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Step 1

How to Publish a Book

You've probably already written your book, but it may not be formatted properly. We now have Free Templates for Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, Open Office, Pages or just about any other word processor. Download and use these to format your files properly.

Is your book the right page size?

Maybe you typed it into a word processor (like Microsoft Word) using the standard 'Letter size' paper, but you want your book to be printed on half-size paper. Don't worry. There's an easy way to change it, without re-typing the entire book. First, use a copy of your Word file, putting the original in a safe place. Then open the copy and select "File > Page Setup". On the "Margins" tab, make sure it says "Apply to: Whole Document". Choose the "Paper" tab and change the paper size to 5.5" x 8.5". Go back to the "Margins" tab and change all 4 margins. While we recommend .75 on all 4 sides, the minimum should be: .5 for Top, Left and Right, and .75 for Bottom, to leave space for your page numbers. Hit "OK" and Word will reformat your book. Now, you'll have to go through the entire book, page-by-page, to fix any awkward breaks that may have been created.


Are you using the right font for your book?

There are two basic styles of type: "serif" and "sans serif". "Serifs" are those tiny tails Most books use a serif font for the body copy, like Times, in 10 or 11 pt., and a bold sans serif font for headlines and chapter titles. If your audience is older, you may want to use a slightly larger font to make it easier for them to read. It's your book, so the final decision lies with you. You can use whatever font you'd like, but there are certain accepted standards, and you should think twice before deviating from the norm.


Once you've finished the WRITING of your book, you've got to put it into a reader-friendly format. The following is instructions for setting up the most standard size and format. If you've got a specific book layout already in mind, that's great. You can still look over these instructions and tailor them to fit your preferred format.

The most common size is 5.5" wide x 8.5" tall with margins of 0.75" on all 4 sides. And since most writers use Microsoft Word, we'll use that in our examples. For other programs, the steps should be very similar.

Proper margins for a book

A Make a BACKUP of your book file, and only work on the backup copy. If you completely screw things up, you can always throw the backup away and go back to your original.

B Open your book file, go to File > Page Setup ... and hit the "Paper" tab. Change the paper size to "letter half" if it's available, or just manually change Width to 5.5" and Height to 8.5". A little lower on the same "Paper" tab, make sure this is applied to "Whole Document".

Now select "Margins" tab and change margins (top, bottom, left and right) to 0.75". Make "Gutter"=0, "Gutter position"=Left, "Orientation" = Portrait, "Pages" = normal, and "Apply to" = whole document. See the sample below.

Click "OK", and see if it completely screwed up your book file. Don't panic yet. It may LOOK messed up, but it can be fixed. You probably have spacing issues, because you set up your pages to look good at 8.5 x 11, but they're going to be printed at 5.5 x 8.5. You may need to reduce font sizes of some of your headlines, delete some forced spaces or tabs that you used trying to center certain lines, things like that.

serif fonts for a book

C Select an agreeable font combination. This is up to the individual author, but most people find a very basic serif type (like Times New Roman) to be easiest on the eyes for body copy, and a sans serif font (like Arial) for headlines. What is a serif, you ask? Serifs are the tiny tails on letters, circled in red below:

As a general rule, you'll want to split your headlines and body copy. Use a serif font for one and a sans serif font for the other. Since sans serif fonts are generally bolder, they work better in headlines. And since serif fonts are easier to read in large paragraphs, they work better in body copy. The ideal paragraph line spacing should be set to "Multiple" at 1.25. This gives a little more space between the lines of type. But again, it's your book ... if you want to be different, go right ahead!

D Add "Page Breaks". Whether your book is a chapter book, a book of poetry, or a cook book, it's simply a collection of "entries". An entry may be a chapter, a poem, or a recipe. But regardless of what type of book it is, you'll want to put page breaks before each new entry. This will force a new entry to start on a new page. If it's a traditional chapter book, you'll probably want to insert an "Odd Page Section Break," so the next chapter starts on a right-hand (odd) page. Simply click in front of each entry, then select Insert > Break ... > and either select Page Break or Odd Page and hit OK.

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Step 2


You've probably spent many months, even years, writing your book. We HIGHLY recommend that you spend an extra hour or two looking it over one last time before you send it to us. Our prices are very reasonable, but they do NOT cover corrections to your files. If you only have a few corrections, it's usually cheapest for US to make the changes on our system (we charge a very reasonable $75 per hour, so your changes may only cost a few dollars.) But if you have a lot of changes, you'll probably want to make the changes yourself and send us a new file. You can send revised files for a $50 fee. If we need to re-format or re-convert your files to PDF, there will be additional charges for that, so you really want to get it right the first time.

