The following are a few helpful tips and guidelines for setting up files and understanding the print and manufacturing processes.
Including a border in your cover or interior files makes any trim variation much more noticeable. Per the File Creation Guide, for cover art, we recommend at least .25” from the trim mark for perfect bound books. For Case Laminate hardcover books, we recommend at least .25” from the edge of the board. For interior pages, we recommend at least .50” from trim marks.
Any variation in the horizontal binding position of the cover is much less noticeable on a cover design than has an image or same color that wraps from the front cover, across the spine, and onto the back cover. To avoid emphasizing the allowed variance of .0625” when binding a cover, we recommend that there be no ‘hard’ breaks of images or background color at the spine fold. Having color or image breaks at the spine highlight any variance, even those within the stated tolerance.
Black and white halftone quality is more consistent and visually pleasing when printed on the inkjet printer with our Standard 50 color interior print option, printed on 50lb/ white paper. Standard 50 is an affordable alternative to other color products. If the image quality is vital to the book, we would recommend either Standard 70 or Premium Color, both printed on 70lb/ gsm white paper. If very little color or light color in a book is needed, Standard 50 Color may be the perfect solution and costs a little more than black and white.
Due to the nature of inkjet technology, voids – lines 1/660 of an inch in width – may occur. These voids should not exceed one or more of the following criteria: a void consisting of two adjacent lines that result in a void of 1/300 of an inch or greater or more than three voids on any given page.
If black fonts look light this is often due to RGB or CMYK ‘black’ text. Black fonts will look light due to the presence of an ICC color profile. Using the default PDF/X-1a:2001 setting will address this issue.
We use high-quality inkjet and laser printers at our print facilities; however, due to the nature of these printers, there may be some variation in the look of the covers we print.
Our new automated case binding equipment employs the same barcode matching system that’s used on our perfect bound binders. The cover barcode gets scanned first and when the book block is loaded, its barcode gets scanned. An electronic match of the barcode on the interior book block and the barcode on the cover allows the binding of the two to take place. We still employ the manual barcode matching process in our shops as well, a process that requires an associate to read the barcodes to confirm the match.
Laminate popping usually happens on dark covers (dark blues, dark reds, black) and is sometimes caused by the cover file being above 240 TAC (density). CMYK's total value should not exceed 240%.
An interior file should be submitted with 1/8” bleed on the three trim edges. We do not accept files with bleed on the binding side of the page. When a file is stored, it is cropped down to the bleed dimensions. ‘Extra’ bleed will be cropped out of the file before it gets to the printer.
Sometimes customers assume all of their books were produced incorrectly. We recommend that you spot check more than one carton if you suspect a manufacturing error.
POD and offset printing processes are not identical so the final products may not be exactly alike. There may be slight variances in areas like color or binding.
Submit files for black and white printing in Grayscale mode, without the use of ICC profiles - text should be 100% Black (C-0, M-0, Y-0, K-100) and images should be grayscale. Images that are not converted and exported properly, may appear visually black and white in the digital file, however, when reviewed in Acrobat, they are in CMYK or RGB mode. Color text, graphics, or images, including CMYK/RGB images that appear visually black and white, may print darker or different than intended.
Submit color files in CMYK mode, without the use of ICC profiles. Files submitted in RGB or with an ICC profile may appear as intended in the digital file and/or eproof, however, once converted to CMYK, the colors may appear washed out or muddy.
Barcodes should be built to the following specifications to ensure successful processing: - black only (0 Cyan / 0 Magenta / 0 Yellow / 100 Black) - placed over a white box/background - vector graphic or high quality rasterized barcode Barcodes are mandatory on all POD covers. Barcodes from the template can be moved, however, they should not be re-sized. Barcodes that do not scan will either be rejected (Title Processing Error) or replaced.
IngramSpark requires all fonts to be embedded in print files. This ensures the look and placement of text on the page, and it is important for keeping the document fonts and layouts as intended.
Base 14 fonts are the common fonts installed as a part of the Adobe Acrobat installation.
- Times or Times New Roman - 4 versions*
- Helvetica or Arial- 4 versions
- Courier - 4 versions
- Zapf Dingbats
* (regular, bold, italic or oblique, and bold-italic of each)
Programs often default to the PDF setting 'Standard'; this setting does not automatically embed Base 14 fonts. Because these fonts are available in Acrobat Reader, it is assumed they will be available to any viewer and embedding the fonts would add to the file size.
Because we are doing more than simply viewing the file (we are printing) it's important to choose a PDF setting that is intended for printing purposes. The preferred PDF setting to ensure the fonts are embedded (and to have a stable, print-ready PDF overall) is PDF/X-1a:2001 or PDF/X-3:2002. If you don't have this option available, the second recommendation is High-Quality Print.
Due to licensing and copyright restrictions, we do not have a font library, therefore, the publisher’s PDF files need to have the embedded font information to ensure a proper printing representation of the book cover or interior.
How to embed fonts will vary depending on the program you use.
If using Microsoft Word, the last tab in this program should be Adobe PDF. Select this tab, then select Change Conversion Settings. Once this opens, select the Settings tab, pull the Conversion Setting down to “High Quality”, then select OK.
Now create your PDF. (You should have three icons in your Word toolbar, click on the first one).
To ensure your fonts are embedded after you have created your PDF, open your PDF after you have successfully distilled it. Next select File, Document Properties, and then the Fonts tab. Next to each font name it should say Font Name (Embedded Subset). If any of the fonts do not have this next to the font name, it is not embedded.
If using Photoshop or InDesign, the fonts will be embedded when a PDF is created. Unless it is a free font that doesn't come with printing rights.
RGB blue is a vibrant and beautiful blue--however--because we cannot print in RGB, the color has to be converted to CMYK. When RGB blue is converted to CMYK, it becomes a combination of 99.6% Cyan and 95.7% Magenta. This conversion results in a ratio of Cyan to Magenta that produces a purple hue, and this is how it will print.
RGB blue is outside of CMYK's gamut: CMYK simply cannot reproduce that shade of blue. The computer and software substitute the closest color to it. Technically, that color is purple. It's best to choose your blue in CMYK, and to be careful how much Magenta is in the values range––especially if the Magenta is as high as, or close to the same value of Cyan.