FAQ

Frequently asked questions and help compendium

  1. Artwork and Formatting
    1. What types of files can I use?
    2. What color space should the files be in?
    3. How do I size the cover and spine?
    4. How do I size the interior?
    5. What is bleed, trim, and margin; how can I make art go to the edge?
    6. What is screentone; how can I use it?
  2. Ordering
    1. Will I receive a proof?
    2. Can I change files after receiving the proof?
    3. What types of payment do you accept?
    4. How long before I receive my books?
    5. What if the books I receive are no good?
    6. Will you ship outside of USA or Canada?
  3. Other
    1. Is the printing offset or digital?

1.a. What types of files can I use?

You can submit flattened PDF or PNG images ONLY. We do not accept any other type of file, and we do not accept ZIP files. If you are submitting a PDF, it can be a single page or a binder of pages.

1.b. What color space should the files be in?

Submit the files in either RGB or CMYK color space if you intend to print color, and Grayscale if you intend to print black and white. It is not necessary to change the color space from RGB to CMYK - our machines can more accurately calculate this change during printing.

1.c. How do I size the cover and spine?

The cover needs to be a single file that includes the front, back, and spine. It is also necessary for the cover to include bleed and margin so that the artwork will go to the edge, but without being cut off too much. We recommend a minimum bleed and margin of 0.15" (0.4cm). This means that you are adding an additional 0.15" around every edge of the joined cover. Also be sure to read about the interior pages and safe area, it's applicable to the cover as well.

Margin and spine calculator for Cover

Cover total width (margin + width + spine + width + margin): "
Cover total height (margin + height + margin): "
Spine width: "
Spine useable for art/text:

1.d. How do I size the interior?

The size of the interior pages should be the width and height of your final size plus 0.15" around all edges. This allows for bleed. Additionally, you should allow gutter space between the text/artwork and the side of the page that will be against the binding. We recommend at least 0.5" of extra space, but this does not increase the size of the page, it's simply safe area to keep your book easy to read.

We highly recommend keeping dark, dense colors out of the binding (ie. black backgrounds that go into the binding). It makes it much harder for our glue to stick to the pages. It's okay for there to be some, but if the color extends the entire length of the bind where the glue meets the page, you might see pages falling out of the book. We will not replace books that have this problem.

1.e. What is bleed, trim, and margin; how can I make art go to the edge?

It's important that you keep critical parts of the artwork at least 0.15" away from the edge where the book will be cut (the final size). This is called margin and you don't want any text in this area because it might be cut into a little. The place where the book will be cut to make it the final size is called the trim. The margin on the side of interior pages where the book will be bound is also called the gutter.

When artwork needs to go to the very edge of the page without any slivers of the unprinted paper showing, you need a bleed. The bleed area extends an additional 0.15" past the final book size, or trim. Both the cover and interior pages can have a bleed. If you submit artwork that is the same exact size of the trim, you will not get a bleed effect and it may have weird results.

1.f. What is screentone; how can I use it?

Screentone is the effect you see when either the machine converts grayscale to black and white patterns, or an artist uses only black and white to achieve a gradient effect. It's also the source of much heartache at times because if the artist supplies their own screentones in the artwork, there is a chance the machine will introduce moire patterns into the final product.


With the increase of lines per inch (LPI), the screentone takes on a moire pattern at 60 LPI and is severely affected at 120 LPI.

If you don't need to use screentones, then don't. But if you need to, then be sure to avoid screentones with a small dot pitch. For a printing resolution of 300 DPI (which is our recommend resolution), you start to approach the danger zone when your lines per inch (LPI) is higher than 10% of the DPI, 30 LPI in this case. If your dots are comprised of only a few or less pixels, you might run into trouble printing them.

Please reference your software's manual for details about how to use screentones in your artwork.

2.a. Will I receive a proof?

We will do in-house proofing to make sure there are no weird issues with your work, such as: bad trim or margin, bad colors or patterns, binding issues, etc. If you wish to receive a hard copy proof you must make a special request via email. Hardcopy proofs are $25 USD each.

2.b. Can I change files after receiving the proof?

Yes, you can change out files once at no charge. After that there will be a $1 per page charge for any substitutions. This charge may be waived under special circumstances.

2.c. What types of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit and debit cards through PayPal, Stripe, and the services provided by our invoicing provider. Additionally we accept Bitcoin by special arrangement.

2.d. How long before I receive my books?

After we have received your payment, your print job should take approximately three weeks. We treat every job as a priority job and will do our best to expedite it as much as possible, however all work is first come, first served. If you have a deadline for a convention or show please let us know by email and we'll do our best to meet it. Our delivery days are not guaranteed.

2.e. What if the books I receive are no good?

If you receive books of poor quality that is the fault of printing or shipping mishaps, please send us an email and we'll do our best to resolve the issue. Depending on the severity we will reprint your order.

2.f. Will you ship outside of USA or Canada?

We do not currently ship our products outside of the USA or Canada.

3.a. Is the printing offset or digital?

All printing is digital on a modern Xerox machine. We don't offer offset service at this time.

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