Printing and Publishing Glossary

A list of commonly used terms to help you on your self-publishing journey, from 'gutters' and 'glyphs' to DPI and casebinding...

Does 'publishing-speak' have you scratching your head?

At SilverWood, we recognise that having your book published for the first time can be a daunting prospect. There’s so much to learn and take in, and as with any new endeavour, it helps if you speak the language.

If you decide to self-publish your book with us, you’ll be in close contact with your own publishing assistant (see our who’s who here) and she’ll be your hands-on expert...which means you don’t have to learn to speak 'publishing'. But it’s always useful to have an understanding of the terminology.

We’ve put together a short glossary of commonly used publishing terms that you might come across during your publishing journey, from the initial editing process all the way through to the printing stage...

This covers all illustrated material, photographs, images, charts and text that is prepared for reproduction. Artwork can be produced manually or using software such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Extension of artwork beyond the intended trimmed edge of a page. This is provided to allow for any movement of the paper during binding and trimming that could result in an unsightly white edge.

The short promotional text that usually appears on the back of a book (or on the dustjacket if hardback). Blurb may also form part of any marketing or promotional copy used. For tips on writing a good blurb, see our Learning Zone article here.

The thick cover of a hardback book.

Case Binding
Books bound using board (case) covers.

Casing In
The process of placing in and adhering a book to its case covers.

The abbreviation for the four process colours used in standard four-colour printing. Cyan, magenta, yellow and black provide the widest colour range with the smallest number of inks.

The meticulous task of checking the final details of text before the work is proofread and typeset. Copy-editing involves putting text into a publisher’s house style as well as checking the spelling, grammar, punctuation and accuracy of the text. A copy-editor also focuses on continuity, flow, rhythm, repetition and phrasing, and may make sensitive suggestions for rewording. A copy-editor also tries to prevent embarrassing errors of fact, and ensures the typesetter can do a good job.

The right of an originator (author, artist, photographer etc.) to limit the use of their original work. Copyright is broadly controlled by international agreement, but there are substantial differences between countries.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)
A measurement of resolution of a printed image, determined by the number of dots that fit into one inch. The higher the concentration of dots per inch, the sharper the image will be. Print resolution is 300dpi minimum.

A loose paper cover that is wrapped around a cloth-bound book to protect it. The dust jacket often contains an extract from the book, the blurb and information about the author.

These are pages that are pasted onto the binding of a hardback book to fasten the body of the book to the cover. In most cases they are blank, but occasionally feature some design or text. White endpapers are the most economical choice. Expect to pay more for coloured endpapers.

The number of pages in the printed book. Usually divisible by 6, 8, 16 or 32 depending on the printing method. Digital printing can offer page counts divisible by 2.

A collection of glyphs that describes a typeface. The font is the delivery mechanism, represented by a digital file. It tells the typesetter, computer, and printer how to display the typeface. A typeface is the characters, symbols, letters and numbers that make up the overall design of the type. The typeface might be Garamond, while the fonts might be Garamond italic, Garamond bold etc. However, many people use the terms to relate to the same thing. Purists may correct those people!

The graphical representation of a character. A font can contain several glyphs for each letter - a lower case 'a’ and a small cap 'A’, for example. In this way, a single character can be represented by different glyphs.

A range of shades extending from white through to black, used to create greyscale (black & white, or mono) images.

The space between the printed area and binding, also known as the inside margin.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
A 13-digit International Standard Book Number that assists booksellers with processing and ordering. Each unique ISBN identifies a particular publisher, and is assigned only to that publisher (so is not transferable). Often used in association with a barcode. You’ll need one ISBN for each format, so you’ll need 3 ISBNs if you’re producing your book in paperback, hardback and ebook.

The space between lines of type. The leading will usually be associated with the type size and tracking to assist the reading eye.

Paper Types
Coated papers are usually used in photography books and books with illustrations. They come in three principle variety of smoothness; matte, silk, and glossy. Your choice will depend on what kind of book are you hoping to produce.
Uncoated papers have a natural feel and reflect less light in comparison to coated papers, which helps when reading longer texts.
Bookwove papers tend to be 40% thicker than offset papers with a coarser surface. Cream bookwove papers are usually used for novels and longer non-fiction books.
Offset is thinner and has a smoother surface than bookwove papers.

The arrangement and number of pages in a book.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
A document transfer format developed by Adobe- platform independent, encapsulates all elements of the document (including embedded fonts) necessary for its production.

If you include material in your book which has been previously published elsewhere, you will need to seek permission from the original copyright holder to reuse that material. There may be a fee associated with the use of copyrighted material.

Plate section
A collection of pages of photographs which are bound together in sections within a book. A plate section can be a cost-effective way of incorporating colour into a book when using full colour throughout makes a project un-economical.

The introductory pages at the beginning of a book before the actual text itself begins. The prelims may contain a combination of half title, title page, the copyright page, preface, acknowledgements, forewords, and any other material not forming the main part of the book. Some prelim pages will have page numbers, others not. Page numbering may be in Roman numerals while the body of the book will usually be Arabic numerals.

PPC (Paper Printed Case)
This is an alternative casing to cloth casing for hardbacks. A paperback-like cover (but on much thinner paper) is glued on to the stiff boards and laminated in place. As a result, no protective jacket is necessary. See Cindy Beadman’s The Story of Sunny the Flower Fairy for an example.

A proofreader is the final quality-control checker before publication. He or she will correct basic errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar, and ensure consistent styles of tense, hyphenation and capitalisation.

Typeset pages (and book cover or dustjacket) which are sent to the author, who should check that errors have not been introduced during typesetting. At this stage corrections can still be made, but it can be costly, especially if corrections lead to a change in pagination.

The picture on a colour display (computer monitor, television screen), built up from combinations of red, green and blue. RGB is not suitable for printing.

Run on
This refers to extra copies above the number of those originally requested. When publishers order a print run, they are given a price for the number of copies ordered and usually offered a separate run-on price, which is much cheaper per copy since the printing set-up costs are part of the price of the print run ordered. Low run-on costs may persuade a publisher to take a chance with a larger quantity than first planned.

Text Block
The actual block of text on a page, excluding running heads, footers, etc. Usually a uniform size and position throughout a book, with text following grid lines.

The style, arrangement, and appearance of printed matter. The visual art and procedure of arranging type, or processing data and printing from it. The aim is to communicate the meaning of the words clearly and enhance readability.

The process of converting copy-edited or proofread text into the final style, layout and design of a printed book in order for it to be printed. The typesetter may follow a house or series style. At SilverWood, great care is taken during the typesetting stage and we look carefully at font choice, size, and leading, and work hard to eradicate typographic anomalies such as widows and orphans.

Widows (and Orphans)
Words or lines of text that have become separated from the main body of a paragraph. These usually happen because lines of text or even individual words don’t fit within the allocated text box on a page.

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If you would like to learn more about self-publishing with SilverWood support, please get in touch and see how we can help: contact us by clicking here.

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