Book Manufacturing Glossary

(Note: Many of the terms below are only relevant to traditional offset printing, and are included for your reference. Digital printing, which is what we offer at FCI Digital employs completely different printing processes and technology.)

AAʼs. Authorʼs Alterations. Changes made from the original copy or instructions after the proof has been submitted, chargeable to the customer.

Advance Copies. Completed product sent to the client via air courier to be received before the bulk arrives via ocean freight.

Application File. Computer fi le still in its native software format.

Arlin. Artificial Linen. Standard synthetic case material for a hardbound book printed in China.

Art Paper. A smooth matte or glossy paper with a coating of china clay compound on one or both sides.

Artwork. Materials that make up the composition of the book or product.

Assembly. Bringing together the separate sections of a book or package into a complete whole. Also known as Gathering.

Backbone. The back of a bound book connecting the front and back covers. Also known as the Spine.

Back Flap. The back inner fold of the dust jacket or cover.

Backing-up. Printing the reverse side of a sheet that has already been printed on one side.

Back Matter. Any material printed at the end of a book, such as appendix, addendum, glossary, index, etc.

Bar Code. A series of vertical bars of varying thickness printed on covers, dust jackets, or labels to be scanned for ISBN and retail price.

Bill of Lading (B/L). The document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company, serving as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods. Also known as Packing Slip.

Bind. To fasten sheets or signatures together using thread, wire, glue, or other means.

Binder Board. See Greyboard.

Bindery. A facility that trims, collates, and binds printed material.

Bleed. The portion of printed image extending beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page.

Blind Embossing. The process of raising or recessing an image using an un-inked block.

Blocking. A process for stamping a design on a book cover using a colored foil with pressure from heated die or block. See Foil Stamping.

Blueline (Ozalid). A photoprint made from stripped-up film used as a final proof to check the position of image elements on each page. Also known as an Ozalid or Blues.

Blues. See Blueline.

Book Block. The main text or body of the book after all signatures have been collated or gathered. Also referred to as the text.

Book Jacket. See Dust Jacket.

BPC. Black Plate Change. The method of changing the black plate on a process printing press, allowing for a change of black text without aff ecting color. A BPC may be used when producing books with common art but different language versions, or for books which have the same art and language text but have two or more imprints or logo changes.

Bronzing. A process for obtaining a metallic finish on printed matter by printing first with adhesive ink, then dusting bronzing powder on by hand or with a bronzing machine. Bronzing gives a better result than printing with metallic ink.

Bulk. (1) The thickness of paper expressed by pages per inch (PPI). (2) The ocean freight description of the complete product shipment.

Bullʼs Eye. See Hickey.

Burn Out. An opaque mask used in platemaking to clean up areas of a printing plate where there might be unwanted images when a plate is made from more than one exposure.

Burst Binding. See Notch Binding.

Case. The front cover, spine, and back cover of a hardbound book.

Casebinding. Type of binding in which the cover is made of rigid or fl exible boards covered with paper or cloth.

Caseboard. See Greyboard.

Casebound. A book bound with a hard cover. Also called Hardbound or Clothbound.

CIF. Cost, Insurance, and Freight. A term of sale in which the seller pays for the cost of paper, printing, and binding; insurance coverage on the shipment; and the freight to the clientʼs specified port. The client is then responsible for customs, clearance, and transportation to the final destination.

Clothbound. See Casebound.

Coated Paper. Paper having a surface coating which produces a smooth matte or gloss finish.

Coil Binding. See Spiral Binding.

Collating. The assembling of folded signatures in proper sequence. Also known as Gathering.

Color Bar. A colored strip in various densities printed on the edge of a sheet to verify the consistency of each ink fi lm or the specially prepared strips of film from which they are made.

Color Correction. Any method such as masking, dot-etching, re-etching, or scanning used to improve color rendition.

Color Matching System. See PMS.

Color Proof. A proof used to check for the resolution and print quality of color. Also known as Wet Proof, when the proof is made using film, or Digital Proof, when the proof is made using digital data.

