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Publishing Terminology


Acknowledgments– The section of a book in which the author gives recognition or honor to the people who have influenced in the creation or publication of the book or who has made an impact on the life of the author.

Against the Grain– Right angle made to the direction of the paper’s grain.

Appendix– The part of the book that can be found at the end of an individual chapter or at the end of all the chapters. The appendix contains additional material that does not conveniently fit into the chapter, such as a table or graph.

Artwork– Any photos, illustrations, or type included in the copy for print.


Back Matter Pages without numbers in the back of a book that includes appendices, index, references, or additional notes.

Banding– Printed paper is packaged together with rubber or paper bands.

Bar Code– An arrangement of numbers and lines at different widths that can be scanned in order to register the price of a book and certain information about it. Also known as a UPC or Universal Product Code.

Bind– Joining the pages of a book with thread, wire, glue or other means.

Bleed– The term bleed refers to printing that reaches the edges of a printed page after trimming.

Blog– A web-based journal in which writers post opinions, reviews, thoughts, images etc. for readers.

Blurb– A blurb is a promotional description of a book that is usually present on the cover of the book.

Bold Type– Type of text that appears darker and thicker than normal font.

Book Block– The PDF file of the text of the book not including the cover.


Caliper– The thickness of paper measured by a thousandths of an inch.

Caption– A title or description under an image.

Category– See Genre.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS)– The style guide for the publishing industry. Currently in its 17th edition and at well over a thousand pages, CMoS sets the standard for the entire publishing industry.

Contrast– Refers to the tonal difference in color from light to dark.

Copy Editor– A person who edits a copy of a manuscript. They focus on correcting grammatical, spelling, style, and punctuation errors.

Copyright– The ownership of any intellectual property that is protected by law.

Copyright Page– A page at the beginning of a book that contains a statement of the copyright ownership including the word “copyright” or the © symbol, the year of publication, and the name of the copyright owner.

Cover Design– The images, illustrations, and text of a cover of a book which is used to visually attract the reader.

Crop– To alter an image by eliminating portions that are insignificant to the overall presentation of that image.

Critique– A suggestion that is made to the author about altering or editing the text.


Digital Printing– Printing from a digital based image using ink or toner which does not permeate the paper, but forms a thin layer on the surface, and may in some systems be additionally adhered with a heat process (toner) or UV curing process (ink). Digital printing allows for cheaper printing costs and for on-demand printing.

Disclaimer– A statement that relinquishes a party of responsibility or affiliation with all of a book or a certain component of a text.

Distributor– A company or individual who sells products to retailers instead of directly to the consumer.

Domain Name– This is a registered URL or Web address for a particular individual or company. The registration for a domain name usually requires a fee, but it secures the domain name and prevents others from registering under the same domain name.

DRM– Stands for Digital Rights Management, and is used to protect the contents of an eBook file. DRM is usually applied after eBook file conversion.

Drop Cap– The first letter of a word that begins a paragraph which is enlarged to the point that it drops down into the first few lines of a paragraph. The letter is flush with the margins of the paragraph.

Dust Jacket/Dust Cover– A printed and coated paper cover that is folded around a hardcover book to protect the surface of the book; cover image and information about the book wrapped around a hardcover book.


eBook– Refers to the electronic file format in which a book may be published. These files may be read on eBook readers, cell phones, and desktop computers/laptops. Two major file types are ePub and Mobi.

Emboss– Refers to the creation of an impression by pressing an image into paper.

Endorsement– A promotional statement by either an individual or an organization that recommends a book. The endorsement is typically located on the front or back cover of the book, and is a great way to promote the sale of your book.

eProof– copy of an eBook before it is approved by the author and publisher. The eProof may contain layout issues from the transferring of a text to a digital, eBook reader format.

ePub– eBook file. ePub or e.pub is the most universal eBook file type, used for iPad/iPhone, Nook, etc.

eReader– A portable, electronic device which is used to download and display digital files of books for a reader. Popular eReaders include Kindle, Nook, and iPad.


Finished Size– The final size of a printed book.

