Book Printing Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of book printing frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answer in this listing of book printing frequently asked questions, you may want to download our free Ultimate Guide to Printing Your Book, Booklet, Catalog, or Magazine.

Who owns the rights to my book or other document?

Book-Printing-Frequently-Asked-QuestionsPublishing Xpress will print your documents for you, but you will always retain all rights to your document.  There are companies who will charge you fees to layout, market, and control the distribution of your document, providing you with royalties based on book sales.  At Publishing Xpress, we will print your books or other documents for you at a very low price, and you control all rights to your document.

What formats do you accept for files?

Publishing Xpress highly recommends that you submit your files as PDF files.  With PDF files, you can save your files as high resolution files with fonts embedded.  The advantage of this file type is that fonts and graphics are embedded in the file, so that the file is almost like a photograph.  You don’t have to worry that we won’t have the right font or that fonts and graphics will shift, which often happens when a native file is opened on different computers.

When preparing a PDF file, it is important to ensure that you create a high-resolution file (300 dpi) with fonts embedded.  Also, make sure that your PDF file contains bleeds and crop marks and is set to CMYK color.  If you are not sure how to set up a PDF file, see our detailed instructions here.

What is the difference between RGB and CMYK color formats?

RGB refers to the primary colors of light — red, green, and blue — and is the standard format used for digital cameras, scanners, video monitors, and television screens.  CMYK refers to the primary colors used in printing — cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.  When you hear the term four-color process printing or full-color printing, it is referring to these four colors.  RGB files must be converted to CMYK files before printing, since it is physically impossible for a printing press to reproduce RGB colors.

What is a bleed?

When you want colors or graphics to print to the edge of your page, you have to design the page larger than the size of the document.  Printing presses cannot print exactly to the edge of the page, so documents are printed larger and then cut down to size.  Your pages should be set up 1/8 inch larger all the way around the page.  So, if you have an 8½ x 11 inch document, you should design the piece as 8¾ x 11¼.

Also be aware of the safety area on your document. Since most finished pieces are printed on larger paper and cut, you have to make sure that you do not have any text or critical graphics too close to the edge of the page.  You should make sure that you allow 1/8 inch between critical text and the edge of your page.

Do you charge extra for pages with bleeds?

Unlike other printers and publishers who charge up to 20% or more extra for printing with bleeds, Publishing Xpress does not charge extra for pages that bleed.  The prices you see on our cost calculators include pages that bleed.

What resolution should be used for graphics and photos?

Graphics and photos should be at least 300 dpi to ensure that they do not look grainy when printed.  Just because a photo looks good on your screen, which has 72 dpi resolution, does not mean that it will print well.

How large should the margin be on documents?

Be sure to allow adequate margins all the way around your document, but especially on the bound edge.  Perfect binding, wire-o binding, and plastic coil binding will use approximately 1/8 of an inch on the bound edge.  You also want to make sure that there is sufficient room on perfect bound books to be easily read without the reader breaking the spine. We recommend at least 3/4 of an inch margin on the bound side.

How do I calculate the spine width for a perfect bound book?

We recommend that you submit covers for perfect bound document as three files — the front cover, the back cover, and the spine.  The size of your front and back cover should equal the size of your document plus 1/8 inch bleed on all four sides.

To calculate the size of your spine, use this formula:
For 60# uncoated text and 80# matte and gloss text stock:
Number of pages divided by 440 = spine in inches

For 70# uncoated text and 100# matte and gloss text stock:
Number of pages divided by 370 = spine in inches

When counting pages, include the cover.  When preparing your spine, be sure to add 1/8 bleed on all four sides.  If you are adding text to your spine, make sure that you do not make the size of the text exactly equal to the width of the spine.  Leave some blank room on both sides of the text so the text does not run exactly to the edge of the spine.

How do I count pages in my document?

When counting pages for pricing and ordering, count the pages like pages in a book, not sheets of paper. An 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper with printing on both sides is two pages in your document.  Our pricing and ordering calculators assume that you are printing on both sides of the sheet of paper. If you only want printing on one side, please contact us at 1-877-XPRESS-9 (1-877-977-3779) or [email protected] for a custom quote.

Are there any additional costs that are not included in your pricing calculators?

Our pricing calculators detail all options available for your document printing, so you know exactly how much your printing job will cost.  The only item that is estimated is UPS charges, which we bill at our cost. We do not add additional handling charges or other charges.

What if the finished size of my document does not equal one of the three sizes listed on your website (5½ x 8½, 6 x 9, and 8½ x 11)?

If the size of your finished document is between the sizes listed (between 5½ x 8½ and 8½ x 11), just select the next largest size and indicate in the comments section when ordering what the finished size of your document is.  For instance, if your document’s finished size is 7 x 10, you would select pricing for 8½ x 11.

The largest finished size we can print for perfect bound and saddle stitched documents is 8½ x 11.  For wire-o and plastic coil bound documents, we can print up to 11 x 17 finished sizes.  If your document is over 8½ x 11, contact us at 1-877-XPRESS-9 (1-877-977-3779) or [email protected] for a custom quote.

How do I order?

You start the ordering process by selecting the Order/Get Quote button in our main navigation menu or at the bottom of every page.  This will take you to our pricing calculator, which starts the ordering process.  If you would like detailed step-by-step instructions, check out our YouTube video that goes through the entire process. Or you can download our Ultimate Guide to Printing Your Book, Booklet, Catalog, or Magazine, which also has step-by-step instructions for ordering.