Color Separation. The process of separating full-color originals into the primary printing colors in fi lm form.

Color Swatch. Color guides which may be graded in a standardized fashion as in the Pantone Matching System (PMS).

Consignee. The recipient of shipped goods.

Continuous Tone. An image that has not been screened and contains gradient tones from black to white.

Contrast. The tonal gradation between highlights, middle tones, and shadows in an original or reproduction.

Copyright. The right of an author or artist to control the use of the original work. While broadly controlled by international agreement, there are substantial differences between countries. In the UK, copyright or intellectual property generally exists by virtue of the creation of an original work, while in the US it is more often by registration.

Cromalin. See Dry Proof.

Crop. To eliminate portions of the copy, usually on a photograph or plate, indicated on the original by “cropmarks.” The edge of the printed area.

Cross Grain. The direction perpendicular to the fibers of the paper. It is not recommended to fold against the grain.

Crossover. Image or text that extends across the gutter to the opposite page.

CTP. Computer to Plate. The process of taking an electronic file and outputting it directly onto a printing plate for offset printing.

Customs Papers. See Export Declaration.

Cut Flush. A binding in which the cover is trimmed to the same size as the pages with a guillotine or a three-knife trimmer.

Cut-out. An illustration where the background has been removed to provide a silhouette.

Cyan. The name given to the blue ink used in four-color process printing. Cyan reflects blue and green light and absorbs red light.

Deboss. To press an image into paper so that it lies below the surface.

Densitometer. In photography, a photoelectric instrument which measures the density of photographic image or colors. In printing, a reflection densitometer is used to measure the color consistency and density throughout the run.

Density. The weight of tone or color in any image, measurable by a densitometer. The printed highlight can be no brighter than the base paper or board, while the shadow can be no darker than the quality and volume of ink the printing process will permit. A greater range is possible on film and color transparencies than in printing.

Die-cutting. The use of sharp steel rules to cut shapes out of text sheets or casebound and limpbound covers for pop-up books, advertising materials, or unique projects. Die-cutting usually refers to a clean, smooth cut in the material and can be an entire cutting out of material or partial cutting of material. Die-cutting can be done on flat-bed or rotary presses.

Digital Ozalid. A blueline created with the CTP process used for positioning and last minute page changes and not for color or quality.

Digital Plate. See Digital Proof.

Digital Proof. A proof made directly from a digital file using a digital printing machine. Corrections can be made directly to the computer files.

Digital Printing. A process of printing directly onto paper using lasers (toner) or inkjets (ink), bypassing the cumbersome and costly plate creation process of traditional offset printing.

Door-to-door Delivery. A term of sale in which the seller pays the price that includes transportation from the printerʼs door to the door of the clientʼs warehouse. The client is then responsible for unloading the bulk from the truck.

Dot Gain. The tendency of halftone dots to grow during the reproduction chain from original to printed image, leading to inaccurate results. If dot gain characteristics of a particular press are known, they can be compensated for in the reproduction stage. Typical dot gain values for three common printing conditions:


Magenta  Yellow 


Sheetfed  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18% 

20%               20% 


Web-off set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20% 

22%               22% 


Non-heatset web embossing . . 28% 

33%               30% 



DPI. Dots Per Inch. The unit of measure for output resolution and input resolution from a scanner, referring to the number of dots that fit in an inch.

Drawn On. Describes the process for attaching the cover onto a softcover book.

Dry Proof. Processes such as cromalin or matchprint that provide a color proof from film without the need for platemaking by using tone powders or colored films. Dry proofs are efficient for producing small numbers of color proofs rapidly and are especially useful in the control of dot gain.

Dummy. A blank book made in advance to show all specifications such as size, shape, form, and style without containing any printed matter. Used to aid book designers in determining visual impact.

Dust Cover. See Dust Jacket.

Dust Jacket. Printed or unprinted wrapper placed around a casebound book. Also known as Dust Cover, Dust Wrapper, or Book Jacket.

Dust Wrapper. See Dust Jacket.

Embossing. An impressed relief that achieves a raised or depressed surface for decorative purposes.

