For seasoned publishers and beginners, there are few things worse than making errors that easily could have been avoided. The smallest oversight can result in re-doing a lot of work. We’d like to share some common manufacturing missteps and how to avoid them when you get a book printed.
Using Low Resolution Photos in Text or Cover
A common mistake that can be caught during the prepress phase of book manufacturing is the resolution of images. The resolution used for images printed on paper is typically much higher than that used on a computer screen. An image may look fine on a computer screen but when it is transferred onto paper with a low dpi, it comes out blurry. Many printers recommend at least 200 dpi and up. Try to only use high resolution images while making your print ready files.
Too Many Changes before Getting a Book Printed
Making too many corrections at the proofing stage of the process can add to the overall cost of getting books printed. Many can be avoided by proofing the book more thoroughly before it gets to the printer.
The further into the process you are, the more expensive corrections are to make. A good way to avoid this is to have another set of eyes when proofing your books.
Ordering too many books
It’s tempting to increase the amount of an order to drive down the cost per unit charge of a book. In many cases, the more you order the cheaper the per book cost is. You have to take into account the whole story though. For example how much would it cost you to scrap books that sat unsold?
How much does it cost to manage that inventory if it doesn’t get moved quickly? We’ve done case studies on the topic and often it is a better idea in the long run to print fewer books at a higher cost per unit price rather than a lot of books at a lower cost per unit price and risk not selling them.
Bleed (or artwork that extends beyond the document boundaries) is an important element. Printers cannot print ink all the way to the edge of a page so we print on a page that is larger than it needs to be.
After printing and binding is complete, the book is trimmed and if the ink extends far enough, it will get trimmed properly (i.e. no white edge where graphics or images should be).
This makes it look as if ink was applied all the way to the edge of the page. If the bleed is not far enough into the trim area (typically around ¼ inch or about 5mm), a white edge can appear.
This can save you some time up front. There are typically specific measurements that printers follow for soft cover, printed case and foil stamped books.
Sometimes publishers will just try to use their best judgment for these measurements but they often need to be tweaked. Ask whoever you are working with to provide a cover template so you can get your design right the first time.
The book printing process can be lengthy and you should try to squeeze time out wherever you can. It isn’t always possible to see mistakes coming but at least you can avoid some of the common ones.
What problems have you faced during the book manufacturing process? How did you resolve them and what did you learn? Join the conversation by dropping us a line or commenting below.