How to format a book for printing

Whenever you are writing a book, one of the biggest considerations is how to get the work published when it is finished. Self-publishing has become an easier option with the advent and progression of different software applications for book printing. Once you have decided to follow this option, there are steps necessary in order to get your book printed. It is always a good idea to speak with experienced self-publishing book printers who will be able to offer you some assistance and guidance.

Here are some of the issues you need to consider:

Supplying your book in files suitable for printing

You will need to supply the book printers with print ready PDF files for both the cover and the text for the work. These PDF files should have at least 10mm white margins all round for the text pages and should include crop marks to identify where to trim the files. A cover file should also be included catering for a 3mm bleed all round.

Colour books should include another 5mm bleed around and any images should be a minimum of 300dpi.

The purpose of a print ready PDF file is that, once submitted, the fonts used for your text will be embedded, meaning that the file cannot be changed or substituted for a different font. If you submitted a PDF file without the fonts being embedded then, depending on the computer being used to process your PDF file, they may be altered!

Use a book template to create your text

The most effective, and safest, way to create your text file is to use a book template for Word – your self-publishing book printers will be able to provide you with relevant templates for different sized books which will include the book Title and the Copyright pages.

Ensure your files a print ready

A Word document submitted that is not ‘print ready’ can cause delays to the book printing process so you should ensure that you convert your Word file before submission.

Your book printer will be able to supply you with step-by-step guides for all book sizes as to how to achieve this. Simply download the relevant book template for Word and populate the template with your book wording – page numbers can also be added using the relevant Word formatting tools. Your book will be printed exactly as you had laid out, so ensure it is accurate to your requirements.  

If you have problems with the process or need further information, then speak to your book printers – they will have the expertise and knowledge to assist you and ensure your self-published book is printed perfectly!


We are an all round UK book manufacturing and printing service. We work closely with publishers, self publishers and authors. We have a state of the art factory, complemented by our sales and marketing office in Westoning, Bedfordshire. We have invested in the very latest digital and litho printing technology, to integrate with a fully equipped craftsman bindery.  The conclusion of which means we are offering both softback and hardback books, to a very high standard of quality.

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