Footnote– A footnote appears at the bottom of a page and provides reference citations and information that is not included in the text. Footnotes are used to further explain a term or idea from within the text and are referenced through the use of a superscript character next to the word the footnote corresponds with.

Formatting– The process of designing the layout of a manuscript for the final production of the book.

Front Matter– The pages that precede the main body text of a book. These pages are usually numbered with Roman numerals.


Galley (proof)– The preliminary version of a book, also called a “Proof.” A Galley is meant for review by authors, editors, and proofreaders. BookLogix provides a printed and fully bound proof book to authors self-publishing with us.

Genre– Categories that books fit in to depending on the subject matter. Examples include romance, western, sci-fi, and self-help.

Ghostwriter– A person who is paid to write or co-write a book. Ghostwriters typically do not receive recognition for their work in the publication.

Glossary– Usually found at the end of a book, a glossary holds significant terms from the text with their definitions.

Gloss Finish– A coating applied to paper that reflects light. Has a shinier, slicker look and feel than matte finish.

Grayscale– Refers to images that are composed of only black and white with the gray shades in between.

Gutter– Also referred to as the margin, the gutter is the space between the printed area and the binding of a book.


Hardcase– See Hardcover.

Hardcover– A book that has a hard, durable cover to the book instead of a soft cover. The cover may be wrapped in leather, synthetic leather or linen, and may have embossing on the surface or be wrapped with a dust jacket.

Header– Information that appears at the top of every page that generally includes the title of the book on one side and the chapter title on the other.


Index– A list of words that contains a list of specific subjects with the correlating page numbers to which they are referenced. The index generally appears at the end of a book.

Interior Graphics– Refers to the pictures, figures, and diagrams that are present within the text of a book.

ISBN– Stands for International Standard Book Number, and is a unique 13 digit number that identifies a book. The ISBN number is different for new versions and editions of books. Prior to 2007, ISBNs consisted of ten numbers, but with the growth of the production of books it had to be expanded to thirteen digits to accommodate the growing number of books.

ISSN– Stands for International Standard Serial Number and is used to identify periodicals worldwide.


Jpeg– A file format specifically for photos and images.


Keyword– A word or phrase that is used when searching online search engines in order to find all related results to that keyword.


Laminate– To cover a page in laminae, creating a hard, clear coat over the page.

Layout– The plan or design for how a page or cover will look once printed.

LCCN– Stands for Library of Congress Control Number. It is a unique number assigned to a book that is likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress to be circulated in libraries.

Line Editor– A person who does a closer edit than a copy editor. A line editor focuses on the writing style in context to the time period and setting of the book. He or she also focuses on grammatical, punctuation, and style issues.

List Price– The full value price of a book, usually printed on the back cover.

Literary Agent– A person whose purpose is to mediate between the author and a publishing company.

Loose Proof– An unbound and untrimmed proof of a book.


Manuscript– The complete text of a book, generally in an electronic format. A manuscript is what is submitted to publishers.

Marketing– Different avenues used to advertise and promote a book.

Matte Finish– Flat finish that has no gloss.

Mobi– eBook file type used on Amazon’s Kindle and the Mobipocket eReader. Files are named with a “.mobi” extension.


Niche– Refers to a specific market that is defined by a particular interest or subject matter.

Nonexclusive Contract– A contract in which the publisher does not contain the exclusive rights over an author’s published material.


Offset Printing– A common printing technique which transfers an inked image from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the page.

On-Demand Printing– See Print-on-Demand.

Out of Print– A book that is no longer being printed. Copies of out of print books may be found online.


Page Count– Total number of pages in a book.

PDF– This is the file type used by Adobe Systems. Many times PDF files cannot be edited or tampered with in any way. PDF is the preferred format for printing a book’s cover and text pages. PDF files can also be used to convert a book to eBook format.

Perfect Paperback– Refers to a book being perfect bound. The spine block of the book is glued to the cover, then the book is trimmed.

Perfect Binding– A form of binding in which the edges of the pages are glued to a cover at the spine.

