Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Perfect bound book vs. spiral bound book, which is better for me?
Most books that you will find on the shelves in bookstores are perfect bound. This means a cover is printed and coated, the interior pages (book block) is printed and trimmed separately and then adhered using glue to form a spine. Spiral bound uses a plastic coil to hold the pages together and is more traditionally used for business documents, cookbooks, or classroom materials. If you are wanting a book that will lay completely flat on a table in front of your reader, spiral bound is the way to go.
Q: How do I determine my book’s page count and how many color pages I have?
The first important note is that the cover of your book should not be included in your page count, and that it will always be printed in color. Even if you have a truly black and white cover, we will print it on a color press to give your blacks the richness they deserve. Secondly, you want to count the actual printed sides in your book, NOT the number of pieces of paper in your book (i.e. if your PDF is 200 pages that means we’ll use 100 sheets of paper, but print on 200 sides – we want the 200 number). Finally, any page in your book that has color on it, even if it is only one letter or one tiny little dot, is counted as a color page. Grayscale images can be counted as black and white pages, but please be sure that your image was created in black and white – sometimes what looks black and white on screen will be recognized by a digital printing press as color. Please note that a blank page counts as a black and white page, and your final page count should always be an even number. Page count is one of the biggest things we’ll be looking at when you upload your files and our pre-press team analyzes your files against your quote.
Q: What is your minimum run for book printing?
Our minimum order quantity is 10 copies. This number allows us to defray labor costs enough to offer a competitive price on your prints. It's also important to note, our pricing is volume based. The more copies you order, the lower our cost to produce, and we pass those savings on to you. Those price breaks are at 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 750 and 1000 copies.
Q: What is your production time?
While most jobs average 5-10 business days, depending on the volume of jobs moving through our shop at any given time this can be slightly less or slightly more. We will notify you at the time of order if we feel there would be any delays to this schedule, and during the file upload process we ask that you notify us if there is a specific day that you need your books. We will always do our very best to accommodate your schedule. Please note that our production time starts when you return your proof approval, and does not include shipping time from our facilities in Colorado to you.
Q: Can you produce custom book sizes?
Absolutely! The sizes available in our price calculator are reflective of industry standard sizes, and those which will be the most economical choices for your book. If your book doesn't quite match up, that's totally fine. Pick the closest size to your book (generally you'll want to round up just to be safe), and the price you see will most likely be accurate.
Q: Can I reorder my book?
We can’t wait! For many years before this website was launched nearly all of our business came from repeat clients and their referrals. We hope you become one of our many clients who reprint with us. We will keep your files in our system for at least six months following your order. Please always maintain a copy of your book file and don’t rely on our servers, but know that in all likelihood when you come back to us for a reprint you won’t need to do is initiate a reorder here.
Q: Which is better for my book cover, gloss lamination or matte lamination?
This is much a matter of aesthetics and personal preference, but there are some details we can give you to consider. Obviously gloss will be shinier and matte will be duller, but there are more properties beyond these with the different films. Gloss lamination will give a truer representation of the colors you selected for your book's cover, whereas matte lamination tends to mute the colors a bit and distort them just slightly. Our standard matte lamination is also a much more durable film than the gloss, and is very scratch resistant, whereas the gloss film is likely to show scratches and fingerprints much more easily over time. The gloss film will give a slicker feel to your book, and the matte film has a more velvety, soft feel to it. It's tough to go wrong with either option!
Q: How do I calculate spine width for my book cover?
This is a very important question when designing your book cover for a paperback book. With spiral bound, it’s not a problem because we can use different coil sizes, but when there will be text and possibly images printed on the spine of your book you’ll want to make sure it’s the proper size. If you have chosen 60lb paper for the interior pages of your book, just multiply the total number of pages (sides) by .0022. The result will be your spine width in inches. For example, a 200 page book, printed on 60lb paper, will have a spine width of .44”. If you have chosen 50lb paper for your interior page, just multiply the total number of pages by .00196. Please note that if your book is less than 76 pages it will be very difficult to center text on the spine of your book. If you have chosen 70lb paper for your interior pages, multiply the total number of pages by .0027.
Q: How do I format my Word document for printing my book?
Click on the “Page Layout” tab in Word, then on “Size” and then on “More Sizes.” You will be presented with a dialogue box where you can enter in the dimensions of what you want your finished book size to be on the “Paper” tab. This will likely be recognized as a custom size by the software, but that’s okay. In the same window click on the “Margins” tab and enter in your custom margin sizes. For most books you will want .75” on the top and bottom, .625” on the inside and outside.
Q: What is an ISBN and how do I get one?
ISBN stands for International Serial Book Number and is a unique number assigned to all books which will be made available for sale. It is very important for you to have if you plan to sell your book through bookstores or online, and it maximizes the discoverability of your book. Bowker is the official source for ISBNs in the United States and we recommend always purchasing and registering your number through their system. The barcode that will go on the back cover of your book is based on this number and we will be happy to create that barcode for you so it will be recognized by scanners at any retail outlet.
Q: What type of file(s) should I upload?
The answer is always PDF. The PDF file format is the safest way to make sure your printed book will come out looking exactly like it does on your computer screen at home. It won’t matter what software you created your book in, or what fonts you used, a PDF will show up on our presses just like they do on your screen. You are able to upload a Word document, or other types of files through our uploader, but please note you will likely have an additional fee applied to your invoice, and you will want to be very careful in reviewing your proof file, as using different versions of Word on different computers can cause text and layouts to shift.
Q: What does “bleed” mean in book printing?
A bleed is the area at the edge of the page that will be trimmed off after printing (or for a book after it is bound). Though printing technology has come a long, long way it is still relatively impossible to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper. In our system at Steuben Press we like to use an eighth of an inch bleed on any cover or page that has printing intended to go all the way to the edge of the finished book. For example, the front cover for a 5.5” x 8.5” book should actually be 5.625” x 8.75” as we will trim .125” off the outside edge as well as the top and bottom after binding.
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