Printing and Publishing Glossary

A list of commonly used terms to help you on your publishing journey. (Updated and refreshed.)
At SilverWood, we understand 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 work with SilverWood, 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.

The extra ink area that crosses the trimmed edge of a page. Used to avoid strips of unsightly white at the edges of a page where the image goes right to the trimmed edge.

The short promotional text which 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 typeset. Copy-editing involves putting text into a publisher’s house style as well as checking the grammar and accuracy of the text.

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 which 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.

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 transferrable). 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 epub.

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

The arrangement and number of pages in a book.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

Want to know more...?

If you’d like to know more about publishing with SilverWood Books please email the SilverWood team.

“The personal service I received was superior. No query or problem was left unanswered or unattended.”

Nicholas King