To help insure that your print project is a success, take a look at these general guidelines for getting your book printed. If you have any questions about these topics, please give us a call. For questions about print industry terms, click here to visit our Print Term Glossary. For additional information, click here to get answers to some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

Book Specifications
The following specifications need to be determined for a complete quote.

  • Size  (the final size to which the book is trimmed)
  • Total number of pages (be sure to include blank pages)
  • Paper weight for the interior/text pages (50#, 60#, 70#, etc.)
  • Paper weight for the cover (65#, 80#, 100#, 10pt, etc.)
  • Do you need the cover to be laminated (plastic coating to protect book cover and reduce scratches)
  • Type of binding (Perfect Bound, Plastic Spiral or Wire Bound, Saddle Stitch)
  • Does your book need to have an ISBN number (barcode on the back of the book)
  • Shipping information (ship to zip code for your printing)
  • When you need your job delivered (take in account shipping from Tennessee 37187)

Files Required
You will need both a text file and a cover file.  Adobe PDF files are preferred.

Text File

  • Image resolution for the interior pages can be from 300 dpi up to 600 dpi.
  • Because of the trimming process, please allow a ¾ inch margin on the binding edge of each page and at least a ½ inch margin at the top, bottom, and outside edge of the page.
  • If supplying a PDF file, make sure that all the fonts are embedded. Because of the sheer number of available fonts, there is the possibility that A&R Printing may not have the exact font that you are using. That is why it is essential that when you send your PDF file, you verify that the fonts are embedded within the document. If they are not, a reasonable font substitution will be made, but this may not be as satisfactory as your original choice.

Cover File

  • Determine what cover stock you will need.  10 pt C1S is used most often for soft cover books.
  • The cover image resolution must be at least 300 dpi and may be up to 600 dpi (dots per inch).  If the cover is not at that resolution, we will contact you to have a revised file sent to us.  Lower resolutions result in blurry graphics and poor text appearance.
  • Cover should have 1/8 inch bleed around the edge. (Bleed is a characteristic of images that extend past the planned trimmed edge of a sheet or page to avoid any unintended white edges.)
  • When laying out your cover, remember that color breaks at the spine and text that is too big for the spine can cause problems. This is because there is natural variation in the way the cover is applied to the text pages. This variation can leave you with color or text wrapping to the spine or cover of the book.
  • If your book has less than a 5/16 in. spine, please do not place any text or graphics on it.  If the spine is not wide enough, you can end up with type wrapping to the front or back covers. See the chart to determine the spine thickness.

Determining the spine thickness for a perfect bound book

1) Divide the total number of pages (include blank pages) by 2.

2) Multiply this by the thickness (caliper) of the paper on which your interior pages are being printed:

50# wht txt - .0039"

60# wht txt - .0048"

70# wht txt - .0053"

3) Add the cover thickness for the cover:

8 pt. - .008"

10 pt. C1S - .010"

12 pt. C1S - .012"

4) Then add .0055 for glue.

5) The result will be the spine thickness.

NOTE: Keep in mind that spine text must fit within this measurement with some room to spare!

Binding Type Definitions

Perfect Bound Books

Soft Cover Binding or Perfect Binding is an economical binding method that uses the same high quality materials for the interior pages as hard cover binding, but with a cover-weight stock, usually printed in color, with a gloss laminate or UV coating on the front and back sides. With soft cover binding, adhesive is applied to spine side of the pages and the paper cover is then wrapped around the pages. After the adhesive is cured, the book is trimmed on 3 sides, leaving you with an attractive, functional book.  Other names for this binding method include: Paperback, Trade Paperback, and Pocket Paperback.  The most economical size is usually 5” x 8” or 5.5” x 8.5”.

Saddle Stitch

Saddle Stitch is magazine type binding that uses 2 staples to hold the cover and pages together, can only be used for pages divisible by 4 and up to 64 pages. Cover is setup with no spine.

Spiral or Wire Bound

Plastic spiral binding, round holes are punched into the bind side of the book and a plastic coil is inserted to hold the cover and pages together,
Wire bound, square holes are punched into the bind side of the book and a twin loop wire is inserted to hold the cover and pages together,
There are many choices of colors when using this type binding.


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