We offer a File Creation Guide that features our file specifications for both interior and cover files. Not all printers are the same, and we recommend even the most experienced publishers review our File Creation Guide.
Below are common file issues and recommendations for how to correct them.
Ink Coverage Exceeds 240% CMYK
High ink coverage can potentially lead to printing problems such as streaking, spotting, and cracking. These issues may not manifest themselves on every printing of the book and may occur in future printings. The overall combined percentage of CMYK values of artwork for our presses should be less than 240%. For example, the 'rich black' we recommend would be 60% Cyan 40% Magenta 40% Yellow 100% Black (60+40+40+100=240%).
PDF Document size is incorrect
The PDF document size refers to the entire document, including crop marks, measurement notes, and white space of our cover template. The PDF document size is noted in the white area of our cover template.
Cover not Built to Correct Specifications
If the cover artwork is submitted at the wrong trim size or if it does not correspond to your title’s metadata (trim size, bind type, interior type, page count), you will need to submit a new file. If you are having difficulty formatting your cover to meet our specifications, we recommend using our Cover Template Generator.
Crop Marks on Interior PDF File
Crop marks, printer marks, and registration marks are unnecessary for our printing process, and they could appear when the book is printed. We ask that files are submitted without crop marks, printer marks, or registration marks.
Corrupt Interior/Cover File
Typically, a corrupt file occurs when there is a bad font or image, but it can also be caused by a special character (such as an ampersand “&”) in the file name. The errors will need to be fixed to ensure your book prints as intended.
Issues with using Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is a word processing software commonly used for creating basic documents such as letters, term papers, tests, and quizzes. Because Word is a word processing software, there can be many issues when using the program for book layout. For example, it can be difficult to control graphics, text flow, and positioning of your book's content may skew when you save the word document as a different file type (such as PDF). Another common issue with Word is that it converts colors to RGB, and Lightning Source requires that files are submitted in CMYK.
In addition to color, text, and layout issues, Word’s default page size is 8.5 x 11 (standard letter size). Many publishers mistakenly create their interior pages at this default size, even when the intended trim size is smaller. Doing so will result in a proof and printed product with cut-off text on the top or on all sides.
Lightning Source accepts PDF files made from Word, but no technical support for Word is offered as it is not designed for book layout. If you are using Word and need further information, we recommend consulting a graphic designer or Microsoft Support.
Bleed in Text Files
In our digital printing process, pages are placed in a specific order to maximize the printable surface of the paper. All pages are laid out at their final trim size and any bleed or images outside the final trim size is automatically cropped and removed when the page is printed on the paper. As a result, we cannot guarantee bleed on any book. Image can be run out to the edge of the page, but white margins or "leaks" may be visible based on the 1/16' tolerances in our manufacturing processes.
Barcode is not formatted Correctly
Barcodes are mandatory on all titles, and barcodes that will not scan will cause delays in the printing process. Barcodes should be black only (0 Cyan / 0 Magenta / 0 Yellow / 100 Black) and placed over a white box or background. Barcodes should also be large enough to scan (we recommend 1.75” x 1”) and should be a vector graphic or high quality rasterized.
Overprint Fill is a setting in most graphic design programs used to tell a printer when one graphic design element should print “over” another graphic element. Some graphic design programs, such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, set 100% Black to overprint by default. It’s assumed that 100% black will be used for black text and in most instances, should overprint.
Overprint Fill can become a problem, when 100% black is used for design elements set over other elements or when light-colored text/graphics, that sit over a darker color, are inadvertently set to overprint. Graphic elements inadvertently set to overprint fill may appear correct in the digital file or eproof, but will appear different when printed.
We recommend reviewing PDF files before uploading, and even better to view Output Preview/Overprint simulation if it's available in your version of Acrobat.
Use of Complex Images
Complex images can sometimes cause delays in the printing process and should be flattened/rasterized.
Interior/Cover File Does Not Meet Digital Certification as Required by Digitally Certified Publishers
Digitally certified publishers have agreed to adhere to a list of pre-qualified file specifications. The adherence to the digital certification specifications allows for files to auto-process without technical issues or Premedia review.