Plot– The storyline of a book that includes the plan or main story of the work.

Point of View– Refers to the style in which the story is written. A story may be written in first-person, third-person, or in an omniscient third-person in which the person is presented as an outsider looking in on the situation and can offer additional information to the reader.

Pre-press– Anything done to prepare the manufacturing of the book, such as layout changes, resizing, etc.

Press Kit– A pre-packaged set of promotional materials that are sent to media for publicity.

Press Release– A written document promoting a book; sent to media outlets for publicity.

Print-on-Demand (POD)– The printing of books by order as needed. As few as 1 book at a time may be produced.

Print-Ready– The final manuscript of the book in a PDF file format. At this stage the book is ready to be sent to the printer.

Proof– A printed copy of the book that is used to check for errors in the text, layout, or design of the book before it is sent to the final printing stage.

Publication Date– The date that a book is scheduled to be released to the public.

Publicist– A professional who is hired to promote the book and circulate press.

Publicity Tour– This is a tour that an author takes in order to promote their book. Publicity tours often include book signings, interviews, and book readings.

Publishing Services Provider– Allows the author to publish his or her own book. Publishing Services Providers, such as BookLogix Publishing Services, aid in the publishing steps, including editing, layout/design, book manufacturing, etc.


Retail Price– The price a book is sold at in stores.

Review– A book reviewer’s opinion on a book that is published either online or in a newspaper/magazine.

Royalty– The percentage of sales revenue from a book that is paid to the book’s author.

Running Header– see Header.


Saddle Stitch– Refers to the binding of a pamphlet or magazine by placing staples in the seam where it folds.

Self-Publishing– The publication of a book by the author of the book without the involvement of a third-party publisher. With self-publishing, the author retains all of the rights to his or her book.

Shelf Life– The shelf life of a book refers to how long an unsold book stays on the sales floor before it is replaced by another title.

Ship On-Demand (SOD)– The shipping out of books as requested by the publisher. Books are manufactured, stored, then shipped as needed based on orders.

Softcover– Also called Paperback refers to the cover of a book that is made of paper or paper board.

Source File– A source file is the original file used as the source for design, eBook conversion, layout, editing, etc. Source file may be provided by client, or created by publishing services provider, graphic designer, etc.

Spine Width– The spine is what connects the front and back covers and the width is the measurement of that spine. The spine width is also used to determine the depth of the book.


Table of Contents (TOC)– This section of a book is located in the beginning of a book and lists the chapter titles and the page number on which the chapter begins.

Target Audience– A specific group of people whom an author targets when writing, advertising, and selling his or her book.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)– The compressed-file format with the extension .tif used for graphic images.

Traditional Publishing– In traditional publishing, an author submits a manuscript to a publishing house in hopes that they will pick it up and want to publish the book. If the publishing company decides to publish the book, then they buy the rights for the book from the author and pay the author in advance for any further royalties. The publishing house then puts up the money to design and print the book.

Trim Size– The trim size refers to the final dimensions of a book page after the book is printed, bound, and trimmed.

Typesetting– Typesetting refers to the action of formatting a book on the computer. If a printed copy of a book needs to be put into an electronic format for the purpose of re-printing or archiving, then typesetting will be needed.


University Press– A publishing house that is owned and run by a University. University Presses generally produce academic material.

UV Coating– An environmentally friendly laminate that is bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.


Vanity Press– A publisher who will publish a book, but does not finance it. The author is responsible for the full financing of the book, and rarely retains the copyright to that book.

Vanity Publisher– See Vanity Press.

Virtual Book Tour– Similar to a publicity tour, but focuses on publicizing through the internet by means of ads on the websites visited by the target audience and often times through book giveaways.


Webinar– A seminar that is broadcasted live on the internet. Webinars allow its participants to interact and share comments through chat.

Wholesaler– A wholesaler can be a company, group or an individual who will buy large quantities of books from a publisher for a discounted rate and then sell them to a retailer at a midlevel rate.

Wire-o– Binding name for the hand binding of a book using double loops of wire through punched holes along the edge of a page.