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Pre-Press Requirements for Full Color Books

If you need tips on how to prepare files or how to convert your file to PDF, Email us. Each PDF file is carefully checked with our pre-flight program and if there are any issues with your file you will be notified of the issues and any charges, if applicable, to correct them.

General File Requirements

The required file format is hi-res, single page PDFs. Application files if submitted will only be used as back up, and they MUST be the final version that the PDF was made from. We will not work on your application files to make any changes without additional charges.


Bleeds: All files require 1/8" bleed on all sides. This is regardless of whether you have images that go to the edge of the page or not. This is a new requirement due to new printing equipment.

Default resolution: 300 dpi.


Margins: Give your page comfortable margins. If an element is not bleeding, it should not be any closer than ¼” to the trim. If you are really unsure that what you have is OK, look at samples in your local bookstore.


Density: No file's density can exceed 240%. In other words the values of C, M, Y and K add up to 240. For example, if you have a background color or image with the values of 100% C, 100% M, 100% Y and 50% K, it is not correct as it totals 350%. Similarly a rich black should be 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow and 100% Black.

File Preparation

Provide separate PDF files for the book’s interior (text), casewrap and jacket (if applicable). Remember we use the word "text" to identify everything but the jacket or casewrap.


If your endpapers print in anything other than a solid color, you will need to provide a file for them as well. Select black as the color in your file and then either indicate on your Purchase Order the PMS color you want the endpapers to print in, or attach a swatch to or otherwise identify your color choice (match red in the girl’s dress on page 3 for example) on the Purchase Order and we will select the closest PMS color.

While all books start with some kind of word processing program like MS Word or Word Perfect, NO printing process (other than the printer on your desk) can print directly from these files. Word files must be either converted into PDF format or flowed into a page layout program and then converted to PDF. This conversion can either be done by you for free or done by Pre-Press for a fee. Remember: a file created in Microsoft anything, is not usable as is.


Remember in converting to PDF, save as printing press option not web use, or distill the file instead of exporting it. Create your PDF using the “single page” option- not spreads. All elements in RGB should be converted to CMYK in the application file before converting to PDF. For more tips on how to create a PDF file Click Here


All covers/jackets/casewraps are to be created in one piece including front, spine, back and flaps (on jackets).


Bar Codes: If you plan to sell your books in a bookstore, you must include a bar code and it must be in gray scale. If you have your ISBN and you need to purchase a bar code. If you do not have your ISBN, you can order that (and we include a bar code with it). Contact us for more information or request a quote.


Sending Files

Supported Media: CD-R, Thumb drives.

One file is preferred for text and one each for cover, casewrap or jacket. (What you submit depends on how your book binds. For hard cover books a quantity of 400 or less use a casewrap instead of a jacket, and any paperback book has a cover.) If you have multiple files, list all files in the order they appear in your book.

Clearly indicate which files are needed for a particular job. Outdated versions of job files on disk only create confusion. Provide only the latest file.


Label your disk(s) with your name, the job name (book title) and indicate whether the file is text, cover, casewrap, or jacket. (Example “Jones/My Day at the Beach/cover PDF”.)


NOTE: We can receive files electronically (via YouSendit) only after you have received a job number.

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