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I'm new to printing and self publishing, where do I start?

The first place to start is to decide on the details of a printing specification. This includes: quantity required, size of your book, number of pages, paper type and thickness for the internal page
s, paper type and thickness for the cover, finish required on the cover (for example matte or gloss celloglaze/laminate), delivery deadline, delivery location. Once these variables are decided, we can begin your proposal.

I don't understand what all of the printing specifications mean?

The FAQ and resources section of this website is updated on a regular basis so chances are you will find most of the information here, if there is anything you are not sure of we will be more than happy to assist you further.

If this is your first book project please consider the popular sizes previous clients have worked with below:

Book Size
A4 (297x210mmn), A5 (210x148mm) or 6x9 inch (152x229mm) ***Portrait or Landscape Orientation***

Book Cover
300-400gsm Coated Stock (with matte or gloss celloglazed finish on outside cover)

Internal Pages
Text Content: 80-100gsm Uncoated Paper Stock
Picture or Picture & Text Content: 115-170gsm Matte or Gloss Coated Paper Stock

What exactly is a Print Ready PDF file for book printing?

This is a PDF (Portable Document Format) file that is created by Adobe Acrobat software to comply with printing industry standards of design, layout, quality and technical specifications. It covers a wide and complex range of variables and technical requirements. Below is a list of the minimum requirements for the most common issues in creating a "Print Ready" PDF file, although there are many more not listed here. To ensure you are happy with the finished product and maintain our quality standards files must be supplied as print ready PDF file.

Image resolution

All images must be 300dpi (dots per inch also known as "ppi" pixels per inch)
A lot of the time images are below this resolution and cause the prints to be "blurry" or "pixelated" (the actual square pixels are perceived by the eye when viewing the print) e.g. if you have used images from the internet they are likely to be only 72dpi

Colour Space

All objects must be CMYK (cyan/magenta/yellow/black) colour mode.
These are the real colours interpreted and used by the printing machine. A lot of the time files are supplied in RGB (red/green/blue) this is the default colour space of Digital Cameras, Clip Art, Scanners, Website Graphics/Images.  RGB gives false indication of colours when your document is viewed on screen, usually the CMYK print result will be less saturated and less bright.

Size, Bleed & Crop (trim) Marks
All pages of the book (cover & internals) must be supplied to the size specified in the quote and must be in whole millimeters numbers (no decimal places).
All pages must be supplied with 5mm bleed and include crop marks and page slug (white page area extending beyond the crop marks). See explanation of bleed below in the FAQ's.

These are the bear minimum margins for a print ready file however we recommend larger margins for a better looking book, see templates below in FAQs.
COVER MARGINS: All critical objects must be within 5mm of the trim edges and within 10mm from the spine edges.
SPINE TEXT: Spine text must be within 2mm of the spines folded edge, spine widths smaller than 5mm cannot have any text as it will be too small.
INNER PAGE MARGINS: All critical objects must be within 10mm of trim edges and 15mm from the gutter, gutter margins must be mirrored and larger than the foredge (trim) margin to compensate for page shortening of the spine area.

All fonts must be "embedded" in the PDF file.  This means that when your PDF file is created you must instruct the program that you created it in to copy all of the fonts used in your document from your computer and embed them into the PDF file so that they can be accessed and replicated by the software at the print production stage.  If this is not done the font may be automatically "replaced" by a default font which more than likely won't be the font you had chosen. If your fonts are black they must be set to "overprint"

Blacks & Greys
If your book is to be printed in black or shades of grey e.g. black and white photos, borders, tables etc. These must be supplied as black "K" artwork only.  Sometimes text, images & graphics are supplied as full colour (usually in RGB (red/green/blue) or "Rich Black" even though they appear black/greyscale on screen.  Because the printing machine is setup to print in black ink only, problems can occur during the conversion from RGB to K (black) only artwork. e.g. white backgrounds of cropped images may turn a light grey colour, shadow areas may go darker or greys may appear warm or cool looking in colour instead of neutral.

