Glossary of Terms

Back Matter
The pages that appear after the main body of your book, just before the back cover. They include photograph credits, references, etc.
Barcode
A series of parallel lines representing encoded information. On books, the barcode will include the ISBN and the book price, and will appear on the right bottom of the back cover.
Basis Weight
A term used in the paper industry. In the US and Canada, the basis weight is the weight, in pounds, of 500 sheets (one ream) of paper cut to its standard size. The standard size differs depending on the type of paper. For instance, offset paper has a standard size of 25" x 38" and bond (office) paper has a standard size of 17" x 22". 60# offset paper is equivalent to 24# bond paper.
A size- and type-independent way of expressing the basis weight is in grams per square meter (gsm, aka metric basis weight). Both 60# offset and 24# bond papers have a metric basis weight of 90.3 gsm.
Bleed
If you want a photograph to "bleed," that means you want it to reach the edge of the paper, or the edge of the cover. In that case, you will usually use a photo size that is up to ¼ inch wider than where it will be placed. When the book is cut to its final size, your picture will reach the edge of the page.
Case Binding
Most common method for binding hardcover books. Involves the gluing of signatures to a case made of cardboard covered with paper, cloth, or other material. Generally requires 28 to 400 pages.
CMYK
The color system used in the printing industry; consists of four colors: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (or Key, K). Electronic publications and digital photographs/images use a different color system: RGB (Red, Green, Blue). All colors (i.e., all images and colored text) in a book must be in CMYK format for printing.
Comb Bind
A method for binding softcover books. A series of holes is punched through the covers and pages, and the rings of a plastic comb spine are inserted into the holes. The rings close against the comb spine, but can be reopened to allow pages to be added or removed. This type of binding allows the book to lie flat.
Copyediting
The process of correcting punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and spelling. Style and usage may also be included. There are many other types of editing.
Cover Stock
Cover stock is the heavier grade of paper that covers the soft-cover books you'll find on any bookshelf. Nearly all soft-covered books use 10 pt. C1S. The "10 pt." refers to the thickness of the paper, and the "C1S" merely means "Coated on One Side" with some type of protection, like a glossy varnish or laminate.
DPI (Dots per Inch)
Also called pixels per inch or dot pitch, this is an expression of resolution, which is a measurement of an image's clarity and sharpness. Generally, the higher the resolution (i.e., the more dots or pixels per inch), the better the image quality. For printing, images should have a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.
Editing
See Copyediting.
Folio
The term "folio" simply means page number. The numbering of your pages will be referred to as pagination.
Formatting
Also called typesetting. The arrangement of all of your text, photographs, drawings, maps, etc. into final book form.
Front Matter
The pages that appear in the front of your book before the first chapter. Front Matter includes the Title Page, Half-Title Page, Copyright Page, Introduction, Preface, etc.
Fulfillment
Refers to storing books, selling books, preparing labels and packaging materials, packing your books, and shipping your books to fill orders.
Grayscale
Color scheme comprised only of black, white, and the shades of gray in between.
Gutter
The inside margin of a book page (i.e., the margin at the edge of the page nearest the inside, or binding, of the book).
Halftone
A halftone is the printed reproduction of your photograph or illustration. The more modern term to use would be "scan." The scanner will create a copy of your image for use in your book. The scanned image will be described in DPI (Dots Per Inch), and the minimum setting you should use is 300 DPI.
Hard Copy
A hard copy is a printed version of your computer document. Printing services often request a hard copy along with your disk so that they have a clear visual record of what the final output should look like.
ISBN
International Standard Book Number. This will usually appear on the lower right corner of the back cover of a book, represented in numerical and barcode form. It is the international identification number for your particular book.
LCCN
Library of Congress Control Number (also called a Library of Congress Catalog Number): this is used to identify your book that is cataloged in the Library of Congress Collection. By using the Library of Congress PCN (Preassigned Control Number) Program, the number can be obtained early to list it on the copyright page of your book. You'll need this number if you plan to market your books to libraries.
PDF
This stands for Portable Document Format. It was invented by Adobe, and it is now a standard used around the world. It is a secure form of your document, and it is how your final book file will be submitted for printing. It is also our preferred tool for editing and proofreading. Adobe offers a free reader to use for viewing PDFs.
Perfect Binding
Most common method for binding softcover books. Involves the gluing of signatures to a cover made of thick paper (cover stock). Generally requires 64 to 400 pages.
PPI (Pages per Inch)
A measurement of paper thickness. In terms of book publishing, this number is needed to calculate the thickness of the final book (which is also the height of the book's spine).
Pre-press
Pre-press means exactly what it says; the procedures your document goes through before it goes to press. Document settings and requirements often change from one printing service to the next. Your document needs to be in the format and with the settings required by your particular printing service.
Proof
A proof is an inexpensive preview of your book after it has been edited, typeset, and proofread. It is used for you to determine if this is how you want your final book to appear. You may submit some final corrections or changes on a form that accompanies the proof.
Proofreading
Searching for and correcting typographical and mechanical errors at the proof level, before your manuscript goes to the printer. Proofreading has come to be known as finding and correcting errors at any time and in any document, not just in a book proof.
Resolution
See DPI (Dots per Inch).
Saddle Stitch
A method for binding softcover books. The cover and pages are folded and stapled together at the fold.
Signature
A single sheet that contains 8, 16, or 32 pages (multiples of 4). Before it sounds too confusing, if your printer mentions "four sixteens and an eight," it means your signatures will each contain 16 pages except for the last one, which will contain only 8. Both numbers are multiples of 4, and "four sixteens and an eight" means your book will have 72 pages. If your final page count is not a multiple of 4, the printer may add a blank page at the end to complete a signature by making it a multiple of 4. Once printed, the signatures are folded and cut to the page size of your book.
Spine
Just as your spine holds you together, a book's spine holds your book together. Your book spine will feature your last name, the book's title, and the name of the printer or publisher. It will be visible to all potential customers when your book is on a shelf.
Spiral Bind
A method for binding softcover books. A series of holes is punched through the covers and pages, and a continuous plastic or metal coil is looped through the holes. This type of binding allows the book to lie flat and to be opened a full 360°.
Stamping
Stamping is putting a seal or mark on paper using a die, just as legal documents are stamped, leaving a physical impression on the paper. You can use blind stamping on your cover, which leaves a physical impression, or you can use foil stamping, which can apply color to the stamped physical impression.
Stock
Stock is paper. The word stock simply refers to the paper used in your book.
Text
Text refers to ALL of the pages that appear BETWEEN the covers of your book, but not the covers themselves. ALL pages means printed pages and blank pages, and TEXT includes headers, page numbers, and the main body of text.
Trim Size
The trim size refers to the size (in inches) you selected for your book, such as 6 x 9, or 8 x 10. In a 6 x 9 book, the first number (6) is the width of the book. The second number (9) is the height, but if that sounds confusing, then think of the second number as the Spine number. If the spine is 9 inches, your book is 9 inches high.
Typesetting
See Formatting.