Emulsion Side. The side of the printing film coated with the silver halide emulsion on which the image is developed.

End Papers. See Endsheets.

Endsheets. Four pages pasted on the outside of the first and last signature used to bind the book block to the caseside when producing a casebound book. The endsheets are usually a paper stock that is thicker and stronger than the text stock in order to bear the weight of the book block when glued to the caseside. Also known as End Papers.

EPS. Encapsulated PostScript. A high-resolution, electronic fi le format that includes PostScript code and a low resolution representation of the image, used to transfer PostScript image information from one program to another.

Export Declaration. Paperwork given to the carrier required for clearing a shipment through US Customs. Also known as Customs Papers.

Extent. The number of pages in a book, potentially including the endsheets and cover.

F & G. Folded and Gathered. An unbound, folded and gathered copy of a book usually used for print quality verification or promotional purposes.

Film Assembly. See Stripping.

Film Lamination. Bonding plastic fi lm to printed material for protection and appearance.

FIS. Free Into Store. A term of sale in which the seller is responsible for all costs of delivery.

Flat Back/Square Back. Reinforcing the spine of the caseside with a piece of board to achieve either a fl at, stiff spine or a soft, flexible spine.

Flexible Binding. A binding method using paper over paper, allowing for endsheets and a hollow spine in a softbound book.

FOB. Freight on Board. A term of sale in which an overseas printer pays for the delivery of the bulk shipment to the dock warehouse or the clientʼs freight forwarderʼs terminal and clears the goods for export. The clientʼs freight forwarder is responsible for loading the bulk shipment into the boat and subsequent duty and delivery. For USA based printers, it refers to the point of delivery, either the printer's shipping dock, or customer's warehouse.

Foil. Tissue-thin material with metal or pigment used in book stamping with a stamping die.

Foil Stamp. Plastic film with a gold, silver, or metalized coloring, used to block designs in packaging, book covers, and jackets. See Blocking.

Folio. The actual page number in a book, not including the end papers.

Font. In composition, the complete set of characters of one type and face.

FPO. For Position Only. An illustration used only to indicate position, not for reproduction.

Freight Forwarder. An international shipping and customs broker accepting shipments from our vendors and combining them for cost-efficient ocean freight cargo.

French Fold. Two folds at right angles used on jackets, forming a four-page, uncut section.

Front Matter. All pages preceding page 1 of a book.

FTP. File Transfer Protocol. A method of transferring fi les from one computer to another across the Internet

Gate Fold. Two parallel folds towards each other in which the fold can be opened like a double gate.

Gathering. See Assembly and Collating.

Ghosting. A faint image on a printed sheet, appearing intentionally or not.

Gilding. Gold leafing the edges of a book.

Gloss. A paperʼs shine or luster that reflects light.

Grade. A means of ranking paper and cloth types.

Grain. The direction in which the majority of paper fibers are aligned.

Greyboard. A low grade, grey colored board made out of 100% recycled paper used to create hardcovers.

GSM. Grams per Square Meter. Metric unit of measurement for paper.

Gutter. The blank space or inner margin, separating printing area from the binding.

Halftone. The conversion of continuous-tone artwork, such as a photograph, into dots of varying size through a crossline or contact screen.

Hand Bound. A book which has been adhered and stitched by hand due to special requirements or to expedite the completion of advance copies.

Hardbound. See Casebound.

Hard Copy. The permanent visual record of the output of a computer or printer, as opposed to the digital data.

Hard Dot. A halftone dot with a sharp, clean edge that can only be minimally retouched or etched.

Head Margin. The white space above the first line on a page.

Head/Tail Bands. A small decorative strip of silk, cotton, or synthetic material used at the top (head) and bottom (tail) of a casebound book to decoratively fi ll the gap formed between the spine of the book and the cover.

Hickey. A printing defect caused by dust (usually from the paper or boardʼs surface) or ink skin holding the paper away from printing surface. Also known as Bullʼs Eye.

Highlight. The lightest part of a halftone.

