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Resource Centre

Glossary of Terms

B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W

Standard Paper Sizes
Common Program Types
Common File Types



noun: binding

A strong covering holding the pages of a book together.


noun: bleed

Off-page area printed to allow for minor inaccuracies in trimming. Generally anything intended to print right up to the edge of the page is extended, and bleeds about 3mm beyond the intended edge of the trimmed page area.


noun: BookGLOBAL

BookGLOBAL is a printing partner service which integrates with BookVAULT to allow the easy maintenance of ordering and shipping from anywhere to anywhere, but especially provides easy access to UK and US wholesale markets. Learn more about BookGLOBAL here.



BookPUBLISHER is a complete platform for self-publishing a book. Incorporates all elements of book publishing from pre-press [see entry] to completion. Learn more about BookPUBLISHER here.


noun: BookSHOP

BookSHOP is an ecommerce platform for authors and publishers. Learn more about BookSHOP here.


noun: BookVAULT

BookVAULT is a simple, easy-to-use web-based system which allows Printondemand-worldwide customers to manage their orders and files. Learn more about BookVAULT here.


noun: BookWIZARD

Bookwizad is our online ordering system and book printing cost calculator. Provides a quote for long run and short run printing – and you can continue to tailor your quote, changing quantities, finishing and formats, learn more here.


noun: Bowker

Leading US-based supplier of bibliographic services, roughly the equivalent of Nielsen BookData.


acronym: The Building Resources Establishment Environmental Assessment Method

BREEAM is the world’s longest standing and most widely used way of measuring the environmental impact of buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance.


acronym: BookVAULT

BookVAULT is a simple, easy-to-use web-based system which allows Printondemand-worldwide customers to manage their orders and files. Learn more about BookVAULT here.



noun: case bound

A casebound book is a hardback book: made using grey board for the front and back cover, which is then covered with printed and laminated paper. Casebound books can also be covered with material such as PVC coated paper, book cloth, leather cloth or real leather.

Casebound books are usually sewn together in sections and attached to the inside of a case with end papers which are tipped on to the book block and then glued into the case.

Coated paper

noun: coated paper

Paper treated to improve its whiteness, opacity and/or smoothness.


noun: copyright

The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material: “he issued a writ for breach of copyright”.


acronym: cyan magenta yellow key

Colours for print are made up of four base colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).  If a publisher requires a colour section or a full colour book, he/she may use the term “4/4” which means printing colour on both sides of the paper. You may also have a request to print “4/1”, this stands for colour on one side and mono on the reverse.


noun: cut sheet

A printing term meaning a sheet of paper which has been printed and cut, thus ion contrast to continuous sheets. In the context of procurement: a loose-leaf printed sheet containing a product description.



acronym: dots per inch

The resolution – a.k.a the amount of detail – in a TIFF or JPEG file. Measured in dots (or pixels) per inch. Note that the dpi of a scan should be at least twice the halftone screen, so 300 dpi is for reproduction as a 150 LPI halftone.



noun: e-book

An electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.

End papers

noun: end-papers

In a hardback book, a folded sheet, one half of which is pasted to the front or back of the cover boards. The other half is known as the flyleaf. Endpapers can be plain, coloured or illustrated.


noun: en-dash

Dash character (–) mainly used for a punctuation dash – like this – normally with a space either side. Usually indicates a parenthetical phrase within a sentence. Also used without spaces, to indicate ranges of numbers, e.g. 77–85. En-dashes are longer than normal hyphens, but shorter than em-dashes (see -, – and —). See em-dash.


noun: em-dash

Long dash character (—) about 1 cm long, mainly used in the UK for interrupted sentences (a construction called an anacoluthon). ‘Where was that—Aha, here it is!’ See also en-dash.



noun: flattening

The process of reducing a layered, composited document or image (typically a PSD) down to a single layer (which could be a TIFF, for example). This gets rid of any transparency in the image. Flattening should be left as late as possible in any workflow.

