The Nobel Prize seal reads "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes", which loosely translated means, "And they who bettered life on earth by new found mastery."
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for a description of the various departments within book publishing.
abbreviation for artwork.
an agreement with an author to publish
supplementary material additional to the
main body of a book and printed separately, at the beginning or end
of the text.
- Advance Reading Copy (ARC, also review copy)
advance copies of a book that the publisher sends, free of charge and
generally before the book goes into distribution, to the press and other
media, potential buyers, and reviewers in order to promote the book.
ARCs are usually printed and have a high quality printed cover. These
are usually limited to a few titles each season, the rest of the new
titles will receive bound galleys.
money paid by a publisher to an author or
illustrator before the book is published, in anticipation of sales.
the person or company
that looks after the interests of clients and manages the exploitation
of rights in an author's/illustrator's work. This includes submission
of a book to publishers, perhaps in the form of an auction,
negotiating a contract, collecting money due, and dealing with other
rights not held by the publisher, such as (in many cases) broadcasting
and film rights.
- ALCS: Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society
The agency for negotiating and redistributing dues payable from licensed
photocopying, etc. to authors.
- Answer codes
three-character codes (e.g., OSI, NYP, RUC) that indicate status of
ISBN in question.
illustrations and photographs to clarify or
complement text in a book.
a process whereby a project is submitted,
usually by an agent, to a select
number of publishers in order to secure the best offer or highest price.
Auctions sometimes run to several 'rounds' and may end with the exercise
- Back matter
located in the back of the book, the pages that follow the text, may contain author or artist bios, an ad card, glossary, or index.
- Back matter
printed material found in the back of the book, after the main section of the book. This includes the appendix, the bibliography, the index, and other related matter.
books from previous seasons that are still in print.
a circle or bubble enclosing copy in an illustration. Used in cartoons.
- Bar code
the ISBN number transferred into a worldwide compatible
optical character recognition (OCR) form, the scannable image that identifies
the title, author, and publisher of the book.
- Bargain books
The general term for all remainder, hurt, promotional books, etc.
- Base artwork
artwork requiring additional components such as halftones or line drawings to be added before the reproduction stage.
- Bid list
list of titles that a publisher wants to remainder, which is submitted to potential bidders for their offers.
- Block in
to sketch in the main areas of an image prior to the design.
- Block quote
a long quotation (four or more lines) within text body that is set apart in order to clearly distinguish the author's words from the words that the author is quoting.
- Board books
short, thick, simple books for infants and toddlers.
- Book block
the sewn or perfect bound pages of a book
before the cover is attached.
- Book club
a mail order operation through which selected books are sold directly
to the public at a price significantly below the suggested
retail price in return for a commitment to buy a particular number
of books over a period.
- Book fairs
exhibitions and conventions used by publishers as locations for meetings and business dealings. Many such fairs take place domestically and internationally, of widely differing purpose and focus.
- Book jacket (also dust jacket)
the paper cover of a hardcover book; frequently film laminated for durability in handling. Originally intended to keep it clean, it's now used as a way of catching the eye of the consumer/reader.
- BLAD (Book Layout And Design)
a term used to describe a type of advance sales material, most commonly
consisting of a selection of pages of text and illustration wrapped
inside a proof of the book jacket. These
are used mostly for heavily illustrated or designed books, such as cookbooks
and art books.
- Book manufacturing
assembling a book, printing, binding and packing.
- Book plus
A book packaged with an additional item, such as a plush toy.
- Book proposal
materials sent to a publisher to propose a book including a description of the book or books, sample chapters, and an outline.
- Book signing
an event where the author reads, talks or discusses his/her book, providing an opportunity for potential buyers to meet the author and to have a copy of the book personally signed, usually held at bookstores or book fairs.
- Book tokens
gift vouchers with monetary values redeemable at bookshops.
- Booksellers discount
the percentage reduction from the publisher's recommended
retail price at which a book is sold to a bookseller.
- Bound galleys
serve the same purpose as ARCs but are not printed
at such high quality.
pages of the book per inch without the cover or case.
an explanatory label for an illustration, often drawn with a leader line pointing to a part of the illustration.
- Camera-ready artwork
artwork or pasted material that is ready for reproduction.