What is the minimum number of copies that I can print?

Our minimum order quantity is 25 copies, and you can order in increments of 1 copy.  Thus, if you want 102 copies, you can order 102 copies.

Do you offer any standard discounts?

Nonprofit organizations always receive a 10% discount on our already low prices.  When ordering, just note in the comments section that you are a nonprofit organization entitled to the 10% discount, and we will deduct the discount from your order.

Other customers should sign up for our e-mail newsletter (the link is in the footer of every page).  Each month, we will send you coupons and specials along with business articles.

How do I upload my files for my order?

You have three options:

  1. You can upload on our website at the time you order or at a later time.
  2. You can e-mail the files to us.
  3. You can upload the files to our ftp site.  For details instructions, click here

How long before I receive my PDF proof?

In most cases, you will be notified via e-mail that your PDF proof is ready for viewing on our website within 1 business day of placing your order.  However, if your document is over 200 pages long or we are having trouble with your file, it may take an additional day.  Even if you request a hard copy proof, you must first approve the PDF proof before we will print the hard copy proof.

Do you recommend ordering a hard copy proof?

If you have sufficient time for a hard copy proof and have any concerns about your files, such as whether graphics are high enough resolution or how colors will turn out, then we recommend getting a hard copy proof.  The proof will be printed on the paper you select and bound as you specified, so you know exactly how your documents will turn out.  The cost is also reasonable — $40 if we ship the proof via UPS ground and $75 if we ship the proof via overnight UPS.  In most cases, hard copy proofs will be shipped 1 business day after PDF approval.

What if I find an error during the proofing process?

As long as you have not approved the proof, you can submit new files with any changes you want to make.  Once you have approved the proof, your file is immediately sent to print, so it may not be possible to make changes after that time.

Will the colors on my printed documents match my screen or laser printouts exactly?

All of our printing is done on digital presses.  In order to keep our prices low, we use a pleasing color standard, which means that without having seen the original, the printing looks good.  In other words, the sky looks blue, the grass is green, skin tones look good, etc.  We cannot match PMS colors or other exact colors.  It is also important to realize that images on your computer screen are rendered in RGB and we will be printing in CMYK, which may make colors look slightly different.

Once I approve my proof, how long does it take to print my order?

Your order will print within 5 business days (weekends and holidays are not counted) after proof approval.  For an additional charge, we also have 3-, 2- and 1-day turnaround.

Once my order is shipped, how many days will it take to reach me?

All orders are shipped from our facility in Madison Heights, Michigan, via UPS ground service.  Click here for a map showing UPS shipping days from our facility.  You can also select 3-day, 2-day, and overnight service.

What are your payment terms?

Orders must be paid in full before we start printing. Once your order ships, we will charge your credit card for the actual cost of shipping, which may differ from the estimate you obtain when you place your order.  Thus, your credit card will be charged twice for your order — once for the printing cost and once for the shipping cost. Most clients pay via credit card.  We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.  Please note that the charge will appear with our parent company’s name, Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. You may also pay with PayPal. If you want to pay by check, we will not start to process your order until we have received your check.

What binding options do you offer?

We offer perfect binding, saddle stitching, wire-o binding, and plastic coil binding.  Click each of the options to view the details.

Do you offer hard cover binding?

At this time, we do not offer hard cover binding.

Do I need to copyright my document?

All you need to do to copyright your document is place a notice on the copyright page.  Either the word copyright or the copyright symbol must appear with the year of first publication and the name of the owner.

After your book is printed, you may register your copyright by sending the following items to the U.S. Copyright Office: Form TX, a $45 fee and two copies of your book (one if it is not for sale). Registering your work officially recognizes you as the copyright holder.  Although recommended, it is not absolutely necessary to register your work.  Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created.  Registration strengthens your legal position.  More information on this subject is available at www.copyright.gov.

What is an ISBN number?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies your book as a specific title from a specific publisher (you, as self-publisher).  If you are selling your book outside of stores through your own website or through back-of-the-room sales at speaking engagements, an ISBN is not necessary.  However, if you plan to sell your book with online booksellers, in bookstores, or put it in libraries, then it is advisable to purchase a number.

After you’ve obtained your numerical ISBN, that number can be used to create a barcode for your back cover.  A barcode is a graphic of vertical lines that encodes numerical information that can be scanned for sales or inventory. The ISBN number is used to create the barcode, but the number and the barcode are two separate things.

Visit isbn.org to purchase your ISBN.  The charge for a single number is $125.00 and a block of ten numbers is $250.00.  Each edition of your book (hardcover, ebook, softcover) needs a separate ISBN number.  You can purchase the ISBN from the website and receive it via email immediately.

What is your return policy or guarantee?

Not happy with your print job?  Just return it to us and we’ll issue a full refund.  No questions asked.  Amazing service with an ironclad guarantee.

Want to learn more about how our Book Printing Frequently Asked Questions?

Publishing Xpress can answer any book printing frequently asked questions. Can’t find your book printing frequently asked questions? Feel free to call us at 1-877-977-3779, email us at [email protected], or chat with us online (our online chat is in the lower right hand corner of your screen).