Foil blocking

noun: foil-blocking

Process for stamping a design on a book cover or jacket, or simple lettering on a hardback spine, using coloured foil with pressure from a heated metal block known as a ‘blocking die’.


noun: finish

The manner in which the manufacture of an article is completed: “the book’s popularity is helped by its high-quality finish”.

verb: finish

Complete the manufacture or decoration of (an article) by giving it an attractive surface appearance: “the book was finished with a hardback cover”.



acronym: grams-per-square-metre

A measurement for the weight of paper stock: the higher the gsm, the heavier the paper.



noun: hard-back

A book bound in stiff covers: “a hardback edition”.

HD or High Definition

noun: high definition

HD stands for high definition display resolution. HD displays have a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, also referred to as 720p. A display can also be called HD if it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, commonly referred to as 1080p. However, a 1920 x 1080 resolution is more officially referred to as Full HD (FHD).



noun: imposition

Pages (especially pages of film) are arranged so they can be folded together to create part of a book.

For example, page 3 will not be imposed next to page 2 but will sit next to it after folding (folding is part of binding process). Page 1 will be printed on the back of sheet where page 2 is printed. While pages 2 and 3 are a ‘reader’s pair’ or a ‘spread’, in that they lie together after folding, pages 2 and 15 could be a ‘printer’s pair’ in that they lie together in the imposition.

See Wikipedia for diagram


noun: imprint

  1. A printer’s or publisher’s name, address, and other details in a book or other publication.
  2. A brand name under which books are published, typically the name of a former publishing house that is now part of a larger group: “the group will continue to market its products through its established imprints”.


noun: inkjet

Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing that recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper, plastic, or other substrates.


noun: international standard book number

  1. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code.



noun: Journal-Vault

Journal Vault is a simple, easy-to-use web-based system which allows the customer to manage their journal orders and files.



noun: knock-out

See: Overprint.



noun: lay-flat

A method of binding that allows the covers to be opened all the way without cracking.


noun: Lithograph

verb: print by lithography

Lithography is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. It is now defined as a picture printed using a stone or metal block on which an image has been drawn with a thick substance that attracts ink.


adjective: loose-leaf

(of a notebook or folder) having each sheet of paper separate and removable: “loose-leaf binders”.

Lorem ipsum

noun: lorem ipsum

Latin sample text used as a placeholder in page layout.

Lower case

noun: lower-case

Small letters as distinct from capitals (upper case) and small capitals.



noun: metadata

Literally, data about data. In the context of the book trade, metadata refers to bibliographic data, title, author, ISBN etc


noun: moiré

An unwanted striped or checkerboard pattern in halftoned images, frequently caused by halftoning something that already has a halftone pattern. Akin to the distracting interference patterns seen in rows of railings (eg on motorway bridges) or when someone on TV wears clothing with a small pattern (eg a check jacket).


adjective: mono

Monochrome, no colour just black on white. As per CMYK, a publisher may request to print his/her books 1/1, this stands for mono throughout.


Nielsen BookData

noun: Nielsen BookData

Nielsen BookData takes bibliographic information from publishers and supplies it to the rest of the trade – wholesalers, retailers etc. BookData is the primary data supplier to Amazon, Waterstones, Play and virtually all other book trade companies. Bookdata’s database of bibliographic information – for our titles and those of other publishers – can be checked directly via its BookData-Online service.



acronym: optical character recognition

Turning a printed page back into plain text, by scanning the page and using computer software to inspect and recognise the shapes of each letter.


noun: offset

  1. To produce a book by reproducing from an already-existing book – e.g. an American edition – as opposed to typesetting the text from scratch. Originally offsetting was done using a duplicate copy of the film used to create printing plates, but now involves a set of application files or PDFs.
  2. Printing fault where ink rubs off one page onto another, caused by too much ink coverage or poor drying.


phrase: on-demand

As soon as or whenever required: “a combination boiler provides hot water on-demand”.


noun: over-print

In four-colour printing, where two inks are printed one over the other. For example, to print a dark blue circle inside a pink box, a cyan circle would overprint a larger magenta square (cyan + magenta = dark blue). The opposite is ‘knockout’, where the cyan circle punches a hole in the magenta box, resulting in a pale blue circle in the pink box.



noun: paper-back

A book bound in stiff paper or flexible card: “the paperback edition of her biography”.

POD (print on demand)

noun: print-on-demand

A system or process whereby individual copies or small numbers of a text are printed to order, typically using digital technology: “most of the large publishers offer such computer-based services as e-books and print-on-demand”.