- Camera-ready copy
final publication material that is ready to be made into a negative for a printing plate. May be a computer file or actual print and images on a board.
- Case bound
a hardcover book made with stiff boards. Cases are usually covered with
cloth, vinyl or leather or preprinted covers (as with picture
- Case quantities/full case quantities
a full box of the same title, unopened.
sales and marketing genre into which the title falls (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, finance, mystery, religion, romance, science fiction, young adult, etc.)
companies that own many individual bookstores. The two biggest in bookselling
are Barnes & Noble and Borders/Walden. Buying for and promotions in
these stores is done centrally. They contrast with the independents.
- Chapter books
books for children who are beyond early readers but may not be ready for longer novels. They may be illustrated, but tell a story primarily through words.
an item in a book's front matter that gives information about how it was produced, from the typeface to the kind of paint an artist used. Also, the publisher logo.
the publisher hires an author for a specific project and usually pays a fee instead of royalties.
- Concept book
a picture book that explores a concept (e.g., counting, alphabet, etc.) instead of, or perhaps in addition to, telling a story.
books sold on consignment are not invoiced to the bookseller but paid for as they are sold to the consumer.
the agreement drawn up, at the point of acquisition, between the publisher
and the author to confirm payment terms, royalties,
respective responsibilities, etc.
- Co-op money
money a bookseller earns based on previous years' sales and spending (on advertising or in-store merchandising)to promote a publisher's books. Account is then credited for their co-op expenditures.
- Copy editing
the work that a book's copy editor or production editor does to a manuscript after the editor has submitted it; generally focuses on clarity, grammar, tense, transitions, parallelism, redundancy, conciseness, sentence structure, mechanics, and the like.
generally refers to text (whether in manuscript form or typeset galleys or pages), although sometimes refers to all source materials (text and graphics) used in a publication.
gives protection to authors or originators of text, photographs, illustrations etc., to prevent use without permission or acknowledgment. The publication should carry the copyright mark ©, the name of the originator and the year of publication.
- Corner marks
marks printed on a sheet to indicate the trim.
presentation pack, comprising a small number of copies of a book, used
for point of purchase (POP) merchandising and intended
to stand by the bookstore register to encourage purchase.
- Cover art
the artwork used on the cover of a book.
- Crop marks
lines or markings on a camera-ready manuscript indicating where the pages will be trimmed after printing.
- Cut flush
a method of trimming a paperback book after the cover has been attached to the pages.
explanatory text, usually full sentences, that provides information about illustrations.
- Direct mail
form of advertising books by sending information (usually as a brochure or flyer) directly to possible book buyers.
a company that, for a fee, represents publishers by handling the warehousing and shipping of books to bookstores and libraries. They sometimes request an exclusive relationship with publishers and serve as the source for wholesalers.
- Drop ship
books that are shipped from the bindery to the customer to allow for quicker delivery.
complete layout of a book before text and art are finalized.
project laid out in book form, with text and sketches of all the illustrations and may include sample finished pieces.
- Early Readers
books written for children learning to read.
- Earn out
to sell enough copies to earn the advance against royalties.
the whole printing of a title. See first edition.
- Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS)
The bookstore till system used for sales data and stock control. These are actual sales at the cash register as opposed to sales from a publisher to a bookseller.
paper pasted to the inside of the front and back covers of a casebound book. Sometimes called end sheets, end leaves, or linings. Endpapers can print with the interior of the book or come from separate stock.
the correction of errors in a book, normally inserted as a slip of paper (an erratum slip) into the finished book.
the number of pages in a book.
- Fair use
a limited exception to copyright law, allowing others to draw on or use excerpts from a copyrighted work without formal permission.
- Firm sale
books supplied on this basis may not be returned unsold by the bookseller.
- First edition
first printing of a book; occasionally gains substantial secondhand value if the book or its author becomes especially collectable.
- First pass
an early version of the manuscript that has been designed and is reviewed both in-house and also by the author for editorial and grammatical changes. Subsequent passes are also required and are sequentially numbered.
- First serial rights
a subsidiary right involving the sale of extracts from a book to a periodical (e.g. newspaper, magazine, etc.)