Hinge. The flexible joint where the cover and spine of a casebound book meet, allowing the cover to open without breaking the spine or breaking apart signatures. Also known as Joint.

Hollow. The space at the back of a casebound book between the case and the book block.

Hue. The main attribute of a color (its redness or blueness), as opposed to its shade (its lightness or darkness).

Humidity. Moisture in the air that may affect paper materials involved in the printing process.

Imposition. Positioning of pages in a press form so they will be in the correct order after the printed sheet is folded and cut.

Insert. A printed piece prepared for insertion into a publication or another printed piece.

Inside Delivery. A delivery made inside a building or garage that carries an additional charge.

Interleaving. Inserting blank pieces of paper between printed sheets to either separate completed books or to avoid wet ink from transferring. Also known as Slipsheeting.

ISBN. International Standard Book Number. A unique thirteen digit serial number assigned to every printed book to identify publisher, title, language of publication, and edition. Always included in the bar code.

ISO 9000. International Organization for Standardization 9000. A series of internationally recognized and accepted quality management and quality control standards.

JPEG. Joint Photographic Experts Group. A color image compression format which allows the storage of high quality images in relatively small fi les by balancing compression against loss of detail in the image.

Joint. See Hinge.

Keyline. An outline drawn on finished artwork to indicate the exact shape, position, and size for such elements as halftones, art, and line sketches.

Kiss-cut. The use of sharp steel rules to cut shapes into materials without cutting out the material. Kisscutting is usually used when cutting shapes for sticker books when the sticker must be cut out but not the backing material. Kiss-cutting can be done on either flat-bed or rotary presses.

Kivar. A readily available synthetic leather-like material made of paper that may be glued to the boards of a hardcover book and stamped in foils.

Kraft Paper. A brown paper used to wrap and pack books.

Lamination. A plastic film bonded by heat and pressure to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Used mostly for both hardbound cases and limpbound covers, the lamination process will darken the original color on the cover.

Landscape (or Oblong). A book or other printed matter with a greater width than height

Library Binding. A casebound book with a cloth or cambric hinge; reinforced binding.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number. An identification number issued by the Library of Congress, normally appearing on the copyright page.

Liftgate. Specialized truck needed for shipment destinations which do not have a loading dock. See Loading Dock.

Limited Edition. A book or print restricted to a specific number of copies, often numbered and signed by the author.

Limpbound. See Soft Cover.

Linen Finish. Type of book cloth with a two-tone effect caused by white threads showing through the color.

Lining. Material pasted to the backbone of a casebound book that reinforces the glue and helps to hold together the signatures.

Loading Dock. An elevated platform where freight can be loaded or unloaded.

Loupe. A small mounted magnifying lens used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates, and prints.

LPI. Lines Per Inch. The rows of dots per inch in a halftone.

Magenta. The name given to the red ink used in four-color process printing. Magenta reflects blue and red light and absorbs green light.

Matchprint. See Dry Proof.

Moire. An undesirable screen pattern caused by incorrect screen angles of overprinting halftones. In four color process, the angles that are most commonly used to avoid moire are black 45 degrees, magenta 75 degrees, yellow 90 degrees, and cyan 105 degree

Negative. Film containing an image in which the values of the original are reversed so that the dark areas appear light and vice versa (the reverse of positive).

Negative RRED. An acronym for negative film that is right reading emulsion down. This type of film is primarily used by printers in the United States.

Notch Binding. A form of adhesive binding in which a series of notches are cut in the spine on the binding machine to let the adhesive penetrate. Also known as Burst Binding.

Notify Party. The party to be advised of the arrival of goods.

Opacity. The property of paper which minimizes the “show-through” of printing from the back side or the next sheet.

Overrun. Copies printed in excess of the specified printing quantity. Also known as “Overs.” See R/O.

Overs. See Overrun.

Ozalid. A photoprint made from stripped-up film used as a final proof to check the position of image elements on each page. Also known as a Blueline or Blues.

Packing Slip. See Bill of Lading.

Pagination. Numbering pages consecutively.

