Pre-Media/Pre-Press Instructions & Forms

Text Files

Format the document to a trim size equal to the final trim size of the book. BTPS recommends setting a ½ inch (12.7mm) minimum margin for the top, bottom, left, and right sides of your book. Do not, for instance, set up a 6 x 9 book on an 8½ x 11 electronic page size or place two 5½ x 8½ pages on one side of an 8½ x 11 sheet. Include all blank pages (pages where printed folios do not occur in the document).

Do not use spot color black in  documents unless familiar with how it reproduces in a CMYK workflow. When sending files, copy only the version of what is to be printed.

Do not include previous versions of the document or any files that do not pertain to the title BTPS is producing.

IMPORTANT! Text files should be submitted as one continuous single page PDF file, set up to the final trim size of the project, with bleeds where applicable.

Cover Files

Covers must be constructed as one page that includes front, spine, back, and flap copy (if applicable). Submitting these elements as separate pages or files will result in additional charges. The spine bulk, wrap, etc. is determined by the page count, trim size, and binding style of the project. To receive a cover/dust jacket application file layout, click here for the BTPS Cover Template Questionnaire, which will supply a supported application file setup to the exact dimensions for the specific cover/dust jacket. BTPS will provide any trapping essential on multicolor.

BTPS offers cover layout PDF forms for the most common bind styles. These are editable PDF files that will automatically calculate the dimensions of the book cover. By entering  specific page trim size, page count, and stock PPI information, the form will automatically complete with the exact layout dimensions. Once completed, the PDF form can be printed or saved offline.

BTPS recommends a copy of the completed form be supplied with the file submission.

Die Stamp (download layout sample)

Flat Case (download layout sample)

Jacket (download layout sample)

Perfect (download layout sample)

Round Case (download layout sample)

Saddle-Stitch (download layout sample)

Click the respective links for the BTPS Cover Design Questionnaire and Cover Template Questionnaire.


BTPS strongly recommends that all barcodes print in solid black ink with a white background. Any other color schemes may result in scanning failures. Click here for additional BTPS Barcode Best Practices.


Text Files

A photograph, line illustration, tab, or rule is said to bleed when it prints off the edge of a trimmed page. To make sure it trims properly, BTPS requires an extra 1/8 inch (3mm) of art to create an effective bleed. Do not accommodate for bleed pages by changing the page size.

Cover Files

As with text, any art or background color that prints off the edge of a trimmed cover is a bleed. Again, an extra 1/8 inch (3mm) of the element is required to ensure a proper bleed.

Producing PDF Files

BTPS supports PDF files created to the PDF/X-1a ISO standard. Creating a PDF file to this standard is currently supported by the majority of page layout applications and built into their inherent export feature. Using the information provided below will ensure the resulting PDF file will be in the correct format. If the X-1a standard is not appropriate for the project, a BTPS representative can address any concerns. For more information on the PDF/X ISO standard, visit Adobe’s website.

What is PDF/X-1a?

PDF/X-1a is the ISO 15930-4:2003, which specifies the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) version 1.4 for the dissemination of complete digital data in a single exchange that contains all elements ready for final print reproduction. CMYK and spot-color data are supported in any combination.

PDF/X-1a requires all fonts to be embedded, the appropriate marks and bleeds to be specified, and color to appear as CMYK, spot colors, or both. Compliant files must contain information describing the printing condition for which they are prepared. PDF files created with PDF/X-1a compliance can be opened in Acrobat and Reader 4.0 and later.

PDF/X-1a uses PDF 1.3, down-samples color and grayscale images to 300 ppi and monochrome images to 1200 PPI, embeds subsets of all fonts, creates untagged PDFs, and flattens transparency using the High Resolution setting.

Page Layout Applications PDF/X Support

For information on creating a PDF file from the layout application, select from the items below:

Adobe InDesign has a built-in preset for exporting PDF/X-1a files from the file menu. Click here for more information on exporting PDF files from InDesign.

Adobe Acrobat Distiller has a built-in preset for producing PDF/X1a from the Default Settings menu. Click here for more information on Acrobat Distiller.

QuarkXPress has a built-in preset for exporting PDF/X-1a files from the file menu. Click here for more information on exporting PDF files from QuarkXPress.

Learn More

Page and Cover Layout: Pre-Press Basics

Cover Design Questionnaire

Cover Template Questionnaire

Contact the BTPS Print and Production Sales Reps with any questions or concerns.