- Flap copy
book synopsis, commentary, author biography, review quotes, or other information designed to help sell the book. This information is printed on the front and back flaps of the book jacket.
- Flat fee
a payment made as the only compensation, which does not earn royalties.
- Floor or counter display
presentation stand, containing from 8 to 34 copies of a book, used for
point of purchase merchandising
a guaranteed minimum offer accepted by a participant in an auction
by an agent or (for subsidiary
rights) publisher. A floor is accepted in advance of an auction in return
for topping rights: the floorholder has
the right to top the winning auction bid by a predetermined amount,
usually 5 or 10%.
- For Position Only
(FPO), low resolution scans of art placed in a layout to show art positioning only.
the various forms of a book (e.g., hardcover, paperback, mass market, e-book, large print, audio, etc.).
- Four color process
printing in full color using four color separation digital images: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.
- Frankfurt Book Fair
the most important international book fair of the year, especially for the buying and selling of rights, held in Frankfurt, Germany at the beginning of October.
work done for a publisher to their specifications, usually paid for with a fee and often involving signing over copyright to the publisher.
- Front list
the books a publisher is releasing in the current year.
- Front matter
located in the front of a book, the pages before the text begins; at minimum contains a title page and copyright page but may also contain a half title, dedication, contents page, foreword, preface, etc.
- Fulfillment house
a company that handles the entire ordering process for books, such as storing, packing, mailing, maintaining records, and other business related operations for the author or publisher.
- Galley proof
the typeset composition of uncorrected pages before formatted into a
book, allowing the reader to detect errors. Galley proofs can be inexpensively
bound and sent to reviewers before publication as bound
the operation of inserting the printed pages, sections or signatures of a book in the correct order for binding.
- Ghost writer
a writer or co writer who is not credited on the work.
- High resolution art
the final digital files or film from which the artwork in a book is printed.
- House style
the style of preferred spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and indentation used to ensure consistent typesetting.
- Hurt book
a book that is returned to the publisher and is collected for bulk sale, usually in pallets of mixed titles, at or below cost.
the editorial groups within the publishing house which sometimes focus
on a particular category or genre (e.g., Amistad
Press, our imprint for works by and about people of African descent,
Perennial, our imprint for fiction and non-fiction paperbacks, HarperTempest,
our imprint for teens, etc.).
- Independent publisher
a small press publishing house, not part of a conglomerate of companies and often owned and operated by the same party.
the bookstores not owned by large chains, usually freestanding or having only a few branches.
a black and white or four color printed piece that is either 8 or 16 pages of photos, printed on different paper stock, inserted in between signatures of the book.
- Instant book
a book rushed into print that deals with a timely topic or subject.
- ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
gives the book a unique ID, akin to a Social Security number, for orders
and distribution. The first part of the number identifies the language
of publication ("0" for English), and the second part is the publisher's
number. All bar codes include an ISBN.
- Joint accouting
a contract provision that allows the publisher to charge unearned advances on a book against another title.
- Large print
editions of existing titles redesigned for reading by those with impaired vision.
the overall design or mockup of a page, including typeface, headlines, page number, and visuals showing how the page will look when printed; a guide for the printer.
a subsidiary right usually granted by the publisher for a fixed term or for a particular usage.
- Limited edition
a book published on the basis that a stated number of copies will be printed regardless of demand. Such titles are often individually numbered by hand and may achieve rarity value for collectors.
- Line art
black-and-white artwork with no gray areas. Pen-and-ink drawings are line art, and most graphic images produced with desktop publishing graphics programs can be treated as line art.
- Line editing
the work that a book's editor does to a manuscript before submitting it for copy editing; generally focuses on clarity, accuracy, conciseness, and the like.
- Lineup table
a table with an illuminated top used for preparing and checking alignment of page layouts and paste-ups.
- List position
a book's rank within the publisher's title list. A lead title will have a larger print run and bigger publicity budget than books lower on the list.
semi-annual (or more frequent) group of books produced by publishers, announced and placed in a catalog together.
A type- or handwritten version of a book, especially the author's own copy, prepared and submitted for publication.
- Mark up
copy prepared for a compositor, setting out in detail all the typesetting instructions.
the potential readership for a title and/or the territories of the world in which a title may be contractually sold.
