protects your book from scuffing during shipping. Also, we recommend shrink wrapping in groups of 5 or ten to reduce the movement of the books during shipping. This protect the covers and enables you to protect surplus books in an opened box. It also helps you control your inventory.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is the opinion of Pneuma Books, LLC and is presented for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of legal, financial, or other professional counsel. Individuals should consult an attorney, accountant, and additional publishing consultants for specific applications to their individual publishing or writing ventures. Individuals should always gather and consider more than one source of information in order to make well-informed decisions. Pneuma Books, LLC reserves the right to decline and or rescind any free offer at anytime for any reason. Free offers by Pneuma Books are not a contractual obligation between any party and Pneuma Books, LLC. Pneuma Books, LLC is under no contractual obligation to provide any free goods or services of any kind to anyone for any reason at anytime. Pneuma Books, LLC specializes in reviewing, critiquing, and producing mostly nonfiction books of a traditional and conservative nature. This may include: business books; books on finance; how-to books and handbooks; traditional self-help; health and fitness; hobby and lifestyle books; educational books; tradeworthy biography and autobiography; history and historical fiction; tradeworthy children's books; and Judeo-Christian devotional and theological books. Pneuma Books, LLC will consider tradeworthy, traditional, conservative fiction. Pneuma Books, LLC reserves the right to decline the review of book projects that are not within our specialty. Pneuma Books, LLC reserves the right to reject any manuscript for any reason.


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Tel: 1-410-441-8200
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Pneuma Books is not a Publisher, Subsidy Publisher, Vanity Press, POD, or Book Printer. Pneuma Books is a Book Producer. Pneuma Books does not issue ISBN numbers.


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