What if my artwork is not (Print Ready) setup correctly?

To maintain our quality standards, low print prices, efficient production, and most importantly; customer satisfaction we always meticulously check your artwork with our Pre-Flight software before it is sent off to print. On occasions where your PDF file has technical errors which will cause a poor and unacceptable print result (e.g. low image resolution, no bleeds, spot/RGB colours etc.) we will fix these errors (charged at a fixed rate) and send you a revised proof for approval. 

I have typed my manuscript in Microsoft Word, is this OK for printing?

No, the file must be converted to a "Print Ready PDF file" for printing purposes, which we can do for you at a set hourly rate. Some common issues caused by MS Word include: colour & greyscale conversion, font embedding, justification, leading & kerning, page size, page margins, page numbering, page bleed, gutter size.  The preferred program for typesetting your book is the industry standard Adobe InDesign which easily creates "Print Ready PDF files".

Can I just save my Word document as a PDF file?

(Yes...if you only have text, however more work is required to make it Print Ready) otherwise No.
If you save your file as a PDF from Microsoft Word, the resolution of your images will be reduced (down-sampled) to MS Word's default resolution of 150dpi. The minimum resolution of images for acceptable print reproduction is 300dpi.  Also Microsoft word will only save images and text in RGB colour mode, not the required CMYK or K (Black only) for printing. There are two options to fix these issues.

a) Create a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat software


b) Send us your word document and we can convert it for you.
This will require you to make some changes to your Word OPTIONS.
See steps below (based on MS Word 2010) to follow before sending your file.

Step 1 - Go to: File /



Step 2 – Go to the Save Tab and tick on “Embed fonts in the file”
Make sure that the other two boxes below
“Embed only the characters used…”
“Do not embed…” are Not ticked


Step 3 – Go to the Advanced Tab and tick on “Do not compress images in the file”
and make sure “Set default target output to:"
is set at 220ppi

Step 3 – Re-save your document with these new settings.


What is "Bleed"?

If you have any images or colour objects in your book (front cover or internal pages) that go right to the edge of the page they need to be setup with at least 3mm BLEED. This means that your image or object must extend past the edge of the page by 5mm so that It can then be trimmed off at the Guillotining stage to give a neat, clean edge. e.g. Your book is A4 size (297x210mm) so the objects or images must extend to a size of 307x220mm.


How do I create a PDF from InDesign?

Step 1
- Go to: File /
Adobe PDF Presets / [Press quality]...

Then type a name for your file and click save


Step 2 - In General settings make sure you select "pages" not "spreads" as per image below.

adobe dialogue


Step 3 – Ensure your Compression settings look the same as the image below



Step 3 – Ensure your Marks and Bleeds settings look the same as the image below


Step 3Ensure your Output settings look the same as the image below.
Then click Export
to create your PDF file.








Do you have templates I can use?

While we can't cover all of the book sizes and design styles, we have created a basic design template and layout guide in the examples below.

Outside Cover Template


Internal Pages Template


Hard cover verses soft cover price?

Because of the larger setup up costs and specialised machinery; hard cover books can be markedly more expensive than soft cover books (especially for quantities below 250) So if you are on a budget go for the soft cover option.

How do I get a barcode/ISBN for my book?

A company called Thorpe-Bowker https://www.myidentifiers.com.au/ can provide you with one.

What is the best typeface and font size to use?

Firstly have a look through other books you have on your shelf at home. The best font for "readability" is a "serif" style font e.g. Times Roman. Typical font sizes for books range from 9pt to 12pt, but ultimately it is up to personal preference and the intended use of the book.

What's the best binding style for books?

Now with a mix of traditional & modern production techniques there are quite a few options when it comes to binding your book, For hard cover books we recommend section sewn binding and for soft cover books we recommend PUR binding. Some factors taken into account when deciding include: book content, page count, run length, book longevity, cost, logistics, production technique, intended use, read-ability, and personal preference.

Common binding styles for larger books, & higher run lengths.