- Mass-market paperback
inexpensive books of wide appeal, sold through general retail outlets, usually smaller than a hardcover book, designed to fit in a rack, and printed on cheaper paper.
a camera ready or digital layout specified for printing.
the management of stock in superstores and other non-specialist sales outlets in order to ensure the display of the fastest selling titles.
a title or author with solid but not top sales.
- Minimum orders
because the prices on bargain books are so low, publishers often set minimum orders, either dollar amount quantity minimums, per title quantity minimums, or some combination.
the rough visual of a publication or design.
- Model release
written permission for the use of one's likeness in print.
- Multiple submission
manuscript sent to two or more publishers for review simultaneously.
- Net or wholesale price
money the publisher actually receives from each book sale after discounts are given to book stores or buyers. Some publishers base the royalty paid to the author or illustrator on net price.
- New edition
a reprint of an existing title incorporating substantial textual alterations,
or republication of a title which has been out of print.
- Niche market
tailoring subject material to a specific area of demand or particular interest, such as topical and regional books.
- Niche publisher
a publisher who specializes in a subject of interest to a small group of people and sells its books nationally, but only in specialized outlets.
- Novelty book
book with features added to it beyond the binding and pages; for example, foldout page, die-cut holes, lift-the-flap, pop-ups, or sound chips.
abbreviation for "not yet published."
- On spec
work done without a contract, in the hope that one will be forthcoming, "on speculation."
- Option clause
item in a contract granting a publisher the right to consider an author's next work.
- Order processing
the handling of customer orders within the distribution center; involving the keying of customer and order details into the computer system to output shipping details and invoices.
- Original expression
what copyright law protects; an author's unique way of expressing an idea, telling a story, or creating a work of art.
- OSI (Out of stock indefinitely)
a title no longer in inventory but for which future reprint plans are
less certain than for a title declared OP.
- Out of print (OP)
a title the publisher has no longer intends to include in its catalogue or to keep in inventory.
a transparent sheet used in the preparation of multi-color artwork showing the color breakdown.
to print a larger quantity of books than ordered. If this does not occur, the additional books are charged to the publisher but only up to a set percent, sometimes depending on the quantity ordered.
- P&L (Profit and Loss Statement)
the balance sheet on a title, measuring costs including author advance, production, and publicity against sales and subsidiary earnings.
a broker who puts together a book idea with the elements (i.e., idea, writer, illustrator, etc.) needed to bring the concept to fruition.
- Page proofs
the stage following galley proofs, in which pages are made up and paginated.
- Paper, printing, and binding (PP&B)
the cost of producing a finished book.
- Perfect bound
a common method of binding paperback books, that uses plastic glue to bind the loose leaves to the book cover.
a fee paid by anyone who wants to reprint part of a book for various uses. Some of these uses are: appearing in an anthology; teachers reproducing all or part of a story for class use (often the publisher will allow teachers to use material for free); another writer using more than 50 words in a published article. The publisher handles permissions for the author, and splits the proceeds, usually 50/50.
- Picture books
books for younger children, which contain illustrations, and tell a story through words and pictures.
- Point of purchase (POP)
merchandising display material provided
by publishers to bookshops in order to promote particular titles.
a true photographic image of the original made on paper or film.
the designer's or printer's preparation of the manuscript for production. Also includes any work the printer has to do prior to printing the book.
- Press kit
well-planned folder of promotional materials sent to the media, such as press releases, flyers, letters, and reviews used for announcing and circulating information about a forthcoming book.
- Press release
An announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications.
the work a writer does before actually starting to write. This can be as simple as jotting down ideas, as methodical as creating an outline, or as complex as doing character studies.
- Print on demand (POD)
producing a specific quantity of books as ordered by the author or publisher. Most printers set minimum runs at 200 or 500.
- Print run
number of copies produced.
- Printer's errors
mistakes made during the printing process, such as ink blots or smudges on pages. Also corrections or changes made because of those errors. The publisher is generally compensated for printer's errors.
- Proof correction marks
a standard set of signs and symbols used in copy preparation and to indicate corrections on proofs. Marks are placed both in the text and in the margin.
- Pub date
the official date the book is in stores.
- Public domain
material that is not copyrighted, either because it never was or because the copyright has expired or lapsed; public domain material can be used without permission.