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Step 3


Alright, you've finished writing, editing, formatting and editing some more. You're ready to convert your Word document into a PDF for printing. Here's how:

If you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat (not just the free "Reader" version), you should have a menu item within Word titled "Adobe PDF". Choose "Adobe PDF > Change Conversion Settings" and choose "High Quality Print" from the drop-down menu. This will automatically do the two most important things when creating your PDF: include your graphics at high resolution and include the fonts.

If you need a conversion program, download doPDF here and select 'Run' when prompted. This installs a virtual printer named 'doPDF' on your computer. With it, you'll be able to 'File > Print ...' to create a PDF from any Windows application. (If you've got a Mac, PDF conversion is built right into your system.)

To create a PDF file, simply open your file, select 'File > Print ...' and choose 'doPDF' as your printer. *** The first time you use doPDF, hit the 'Preferences' button and change 'Graphic Resolution' to 600 dpi (near the bottom right of the window.) Hit 'OK' and your Preferences are all set. *** Hit 'Print', make sure 'Embed fonts' is turned ON, and it will create a PDF.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind, we print directly from the files you send us, so if there's a mistake in your file, that same mistake will be in every one of your books. So check your files, then check them again, then have somebody else check them ... you get the idea.

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Step 4


A) From our homepage, use our simple cost calculator to determine what your costs will be. To place an order, simply hit the "PLACE AN ORDER" button to the left of the cost calculator.

B) Enter information about YOURSELF. Under "Shipping Information", you can either: (a) pick up the order in Akron, Ohio, or (b) ship it to your account address, or (c) ship it to a different address. Then hit the "Next >" button.

C) Enter information about YOUR BOOK. 'Pages' asks for PAGES, not SHEETS. The front and back of a SHEET count as two PAGES. If you've got 60 sheets 2-sided, that's 120 pages, so make sure you enter '120.' 'Number of Color Pages' is only for color INSIDE pages. Your covers will be printed in color for free!

You will see question boxes next to some fields. If you have questions about an item, hover your mouse over the question box and more detailed information will appear. Some fields have drop-down boxes: just click on the arrow at the right of the box, and a list of choices will appear. When you're finished, click the "Next >" button.

D) Enter payment information. We accept PAYPAL and the 4 major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • If you select "PAYPAL", you'll log in to your Paypal account, and initiate the payment there.
  • If you select "Credit Card", you'll enter the card number, expiration date, etc.
  • You can choose the pay the $100 deposit or the full amount when the order is placed.
  • If you need to make other payment arrangements, select "Other" and then contact us. Keep in mind that because these are all custom-printed books, we must get payment in full BEFORE we can start printing your books.

When you're finished, click "Next >".

E) Enter your method of shipping. We generally ship UPS Ground, but have faster choices available, too. When you're finished, click "Next >".

F) Review the information that you entered. If everything is correct, check the "I agree ..." box and click "Submit Order" and your order is placed. After submitting your order, please don't hit your browser's 'Back' button, or your card could be charged twice.

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Step 5


As soon as your order is submitted, you'll be taken to your order page. Click the "Add Files" button on the right, near the top of the page. Then simply browse your computer hard drive, find the files that you want to send us, give each one a short description (like "inside pages" or "front cover", etc.), and hit "Upload". Depending on the size of your file, it may take some time to upload, so be patient. If you've got extremely large files, or if you're using a very slow "dial-up" connection, you may want to put your files on a CD or thumb drive and ship them to us (Next Day Air if you're in a hurry, regular mail or UPS Ground if you're not in a hurry.)

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Step 6


We will immediately start working on your files. When we're done, we'll upload PDF Proofs of both the cover and the inside pages. Then we'll send you an email with a link to your proof files. Select the link and you'll be taken to your Order page. You will see a "Files" section. The files marked with a Yellow box are your PDF proofs. Click on each file, select "Save", and remember where you saved them. When you are done saving them, hide the browser window, open each of the PDF proof files, and look through them VERY CAREFULLY. Again, if there is a mistake on the files, and you don't catch it, that mistake will be on all of your books. It is YOUR responsibility to proofread these PDF proof files carefully. Sometimes the author can be the worst person to proofread his/her own words. You might want to get a second set of eyes to look it over before you give your OK.