Notch Binding
• Lock Binding
• Burst Binding
• Section Sewn Limp Bound

Common binding styles for smaller books & lower run length

• Online Perfect Binding
• Offline
Perfect Binding
P.U.R. Binding

What size should I print my book?

Printing your book in the standard sizes of A4 (297x210mm) or A5 (210x148mm) will ensure easy shipping, marketing, readability, and minimize potential technical or artwork issues as well as guarantee the most economical print price. However if you have a special size specific to your project we are more than happy to quote on custom sizes.

Can you print 6x9inch or 152x229mm?

Yes, This is a common paperback book size. However it is not the most economical because when the size becomes bigger than A5 (210x148mm) it is printed on a larger printing press and priced as a A4 sized sheet.

How can you guarantee the book will be high quality?

Paradigm works closely with hand picked collection of speciality book printing suppliers both locally and offshore.  We employ a rigorous and tightly controlled multi-stage approval process and have a 100% success rate with all of our books. Our attention to detail and personal service always ensures a great result. 

Proofing my job before printing

Depending on your job, you will either receive a:

Your supplied artwork has been checked over, no pre-press issues have been found and it is all OK for printing. This is a final check before printing.

Your supplied artwork has been checked over, technical issues have been found
and fixed and your artwork has been modified,
 this is a final check before printing.

Your supplied artwork has been pre-press checked and printed out on a press colour matched, proofing printer. It is for you to check colour, resolution and trim size before it is printed.

*PDF proofs must be viewed using Adobe Acrobat with overprint turned on for correct approvaL. Approval from Digital devices and other PDF viewers will not be accepted if there are approval issues.

Do you offer editorial & proof reading services?

Here at Paradigm, we a specialists in the "book printing" component of publishing and only provide technical file setup and editing limited to producing a print ready PDF file.  We have industry partners that we are happy to refer you to for editing, proof reading and professional type-setting.

How do I get my digital files to you?

The best method is to use a Managed File Transfer (MFT) provider. Your files are sent over the internet through a web page portal. We have one on our website here:

You can also use these MFT service providers.

How long will it take? (printed in Australia)

This is dependent on a number of factors which include: Processes and equipment at the printing factory, quantity printed, initial "print readiness" of supplied artwork, clarity of communication for revisions, number of revisions, multiple proofs required, etc. In our experience the most time-consuming aspect of a book printing project involves getting the artwork to a "Print Ready" stage and signing off on final proofs. This includes: multiple typographical revisions, last minute changes/editions, multiple sets of proofs, back and forth communication. etc  Below is our 6 stage workflow and approximate turnaround times (not including delays)

1. Quote preparation: 15-30min

2. Proposal: 1-3 days

3. Artwork check and ordering: 1-3 days

4. PDF proof or Hard-copy proof: 2-5 days

5. Printing & Binding: 7-21 days

6. Shipping: 2-5 day


How long will it take? (printed offshore)

This is dependent on a number of factors which include: Processes and equipment at the printing factory, quantity printed, initial "print readiness" of supplied artwork, clarity of communication for revisions, number of revisions, multiple proofs required, etc. In our experience the most time-consuming aspect of a book printing project involves getting the artwork to a "Print Ready" stage and signing off on final proofs. This could include: multiple typographical revisions, last minute changes/editions, multiple sets of proofs, back and forth communication. etc.  Below is our 8 stage workflow and approximate turnaround times (not including delays)

1. Quote preparation: 15-30min

2. Proposal: 2-4 days

3. Artwork check and ordering: 1-3 days (40% deposit)

4. Hard-copy proof for approval: 2-5 days

5. Printing: A week or two

6. Printed (folded and gathered) samples for approval : 1-2 days 

7. Binding and dispatch of 1 x finished book: A week or so (next 40% payment)

8. Shipping to your door: 6-9 weeks (final 20% payment)



Whenever we need materials printed "yesterday" (which is usually the case with us) we can always rely on Paradigm to deliver without sacrificing on quality. These guys are the best!

Gabby Gregory
Marketing, Topology Music