How Do I Prepare Files For Book Printing?

When you have slaved over a hot keyboard for what seems like an eternity, and finally finished writing that book, it is important that you prepare your work properly for printing! You will want the best appearance, layout, and finish for your work, so you need to ensure that the files you send your print company for the printing are correctly constructed and formatted – here are some tips on how to best prepare your files for your chosen printer: 

PDF Files – Most print companies will accept Microsoft Word documents or PDF formats. PDF (Portable Document Format) are generally the preferred option for your submitted files – this format is the easiest to print in the appearance and layout you have designed for your text. Saving your files in this format is easy to do by simply following the ‘Save As’ options and instructions that you almost certainly used in writing the content of your book. You should confirm with your print company the correct file formats and sizes you need to create and submit to have your work printed. It is worth arranging to have a sample of your book submitted early in the process to establish the files are correctly set-up and the quality of the print image is satisfactory.

Print Margins – You will want your print company to provide what is referred to as ‘Full Page Printing’ – otherwise known as edge to edge. This is the reproduction of the written content taking into account the ‘bleed’ allowance to avoid leaving borders around each page. Applying the recommended amount of 3mm of bleed for each page will ensure your pages are printed as you intended and won’t ‘crop’ any of the images or content whilst printing. The usual recommendation for margin allowance is 15 mm on each of the edges excepting the binding edge – this will require a slightly wider margin to accommodate the page binding process and prevents images and text from being compromised or ‘lost’ in the fold when opening the book or turning the pages. You should consider the size of book and the form of binding to be applied to fully calculate your margin allowance – for example a paperback book may not require so much margin space as a hardback book!

Image Format And Quality – The quality of your images will go a long way to dictating the finished appearance of your printed book – there is quite a simple rule of thumb to follow here – if your images look pixelated on the screen as you prepare your print files, then they will look that way in the finished print version! To avoid substandard printed images, check your artwork thoroughly – ensure you use images of more than 300 DPI (dots per inch) and ensure the size of your artwork is complementary to the book size you are printing. If you are a printing a book in A4 size, then an A5 image will look unnatural and distorted! The image files you should prepare should be in formats such as JPEG, TIFF, PSD, or the more popular PDF – and always ensure that you have legitimate ownership or reproduction rights of the images you are submitting!

Fonts – It is always advisable to embed the fonts that you have used for your text before submitting your files for printing. If your files are submitted without embedded fonts, then the print company may apply default fonts that are not suitable for the book or be in line with what you had intended resulting in a document that is not laid out or appear as you had hoped! There are available facilities and products that enable you to embed your fonts yourself before sending the files off to print – specialist print tools such as Adobe Indesign are ideal for this purpose, but Microsoft Word can equally perform the task. These processes are menu-driven and simply following the instructions will successfully embed your chosen fonts and produce a printed document of a high-quality finish and appearance.