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Step 7


After you've looked through the entire book and cover, you've got to determine if the proof is OK or not. Go back to your Order page on our website, select the "sign-off" link near the top, and either "Accept" or "Reject" the proof. If you accept the proof, go to step 8. If you reject it and 48HrBooks made the mistake(s), let us know in an email what we need to correct. As long as it's our mistake, we'll fix it for free. If you reject it and YOU made the mistake(s), go back to Step 2, where you'll edit your book to correct the errors, convert to PDF again, and send us revised PDF files.

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Step 8


If you asked for a Printed Proof, we'll print and bind a single book, and send it UPS Next Day Air. You'll receive it the next day by 10:30 am (business days only, no Saturday or Sunday delivery). If you did NOT ask for a printed proof, skip to Step 11, where we will immediately start printing your full run of books.

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Step 9


We try to ship all Printed Proofs the same day that you OK your PDF Proof. If it's after noon EST, or you have special elements to your book, it may take an extra day.

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Step 10


After you've looked through your printed book, you've got to determine if the proof is OK or not. Go back to your Order page on our website, select the "sign-off" link near the top, and either "Accept" or "Reject" the proof. If you accept the proof, go to step 11, where we print and bind your full order. If you reject it and 48HrBooks made the mistake(s), let us know in an email what we need to correct. As long as it's our mistake, we'll fix it for free. If you reject it and YOU made the mistake(s), go back to Step 2, where you'll edit your book to correct the errors, and send us revised PDF files.

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Step 11


Here is where the "48HrBooks" clock starts ticking. Keep in mind, we don't count Saturdays, Sundays or Holidays, and each day's cut-off is 5:00 pm EST for Standard Production, 3pm EST for Rush, and noon EST for SuperRush. Any approvals after these cut-off times will be counted as the following day.

Example: If you OK your proof Monday at 4:45 pm EST, your books will ship Wednesday. But if you wait 20 minutes longer and don't OK your proof until 5:05 pm EST on Monday, the approval will be counted as Tuesday, so your books won't ship until Thursday.

Perfect Bound books production schedule:

Proof OK'ed before
cut-off on...
Standard (cut-off is 5pm EST),
Books Ship...
Rush (cut-off is 3pm EST),
Books Ship...
SuperRush (cut-off is noon EST),
Books Ship...
Monday Wednesday Tuesday Monday *
Tuesday Thursday Wednesday Tuesday *
Wednesday Friday Thursday Wednesday *
Thursday Monday Friday Thursday *
Friday Tuesday Monday Friday *
Saturday, Sunday Wednesday Tuesday Monday *

* = Please CALL US for SuperRush. They are only available on a limited basis, and artwork must be OK'ed by noon EST.

Hard cover and Coil Binding take a little longer. They have a 5-day PRODUCTION TIME. And you'll still need to add SHIPPING TIME to that. For example, if you OK your hard cover or coil bound books on Monday, we'll ship your books on the following Monday. See the map below for your shipping time. Expedited shipping (Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air) is also available.

Hard cover and Coil Bound books production schedule:

Proof OK'ed before
cut-off on...
Standard (cut-off is 5pm EST),
Books Ship...
Rush (cut-off is 3pm EST),
Books Ship...
SuperRush (cut-off is noon EST),
Books Ship...
Monday Monday Friday Thursday
Tuesday Tuesday Monday Friday
Wednesday Wednesday Tuesday Monday
Thursday Thursday Wednesday Tuesday
Friday Friday Thursday Wednesday
Saturday, Sunday Monday Friday Thursday

It's very important to keep these things in mind. Using the table above and the map below, you should be able to calculate exactly what day you'll receive your books. If you're not sure, just call us. We can help. And if you need to expedite either the printing and binding of your book, or use urgent delivery (Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air, etc.), call us or email us IMMEDIATELY and request a change. We'll let you know if it can be done. Also, don't forget that Spiral Coil binding and Hard cover (Case Bound books) takes 1 week to produce. Shipping Time

Our standard shipping method is UPS Ground from Akron, Ohio.
This map shows travel times from Akron, Ohio to anywhere in the U.S.A.

For example: 2 days to New York, 3 days to Florida, 4 days to California. (Please call for international shipments.)