Pallet Jack. A hand-operated lift used to pull pallets from the truck interior onto the lift gate. Required for shipments to destinations without a loading dock.

Paperbound. See Soft Cover.

PDF. Portable Document Format. A fi le format developed by Adobe Systems for representing documents in a manner independent of the original application software, hardware, and operating system used to create the fi le.

Perfect Binding. A non-sewn binding method using flexible adhesive to hold individual pages in place, commonly used for paperback books.

Perforation. Small slits through paper or board that may be inserted on a press or a folding machine to facilitate the folding of thicker materials.

Pixel. The individual “picture elements” that form the smallest visible and editable part of a color image in electronic color imaging systems.

PLC. Printed Laminated Cover. A hardbound book with printed image wrapped over board.

PMS. Pantone Matching System. Pantone, Inc.ʼs check-standard trademark for color reproduction and color reproduction materials. Each color bears a description of its formulation (in percentages) for subsequent use by the printer. Also known as Color Matching System.

Point System. Type size measurement system. (1) Anglo-American in which the point is 0.013837 of an inch or 0.351457mm and 12 points make a Pica. (2) Didot in which the point is 0.376065mm and 2 points make a Cicero.

Portrait (or Upright). A book or other printed matter with a greater height than width.

Positive. Film containing an image in which the dark and light hues are the same as the original (the reverse of negative).

Positive RRED. An acronym for positive film that is right reading emulsion down. This type of film is used almost universally outside of the United States.

PPI. Pages per inch, a specification used by paper manufacturers indicating how many pages of a particular paper stack up to one inch. This number is critical in creating dimensions for your covers.

Prepress. Processes prior to presswork, including design, camera work, color separating, stripping, and platemaking.

Press Proof. Press sheets printed in advance of the bindery run to check for the consistency and accuracy of images, tone value, and color.

Printing. The process of reproducing an image or text from a plate, die, negative, stencil, or electronic memory.

Print-on-demand. Digitally printing very low quantities (1-10 copies), often printing and fulfilling orders as they come. Print-on-demand has a higher unit cost than short-run printing and offset printing.

Process Colors. The subtractive primaries, which are yellow, magenta, cyan, and black in four-color process printing.

Process Printing. Printing done using yellow, magenta, cyan, and black inks. Also known as Color Process Printing or Four-Color Process.

Proforma Value. The customers declared value, not our sales price.

Progressive Proofs. Proofs made from the separate plates for each process color, showing the sequence of printing and the result after each additional process color has been applied. Also known as Progs.

Progs. See Progressive Proofs.

Proofing. Trial prints done on paper of comparable or equal weight, stock, and finish to the specifications, but not necessarily on the exact paper specified. Pages are usually proofed in two-page spreads, on one side of the paper only.

PUR Adhesive. Polyurethane Reactive, the strongest book binding glue currently on the market. PUR reactivates in extreme heat, is not susceptible to cracking issues, and is applied in smaller quantities than other glues. PUR is clear and can be used for lower page counts than traditional adhesives. It is nearly impossible to pull a page from a PUR bound book.

PVC. Polyvinyl chloride. A plastic resin on which images can be printed, often used for banners and cards.

Quality Control. The inspection of random samples throughout all stages of production during a print run to check for consistency and quality.

Register. To print two or more images on the same paper so that they fi t together in exact alignment with each other.

Registration Marks. Small guides used for positioning film register or for registering two or more colors in process printing.

Reinforced Endsheets. Strengthening and reinforcing the book binding by affixing muslin tape around the fold of the first and last signatures of a book and respective endsheets.

Reprint. To rerun a print from standing negatives, with or without corrections.

RFQ. Request for Quotation. A request for pricing from a potential client for a particular product or service.

RIP. Raster Image Processor. The device that converts text and graphics information into the dot pattern that will be imaged onto film or paper.

R/O. Run-on. The lower cost applied to additional copies of a book or product. See Overrun.

Running Head. A title repeated at the top of each page of a book.

Running Sheets. Actual flat printed sheets, sometimes submitted before binding.