PPC (Printed Paper Case)

noun: printed-paper-case

An alternative to cloth casing for hardbacks in which a paperback-like cover (but on much thinner paper) is glued on to the stiff boards and laminated in place. As a result, no protective jacket is necessary.

PPI (Pages per square inch or Page Per Inch)

noun: Page Per Inch

A measurement of paper. To get true bulking use this measurement over GSM (see above).


noun: prelim

Short for preliminary. The pages preceding the main text of a book, including the title, contents, and preface.


adjective: prepress

Prepress relating to composition, page layout, and other work done on a publication before it is printed. The term is used in the printing and publishing industries for the processes and procedures that occur between the creation of a print layout and the final printing.


acronym: purchase order

A commercial document and first official offer issued by a buyer to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products.


noun: postscript

Computer language used to describe pages containing images and text, or more specifically, the instructions sent to a laser printer or CTP platemaker, to make it ‘draw’ the images and text on the page. The Postscript instructions are interpreted by a RIP (Raster Image Processor). Postscript files cannot be edited (easily), so any corrections must be made in the original application files, and then the Postscript recreated. Postscript comes in different ‘flavours’ known as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, with 3 being the most sophisticated. Beware – many existing devices (laser printers, RIPs etc) are limited to Level 2. Postscript is a close relative of PDF.

Postscript font

noun: proof

A kind of font software. Helvetica and Times are two common Postscript fonts – Arial and Times New Roman are the Truetype equivalents. Postscript fonts come in two parts, a ‘screen font’ and a ‘printer font’ and are often of higher quality than their Truetype counterparts. Sometimes called Type 1 fonts.


noun: proof

A trial impression of a page, taken from type or film and used for making corrections before final printing.

adjective: proof

Denoting a trial impression of a page or printed work.

verb: proof

Make a proof of (a printed work, engraving, etc.)


noun: pulp

  1. To destroy unsold books that are no longer wanted. The final alternative to remaindering the copies.
  2. The raw material for making paper, made from wood or recycled paper.



noun: raster

Computer image data consisting of a regular grid of pixels, generally stored as a TIFF or JPEG file.

Cf: A vector illustration such as a logo, diagram or map can be rasterised to turn it into a grid of pixels.


noun: recto

A right hand page.


noun: resolution

Loosely, the quality of the image or printing process, expressed in dots per inch (dpi). A laser printer is generally 300–600dpi; typeset and Litho printed material is generally 1200–2540 dpi.

Also used to describe the quality of TIFF and JPEG files.

Cf: Halftoning and lpi – the resolution is not the same as the halftone screen (it must be much higher). For a printing device such as a laser printer, the resolution in dpi should be several times greater than the lpi so that the halftone can reproduce an adequate range of grey shades – so a 600dpi laser printer can do decent halftones at 106lpi but cannot reproduce subtle grey shading at 150lpi.

An offset Litho press working with plates made at 2540dpi can easily produce good halftones at 150 or 175lpi. For printing an image such as a TIFF or JPEG, you should aim for dpi about twice the lpi – 300dpi for 150lpi printing.


acronym: raster image processor

Device that takes Postscript or PDF and creates film or plates. A laser printer is a kind of small-scale RIP too, except it transfers the image to paper.


acronym: red green blue

Colours made up of red, green and blue, usually associated with images not for print (i.e. images for on screen).


Saddle stitch

noun: saddle stitch

A stitch of thread or a wire staple passed through the fold of a magazine or booklet.


adjective: short-run

Taken or considered on a short timescale; short-term: “periods of often violent short-run price volatility”.

Soft proof

noun: soft proof

On-screen display that mimics the appearance of a printed proof. Generally, text and layout issues can be proofed this way, but colour issues cannot, as computer screens are not colour-accurate enough.

