Providing an accurate, technically correct, print-ready PDF is essential for reliable production and to meet expected ship dates. The best way to avoid problems is to have books professionally designed, using InDesign or QuarkXPress software to create print-ready files.

INscribe highly recommends our own print file creation services because we know exactly how to create the files correctly exactly on time.

Unlike eBooks, print files MUST be correctly formatted at the point of distribution. Once a book is printed, it cannot be corrected. NOTE: Returns can cost money so review your pricing calculations with your Client Services representative if you do not know your return rates.

Please find our rates in eBook and Print File Conversion Rates

There are several WYSIWYG tools available for publishers but you must first learn how to use them correctly and still factor in production time for testing as they are not 100% accurate. also provides excellent tutorials for a low fee: InDesign Tutorials, Pre-Flight and Printing

Select Materials First

Before preparing a file for print, select the book’s trim size, cover style, and paper stock. Refer to our printing options to confirm that your choices are available as part of our industry standard printing options. Please note: There is a minimum spine width of 1/8 inch. For your standard 50# paper, this equates to about a 34 pages minimum. 

Printers Used

  • Konica Minolta 7000 color printers
  • Konica Minolta 8000 color printers
  • Kodak Nexpress
  • Richo Inkjet (text interiors)
  • Profile: Coated GRACol 2006

Preparing Print-ready Files

Book components need to be presented in separate, complete pdf files. You should prepare:

  1. The interior text file: It should include all front matter, chapters, and end matter in a single PDF file.
  2. A single cover file: It should include the back cover, spine, and front cover laid out in a spread. Create in the CMYK color space, 300 DPI or more, to scale. For those of you that have been published in eBook only, don't forget your back cover copy: Writing Your Book’s Back-Cover Copy
  3. Optional single dust jacket file: If using one, the dust jacket should be submitted in a single file that contains all five parts laid out in a spread: back flap, back cover, spine, front cover, front flap. 

Basic File Requirement Check List:

Page count: The text page count should be divisible by four. If it’s not, blanks will be added to the back of the book so that the total page count is divisible by four.

If you are printing your interior to black and white, you must submit a file that is black and white with no color information (do not create your file in RGB color mode, even RGB 000 will not convert to an absolute black when read as CMYK by printers). To avoid less than black or fuzzy body text ("screened text"), black text should be CMYK, 100% K (100% black ink). 

In Adobe Acrobat Pro, you may run the following PDF Fixups process to remove all color information: Under Tools--> Preflight--> PDF Fixups--> Convert to grayscale 

All files (cover and interior) must be built to trim size plus bleed added to all sides:

  • To avoid cutting off content, proper bleed allowance of 0.125” is required on all sides in text and cover files (including spine and hinges), whether elements bleed or not.
  • Minimum safety margin of 0.25” has been added to items intended to bleed.
  • Interior files: Inside margin/gutter margins should be at least .5” inner page margin/1" full spread gutter margin. For books over 300 pages, .75"/1.5" is recommended.
  • Interior files: Text pages are submitted in a single page format and not in printer or reader spreads, with left side pages even numbered and right side pages odd numbered.
  • Printed hard cover (paper over board) cover image files require 0.625” additional margin on all sides.
  • Media box size is equal to the bleed box.
  • Do not use trim or register marks on the interior text file.
  • Cover images: If your file has a white border, it must be centered on the page and include crop marks to show the trim edges on the top, bottom, and front of the book.
  • All fonts must be embedded in the file. See:
  • Effective resolution of halftones is 300 dpi or above (minimum 200 dpi). Effective resolution of line art is 1,200 dpi or above (minimum 600 dpi).
  • All color in the files has been converted to the CMYK color format (no RGB, CIE, or LAB color). If you are new to the concept of CMYK and digital printing vs offset printing, please read this helpful article (with helpful images!):
  • No trapping has been applied. All trapping is completed on press.
  • Make sure an ISBN and barcode are included in the cover and dust jacket files. The barcode should be black with at least a 1/16" white border. Do not compress the barcode image when converting between file formats. For more information on bar codes, click here: Bar codes.
  • Color interior books should be printed on 60lb Matte paper (coated paper) to avoid bleed through.