How is a Print Book Made?

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Congratulations on finishing your book! For most authors, particularly those new to the business, writing a manuscript is the most difficult and time-intensive part of the publishing process. By the time authors finish the manuscript itself, they may find the prospect of making an actual book overwhelming. Don’t dismay; we’ll go over the basics to help you answer: “How is a Print Book Made?”

How is a Print Book Made?

The first step in making a print book is deciding what type of binding you want. You’ll decide between two cover types: paperback and hardback. Once you’ve decided between these two cover basics, you can decide the specifics of the binding. For paperback, you can choose between perfect bound, which is a more traditional book type, or saddle stitch, for books with lesser page counts.

For hardback books, you can choose a case laminate, which is a traditional hardbound book. Your other options are a cloth case laminate and a cloth case with a dust jacket. The case laminate and dust jacket options are available in gloss or matte finishes, as are both paperback options. The basic cloth case laminate is not available in gloss or matte finish, but is available in blue or gray.

When you or your publisher has chosen a paperback, hardbound, cloth, or dust jacket option, it’s time to move onto your book’s interior. If you choose a color book, you should select premium color or standard. Please make sure your interior is finished and finalized before you choose the cover. Finalizing the cover before the interior can influence final spine width, damaging the book’s professional appearance.


In addition to cover basics and dust jacket particulars, interiors are one of the biggest basics of making a book. You should determine whether you need interior bleed first. If you do not, you can set up your document so it reflects actual page sizes. However, we recommend using interior bleed, particularly if your book has illustrations or images. Interior bleed ensures that text and images always go to the edge of the page, enhancing your book’s professional appearance. If you choose to use interior bleed, please add 1/8 of an inch to your pages’ trim edges.

To ensure your interiors are neat, professional, and do not get rejected, please follow IngramSpark’s recommendations and guidelines. For starters:

  • Use half-inch margins
  • Submit your book in single-page PDF files (Do not submit your book using two-page PDF spreads or we will have to reject it)
  • All fonts should be embedded
  • Images should be 300 pixels per inch, without exception.
  • If you have multiple files – for example, one file per chapter – please combine them into a single PDF file before submission.

Cover Basics

We require that you submit your cover in a single PDF file combining its front, back, and spine. If you are not sure how to submit your cover, we recommend using our cover template generator. The cover template generator ensures that you meet the requirements for all cover basics. While you can submit your covers to bleed size, be aware that this is not part of our cover basics, nor is it included in our cover template generator. If you submit according to bleed size, your cover’s dimensions must be calculated manually.

IngramSpark Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly IngramSpark staff here, happily sharing a wealth of publishing knowledge with people from all walks of the self-publishing biz.