Run-on. See R/O.

Saddle Stitch. A binding method used to fasten booklets by wiring through the middle fold of the sheets.

Scaling. Reducing or enlarging an image without changing the ratio of the dimensions.

Score. A crease made in a board to facilitate folding on the intended line.

Screen Angle. See Moire.

Scuffing. Ink that smears or comes off a printed sheet. Also known as rub-off .

Section Sewn. The process by which a signature is reinforced by a mechanical sewing machine. Also known as Smyth Sewn.

Self Cover. A cover of the same paper as the inside pages.

Self Ends. A binding in which the endpaper is part of the first and/or last section of the book, as opposed to being tipped in separately.

Short-run Printing. Printing quantities between 10 and 500 using a digital press. 

Shrinkwrap. Process by which items are wrapped individually on pallets or skids in a sleeve of plastic film which is then heated until it shrinks tightly around the contents.

Signature. In printing and binding, the name given to a printed sheet after it has been folded. A signature can represent 4, 8, 12, 16, or more even-numbered pages.

Silkscreen. A print made from ink forced through fabric screen stencil pores bearing a reverse image of the design to be printed.

Slipsheeting. See Interleaving.

Smyth Sewn. The process by which a signature is reinforced by a mechanical sewing machine. Also known as Section Sewn.

Soft Cover. A book bound with a paper cover. Also known as Paperbound, Limpbound. See also Flexible Binding, Perfect Binding.

Soft Dot. A halftone dot that is less dense at the edge than at its center, giving it a fuzzier image and making it easier to retouch.

Spine. See Backbone.

Spiral Binding. A book binding method in which wires in spiral form are inserted through holes punched along the binding side. Also known as Coil Binding.

Spot Varnish. Varnish printed on a certain area/spot on the page (as opposed to over printing varnish on the entire page) often used on four-color art and photographs in books with coated papers to produce brighter colors.

Stamping. The process of using heat and pressure to transfer an impression from a die.

Stamping Die. A pattern cut in metal for embossing or stamping book covers.

Stochastic Printing. A printing process that uses randomly scattered small, same-size dots of varying densities, similar to the grain in photographic film, to produce an image that is closer to continuous tone than halftone processes.

Stripping. Positioning of film prior to printmaking. Also known as Film Assembly.

Swatch. A small color sample of the actual ink color or fabric type to be reproduced.

Thumb Index. An index where the dividers are cut into the fore edge rather than stepped, as in a cut-in or tab index.

TIFF. Tagged Image File Format. A fi le format generally associated with black-and-white, grayscale, or color bitmapped images produced by a scanner.

Title Page. A page in the front matter of a book that states the title, author, and publisher.

TPS. Trimmed Page Size. The final size of a bookʼs interior text pages, which determines the book size.

Trim Marks. Marks that are placed on the copy to indicate the trim size.

Trim Size. The final size of a printed product after the last trim is made.

-up. Refers to the imposition of material to be printed on a larger size sheet to take advantage of full press capacity (i.e., one-up, two-up, three-up, etc.).

UV Coating. A protective liquid coating on book covers and dust jackets, which is dried by ultraviolet light.

UV Varnish. A liquid varnish usually applied to covers. The varnish is applied onto the already printed paper surface and dried and adhered by passing the sheet under ultraviolet light.

Varnish. A thin gloss or matte coating applied to a printed sheet for protection or appearance. Varnish is not as strong or as durable as lamination.

Vellum Finish. A toothy, uncoated finish on paper that is absorbent for fast ink penetration.

Wet Proof. A proofing process using film and customer chosen paper stock to create the final color quality for client approval. Also known as a Color Proof.

Wire Binding. A binding method in which a continuous double series of wire loops are run through punched slots along the binding side of a booklet. Also known as Wire-O-Binding, which is a copyrighted name.

Woodfree Paper. A porous paper normally used for text pages that does not have a chemical or clay coating and is quick to absorb inks.

Yellow. The name given to the yellow ink used in four-color process printing. Yellow reflects red and green light and absorbs blue light.