Split delivery

noun: split delivery

A method by which a larger quantity is ordered on a purchase order to secure a lower price, but delivery is divided into smaller quantities and is spread out over several dates, commonly to control inventory investment or save storage space.


noun: spine

The bound edge of a book.


noun: spiro

Or spiral. Type of spiral plastic binding. Useful for manuals/atlases as it allows a book to open flat

Spot colour

noun: spot colour

Premixed ink colour (i.e. colour not made up of four-colour halftoning). This is usually specified as a specific Pantone colour.


noun: spread

Two facing pages.


noun: stock

Goods or merchandise kept on premises of a shop or warehouse and available for sale or distribution: “the store has a very low turnover of stock”.

adjective: stock

(Of a product or type of product) usually kept in stock and thus regularly available for sale: “25 per cent off stock items”.

verb: stock

Have or keep a supply of (a particular product or type or product) available for sale: “most supermarkets now stock a range of organic produce”


noun: swatch

Colour sample, sometimes printed on a small square of card, called a ‘chip’. Pantone colour samples are available in booklets of swatches.


acronym: Specifications for Web-Offset Publications

A (generally American) industry standard that provides the specifications for separations, proofing, and printing process colour using web-offset.



acronym: trimmed page size

The actual size (as of a book page) after excess material/bleeds required in production has been cut off. Finished Size.

Trim marks

noun: trim marks

L-shaped marks printed just outside the page area showing where the page should be cut to the correct trim size after printing. Also called crop marks, and occasionally cut marks and tick marks. To allow for some tolerance in the trimming, items intended to print right to the edge of the page don’t just stop at the trim marks but extend out into the bleed area.


noun: true type

One kind of font software that can be used on both Macs and PCs. Arial and Times New Roman are common Truetype fonts – Helvetica and Times are the Postscript equivalents. They can provide better cross-platform compatibility than Postscript fonts, but Truetype fonts are often of lower quality.


noun: type-face

A set of characters (glyphs) that share a distinctive and consistent design, eg Times Roman, Helvetica Oblique or Stempel Garamond Italic. These days, synonymous with ‘font’.


Upper case

noun: upper case

Capital letters, so called because when type was cast blocks of metal, the capitals were kept in a wooden case on the top shelf, and lower-case letters were kept in a case on the lower shelf.



noun: vector

Computer image data consisting of lines and shapes, such as (typically) maps, diagrams, logos. Generally, quite small files, often stored as an .eps file.


noun: verso

A left-hand page.



noun: Wibalin

This paper is made from high quality, long fibred cellulose, which makes it very stiff. It is accordingly used as a covering material, as a book endpaper or for packaging purposes.


noun: widow

The short last line of a paragraph at the top of a page or column of type. Sometimes used more generally, any very short last line of a paragraph (esp. a single word). To be avoided in high-quality typesetting.


noun: wiro

Type of spiral wire binding. Useful for manuals/atlases as it allows a book to open flat.

Standard Paper Sizes

Paper SizeDimensionsPaper SizeDimensions
A3297 mm x 420 mmRA3305mm x 430mm
A4210 mm x 297 mmRoyal156 mm x 234 mm
A5148 mm x 210 mmSRA3320mm x 450mm
A6105 mm x 148 mmStandard132 mm x 197 mm
Demy/Demi138 mm x 216 mmUS Royal152 mm x 229 mm
Letter215.9 mm x 279.4 mm

Common Program Types

Adobe Acrobat ReaderSoftware which enables the viewing and printing of .pdf documents
Adobe Acrobat ProfessionalSoftware which (along with the Pitstop Pro and Quite imposing plug-ins) allows us to view, edit, impose and print a .pdf file
Adobe InDesignDesign software which can use for laying out artwork to create a print ready .pdf
Adobe PhotoshopSoftware for the creation and manipulation of artwork (Raster)
Adobe IllustratorSoftware for the creation and manipulation of artwork (Vector)
Microsoft Office WordA program for storing, manipulating, and formatting text
Microsoft Office ExcelA program for spreadsheet creation and manipulation
POD Scanning ConsoleScanning system for monitoring and measuring staff productivity, also used for BookVault file management
POD CRMISCustomer Relationship Management Integrated System, used for the management of jobs and customers as well as reviewing staff sales and performance

Common File Types

File TypeDescription
.pdfa file format for capturing and sending electronic documents in exactly the intended format.
.jpega format for compressing image files.
.psda file format for Adobe Photoshop
.pnga raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression, (good for images with transparencies)
.tiffa format for image files (higher quality than jpeg, larger files than jpeg)
.doc / .docxa file format for Microsoft Word, .doc is the older format while .docx is the newer format
.epsa format for vector images