- Pull quote
a brief phrase (not necessarily an actual quotation) from the body text, enlarged and set off from the text with rules, a box, and/or a screen. It is from a part of the text set previously, and is set in the middle of a paragraph, to add emphasis and interest.
an arrangement made between a publisher and a bookseller whereby an agreed price is to be paid for any overstocks remaining in the publisher's hands after a given amount of time.
- Recommended retail price (also Suggested or Original)
the retail price the publisher recommends for a book; to which the bookseller's
discount is applied and on which the royalty
payment to the author is customarily calculated.
- Release date
the date books are shipped across the country from the warehouse.
a title sold in bulk at or below cost generally because of overstock caused by excess inventory and/or declining sales.
a previously published book that has been re-issued.
a means of altering artwork or color separations to correct faults or enhance the image.
unsold copies that bookstores or wholesalers return to the publisher.
to change text or art; can also indicate the stages at which corrections have been incorporated from earlier proofs and new proofs submitted (first revise, second revise, etc.).
money the publisher pays the author on the basis of books sold. It may
be a percentage of the list price, the price for which the
book presumably will be sold to a consumer, or of the net price,
what the publisher actually receives (often 40 percent to 50 percent
less than the list price).
abbreviation for "reprint under consideration."
- Sale or return
the arrangement whereby books supplied by publishers to booksellers may be returned for credit if subsequently unsold.
a person employed in an overseas territory to identify possible acquisitions of new titles.
- Sell sheet
Marketing tool/flyer used by the sales department, that includes information about the book and a photo of the book cover.
a printing press which prints single sheets of paper, instead of rolls.
- Short discount
in the new book world, a trade discount less than 20% off list price.
a cardboard box open at one end into which single copies of a book (or two or more related volumes) are inserted, used for decorative effect.
- Slush pile
unsolicited manuscripts that the publisher receives.
- Special sales
sales of a book to non-traditional outlets, such as gift stores, or for use as premiums.
- Standing elements
in page design, elements that repeat exactly from page to page, not only in terms of style, but also in terms of page position and content. The most commonly used standing elements are page headers or footers, with automatic page numbers.
- Style sheet
a collection of tags specifying page layout styles, paragraph settings and type specifications which can be set up by the user and saved for use in other documents.
manuscripts sent to a publisher by an author or agent. They may be exclusive
the process whereby a title is sold to booksellers in advance of publication and orders taken which are held as dues until shortly before the publication date.
- Tailband (also Headband and Footband)
a decorative strip of colored material glued to the edge of the spine
of a hardcover book block.
- Tear Sheet
tear outs from a magazine or newspaper that contains an ad or review for a book.
the use of the telephone to solicit or service orders both for trade customers and for private individuals.
the percentage discount from the recommended
retail price given to the bookseller.
- Title page
page at the beginning of the book that gives the title, subtitle, author's name, publisher, imprint and place of publication.
- Topping rights/priviledges
in an auction the opportunity given by an agent
to a particular participant to match or increase, by an agreed percentage,
the highest bid received from other participants.
- Trade paperback
soft bound editions of books that are usually 5 x 8ish trim size; cheaper than hardcovers to produce, but printed to similar standards.
- Trade publisher
publisher of books geared for sale to the general public.
- Translation rights
the right acquired to translate and publish a work into another language.
- Trim size
the horizontal and vertical dimensions of a book. A book with an 8 x 10 inch trim size is 8 inches across and 10 inches high.
- Under run
to receive fewer books than ordered, may occur because of spoilage during printing or printer's error.
- Unsolicited submission/manuscript
usually refers to a submission that is not represented by an agent.
- Vanity or Subsidy Press
a company the author pays to publish a book.
a printing press which prints from rolls, instead of single sheets.
- White Sales
books sold directly to booksellers at discounts big enough for a bookseller to resell as bargain books, offered on a title basis rather than in large quantity lots which usually go to remainder companies.
a company that handles the resale of books in large quantities and serves booksellers (distributors work on behalf of publishers).
World Intellectual Property Organization, a body concerned with international copyright.
- Young Adult (YA)
The upper end of the age range covered by children's publishers, usually starting at age 12.