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How to review your
48 Hour Books proofs

Below, we've outlined the major items you'll need to check when reviewing your proofs from 48 Hour Books. We want you to be happy with your books, so please take the time to look over your proofs thoroughly before approving.

We CANNOT reprint orders if mistakes in the finished books were also in the proofs.

Icon Approve

Rule #1: Never sign off on a proof if it’s not correct.

Rule #2: Never assume.

Opening your PDF proofs

You will receive separate proof files for the inside pages of your book and for the cover. The proofs should be viewed in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader (download for free here). Be sure you have overprint preview turned on or set to "always" to get a more accurate representation of how your files will print.

Pay special attention to make sure everything is exactly the way you want it. Please do not edit the proof files. Let us know if you’re not sure how to make changes or if something doesn’t look right.

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Step 1: Check photos and artwork

Zoom in to see fine detail and to make sure the layout and fonts are correct. If you’re not sure if your photos are high resolution, we recommend viewing them at 200%. If your photos look rough at 200% on your screen, they’ll probably be rough when they’re printed. If our filter notifies us that your files are low resolution, we'll send you a warning as a courtesy.

Keep in mind that images and colors will always look different on your screen than they do when they are printed out. We strongly recommend ordering a printed proof to review before you receive your full order of books, so you know you'll be happy with how everything looks when it's printed. We like to think of the printed proof as "book insurance."

Read more about the imperfections of a PDF proof here.


Step 2: Check your page size

Make sure the page size is correct.

If your book size is:

4.25" x 7"
5.5" x 8.5"
6" x 9"
8.5" x 11"

Your inside proof will be:

8.5" x 7"
11" x 8.5"
12" x 9"
17" x 11"

For any special sizes or for landscape orientation, simply double the width of the page.

For reference, fiction books are usually 4.25” x 7”, 5.5” x 8.5”, or 6” x 9”. Non-fiction books are usually 6” x 9”, 7” x 10”, or 8.5” x 11”. Children’s books are typically 7” or 8" square or 7” x 10”, and memoirs are often 5.5” x 8.5”. Custom sizes are especially suited for photo books and cookbooks.


Step 3: Check your layout and spelling

Your proofs will be laid out as if you are flipping through the pages of the book. Make sure they're all in the right order, and that you don't have any unwanted blank pages or spaces. Your cover proof will show the entire cover spread (back, spine, and front), with the back cover on the left and the front cover on the right.

If artwork bleeds off the edges of your cover or inside pages, the proofs will show an estimate of how everything will look after final trim, with the bleed cropped off.

Proofreading should be done before you send us your files, but take this last opportunity to check for any spelling mistakes -- especially on your front cover or on the spine of your book. You’d be surprised how often those get caught at the last minute!

If you've asked us to make changes or do any layout or design, double check our work, too. We don't often make mistakes, but since we're humans, it can happen. Make sure we haven't made any typos or misinterpreted your instructions.

We sometimes make the following adjustments to file(s):

  • reduce or enlarge your file to fit the book size you selected,
  • add or remove blank pages where we think it is helpful,
  • adjust your margins,
  • add or change your page numbering or
  • move elements on your cover art slightly.

Step 4: Check your email and order notes

Sometimes we send questions or notes about your order. We don’t proofread your book, but we do try to let you know if we see something that doesn’t look right. Make sure you check for these notes before you approve your proofs, so we still have time to make changes if needed.

Check your order note inbox here.

Step 5: Ask questions!

Call us, email us, or contact us via live chat before approving if you have questions or changes. Here are some common questions you may want to ask to ensure you're getting the best possible final product:

Don’t trust a PDF proof for color matching. There are big differences between a computer monitor and a printed piece. Monitors do a pretty good job of estimating what the color will look like, but it’s only an estimate. If you’ve got colors that you want to match, either send us a printed sample and we’ll try to match it, or get a Printed Proof of your book and make sure the color is right. Read more here.

Unlike other companies, we won't try to upsell you on options you don't need - but we can offer advice on how to make your final product stand out! For dark covers, we highly recommend upgrading to Hi-Gloss or Silk Laminate. Our Laminate gives you a professional high-gloss look AND has the added benefit of protecting your cover from light wear such as scratches or ink chipping. If you're not sure about any of your paper or cover choices, contact your customer service representative for advice - we're happy to help!

Our binders are pretty accurate, but there are a lot of moving parts. Covers can shift by about 1/32” during the binding process, causing the front or back cover artwork to wrap slightly onto the spine—or vice versa. The shift likely won’t be noticeable to your readers, but if you’re worried, we recommend adjusting your design. Some people choose to make the color of the spine purposely wrap onto the front and back cover by 1/4” or more.

  • A solid line indicates where your book cover will fold around the spine. These guidelines will NOT print; they are simply to show you where your text and artwork will be printed to ensure the design is as you intended.
  • If your book is hardcover: A thin dotted line indicates where the crease is on your cover.
  • If you have a dust jacket: A thick dotted line indicates where your dust jacket flaps will fold.

Check out our frequently asked questions page for more!

Author Thinking

Step 6: Signoff (approve or reject)

When you are finished proofreading, log in to your 48 Hour Books account and either “Approve” or “Reject” your proofs. Even though the cover and inside pages are separate files, you’ll only approve your order if BOTH proofs look correct.

Please remember, once you sign off, your books go into print immediately. You won’t be able to make any more changes.

  • If you APPROVE and you requested a printed proof, we will print and ship your printed proof copy only. Changes can be made before you approve your printed proof if necessary. You'll approve or reject your printed proof copy after you receive it.

  • If you APPROVE and you did not request a printed proof, we will print and ship your full order if you are paid in full.

  • If you REJECT the proofs, all corrections must be submitted in writing and sent in a single email or order note. Multiple emails will delay your order, and may incur additional costs. If they are our mistakes, we will correct them for free. If they are your mistakes, we may be able to make minor corrections and save you the $50 cost of sending revised files. If we can’t, we’ll tell you what we need.
Author Thinking

Step 7: Check for balance due

After you approve your proofs, if you have a balance due, you'll be prompted to add a payment. We'll never charge your card without your permission, so be sure to complete this step. We won't begin printing without payment in full.

If you have questions about your balance due, you can review a pricing breakdown on your order details page or contact us anytime.

Payment via check or e-check may delay your order, as we'll have to wait until we receive it - and in some cases, until it clears - before we can begin printing.


Step 8: Confirm timing

Once you approve your final proofs, you'll see your ship date listed on your order details page.

At 48 Hour Books, we pride ourselves on never missing a deadline. Our standard turnaround time for perfect bound books is just 48 hours, but if you're not picking your books up from our location in Twinsburg, Ohio, you'll also need to factor in shipping time. Saturdays and Sundays are not included in the timing, and some options (such as case binding, coil binding, Diamond 3D cover coatings, foil stamping, and printed proofs) add production time to your order, too.

We want you to have your books in hand when you need them. If you have an event planned or a hard "need-by" date, please let us know! Your customer service representative will go over the production and shipping time involved and confirm your delivery date. If you need the books sooner, we can typically still upgrade either the production time or shipping service in order to ensure you meet your deadline - as long as you let us know right when you approve (or, preferably, when you first place your order!).

Review our production schedule and shipping schedule.

Not sure? We're here to help!

If you have questions about your proofs, don't hesitate to contact us - that's why we're here! Once you tell us to start printing, it's too late to make changes - so ask first!

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