We require print ready files to go to print with your book. What does that really mean though?
It would mean that your book is exactly how you would want it to be, if it were to be printed right at this moment. So what does that mean? Here’s a checklist.
The book interior is formatted to the final print size. ie. If your book is 6 x 9, your interior files are currently set to a 6 x 9 size.
Your margins are what they should be for print. Margins that are too large will look silly, but margins that are too small put your text body at risk of being chopped in the final manufacturing stage. I recommend 0.75” to 1” for top and bottom margins, 0.50” to 0.75” for left and right margins, and 0.25” for mirror margins.
You have mirror margins set up. Mirror margins are additional space that is added to what would be the inside edge of your page. This helps to keep your margins looking balanced after binding, and prevents any of your text body from getting sucked into the bind gutter.
Your font size is the size that you want it to be in printing. We usually recommend between a 10 and 11pt.
The fonts chosen for all aspects of your book are the fonts that you are committed to. We recommend a serif font for the text body, as it is much easier to read once printed, but larger headings like chapter titles and section headings are completely acceptable in a sans serif font.
All images that are in your book, and on your cover are 300 dpi at the size that they are printing, and any images that also have text on them are 600 dpi at the size that they are printing.
All images that are meant to print color are set to CMYK, and, images that are meant to print black and white are set to grayscale.
All page numbers are correct.
You have checked the table of contents and index for accuracy since any final changes, and you are confident that the numbers listed are all correct.
You have double checked to make sure that your pages will all fall on the side that you want them to. A general rule of thumb is that odd pages are right hand pages, and even pages are left hand pages. Don’t go by your page numbers showing on the page to determine whether a page is odd or even, go by the page number listed in the program you are working with.
You are confident that your content is the final draft, and that there are absolutely no other changes to take place.
You have a cover designed. Your front and back cover are the correct size, and have a 0.125” bleed around all outside edges. You have confirmed your spine size with your printer, and it is the correct size. You have crop marks in place to show the printer where to cut on your cover, and score marks in place for your spine. (If you need help with this, speak with your printer about getting their assistance, or talk to a graphic designer. This will be a cost added service, if you require assistance).
You have saved your files as PDFs, you have embedded any fonts and links, or you have packaged all fonts and links up for your printer.
You have seen a final, printed proof. While this isn’t required, I do always recommend it.
These are the general points that you want to be able to check off, to say, “That is it, I am ready to go.” There is a lot to cover, don’t be afraid to talk with your printer to be sure that you are ready to go when it comes time to print.