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The Book Proofing Process: What You Should Really Be Checking

September 14, 2020 (Last Updated October 26, 2020)

Marcy G.

When you place an order with 48 Hour Books, you must approve a PDF proof of your inside pages and cover before your books are printed. We will send a list of proofreading instructions that contains a checklist of what you should look for in your PDF proof. Here, we will outline what these instructions mean and why they are important to the book proofing process.


Before we get started…

It’s important to note that when you place an order, you will be assigned a customer service representative. They will take care of any questions you may have about timing, pricing, shipping, or updates on the status of your order. You will also be assigned a prepress technician. Your prepress technician will be the person preparing your proof. Throughout the process, you should keep a consistent eye on your email in case your prepress technician emails you with any concerns or issues with your files.


Layout and Spelling

Before you place an order and upload your files, your book should be completely edited and formatted to your liking. Your prepress technician does not check for spelling mistakes or other common editing mistakes. We understand that no matter how many times your book has been edited, spelling or grammar errors can still be caught. You would be surprised how often a spelling mistake can be overlooked on your front cover or book spine! Take this opportunity when checking your proof to do one final proofread. Looking for an editor? You can refer to our editing resources page.


If you have concerns about the formatting of your book, you can make a note in the “customer comments” section of your order form if you want your prepress technician to double-check something for you. For example, “Please make sure my chapters start on the right.” If you need extra help formatting, at 48 Hour Books, we offer reformatting services to make your book look like a bestseller.



One of the most common alerts prepress technicians send to customers is a “low-resolution” warning. This means that your images and photos may print pixelated or blurry. We recommend that images be at least 300dpi (dots per inch).  If you receive a low-resolution warning, your order will be on hold until you either send us a new image or approve the image as-is in your file. You can check how the image will look when it’s printed by zooming in at 200% in your PDF proof. Does your image look blurry? If it does, then your image will print blurry as well.


You will also want to check your book cover. There will be two pink lines on your cover proof to represent your spine. Don’t worry! These pink lines won’t print on your book. If you have any concerns at all about the color of your cover or inside pages printing exactly the way you want them to, then we recommend adding a printed proof to your order. You can’t always judge color on your computer screen, so seeing it in-person will give you peace of mind before your full run of books go to print.


Page Size

Lastly, make sure you check your page size. The size of your files is another common reason book orders get put on hold. If you place an order for a 5.5 x 8.5 book, then your files should be formatted to this size as well. If you need help setting up your page size, you can download one of our free book templates. When checking your PDF proof, your proofreading instructions will contain a list of measurements to use as a guide.


Are your files ready? Place an order today!


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