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Book publishing glossary
Book publishing glossary

All the words you may come across before or after publishing.

Ash Davies avatar
Written by Ash Davies
Updated over a week ago

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50lb paper

Paper that weighs 50 pounds per ream. Suitable for non-illustrated books or books with a little color.

70lb paper

Paper that weighs 70 pounds per team. It is more opaque than 50lb. Suitable for books with a lot of color, such as children's books.


A page in a book for the author to mention and thank everyone who supported the book's creation. It appears after the last page of the last chapter.

Author bio

A page or pages in a book that briefly summarize the author's life and previous works. It appears after the acknowledgements.

Back matter

Material at the back of a book, after the main text.


Machine-readable image of a book's ISBN.


The format into which a book is assembled.


A globally-accepted system for categorizing books.


The print area outside the trim size of a book.


A brief description of a book, used for marketing purposes.

Keep reading: Writing your blurb

Body matter

The main part of a book including all chapters.

Book block

The area on a book page that contains the text.

Case wrap

A hardcover binding method. The cover design is printed onto stiff cover boards.


The basic units of a book. They divide up the story, or separate the ideas.


A color model used in color printing. Short for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).


A bunch of rights owned by authors and creators. The rights give owners the power to control how their material is used or copied.

Keep reading: Copyright

Copyright page

A page in a book that contains bibliographic information — such as notes from the publisher, a copyright notice, statement of the rights of the author, and the publisher's name and contact details. It appears on the reverse of the title page.


An arrangement to supply books to a retailer and only receive payment for the books that sell.


A page in a book for the author to name someone or some people who the book is dedicated to. It appears after the copyright page.

Digital cloth binding

A hardcover binding method. The cover design is printed onto a removable jacket and a digital image with the look and feel of cloth is printed onto the cover.


Making books available to wholesalers, retailers and readers.


Copies of a book printed from substantially the same interior.


A way of including file information within a file itself. For example, including font files within a PDF.

End matter


A section of a story that comments on what has happened, wraps up loose plot points, or lays hints for a sequel. It appears after the last chapter.


An eBook file format. It is the mostly widely supported format, used by most retailers other than Amazon.


A list of notes, numbered and arranged in a way that a reader can connect them to where they are mentioned inside the chapters. It appears after the last chapter.

Fixed layout

A less-common eBook format where the pages are strictly designed, and text and images stay where the author intended no matter the device they are viewed on.

Flash fiction

A work of fiction under 500 words.


A member of a typeface family. For example, regular, italic or bold.

Keep reading: Themes & styles


An introduction to a book, not written by the author. It appears after the table of contents, and before the prologue or introduction.


The shape, size or appearance of a book.

Front matter

The very beginning of a book, and the information you find there.


The section of a book page that leads into the binding.

Half-title page

The very first page in a book, coming before the title page. It has the title of the book only, with no subtitle.


A major book distributor.


A brief explanation of a book's topic. It appears before the first chapter.


A unique 13-digit number that identifies a specific edition of a paperback book, hardcover book or eBook.

Keep reading: ISBNs explained


The most common image file format. It is popular for displaying complex photographs or images with a lot of color data.


The space on a page between the text and images and the page edge.


An eBook file format. It is used exclusively by Amazon.

Offset printing

Printing technology where ink is transferred from a roller to a printing surface, and then to a page.

On-sale date

The date when a book may be sold by bookstores or circulated by libraries. It can be after or on the publication date.


A first line of a paragraph that appears by itself at the bottom of a page.


A work of fiction over 40,000 words.


A work of fiction 7,500 to 40,000 words long.


A document file format. All formatting and styling is preserved within a PDF, making it for anyone to view and print.


A subset of PDF. A PDF/X file follows a set of rules and restrictions created with the goal of consistent and predictable print results.

Perfect binding

A paperback binding method. Pages and cover glued to the spine.

Pixel (px)

The smallest single part of a digital image. A short form of “picture element”.


A newer image file format that supports transparent backgrounds. It is popular for displaying digital images.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

A measure of image resolution. The number of individual pixels in one inch of an image.


An introduction to a book, written by the author. It appears after the table of contents, and before the prologue or introduction.

Preliminary pages (prelims)


The period between the publication date and on-sale date. Bookstores and libraries can receive copies but must hold them until the on-sale date is reached.

Premium color

A high color quality printing method. It's ideal for children's book, recipe books, and graphic novels. More vivid color results over standard color printing for a greater cost per printed page.

Print on demand

A method of publishing in which books are printed only when orders are placed.


A section of a story set before the main action. It appears before the first chapter.


A copy of a book or book cover produced so it can be checked by the publisher or author.

Publication date

The date a book is first available to bookstores and libraries. It can be before or on the on-sale date.


The most common eBook format. Also called "standard format". You can resize the font or change the viewing orientation and the text will re-organize itself.


The detail an image holds. Also, the number of pixels contained within an image.


An unsold book that is returned to the publisher.


A color model used for electronic images. Abbreviation for red, green and blue.


A percentage or fixed proportion of a book’s sale price that is paid to the author.

Keep reading: Royalties & payments

Standard color

An economical method of full color printing. It's ideal for books that combine text and images.

Title page

A page in a book that shows the title, subtitle (if any), author's name, and publisher's name and logo. It appears after the half-title page.

Trim size

The size of a book's pages after the paper has been trimmed.


A family of related fonts. For example, Times New Roman or Verdana.

Keep reading: Themes & styles


Arranging the interior of a book so it is ready to print.


A word or last line of a paragraph that appears by itself at the top of a page.

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