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Deliver print ready PDF's

What's That Mean?

It means we can use the PDF file as submitted - no further manipulation needed - to successfully create the printed piece as envisioned by you, our customer.

This is the principle of "blind exchange" for which the PDF format was created - it means high reliability that what you see in your file before you submit it is how it will look once printed.

This lends itself to the fastest processing at the lowest cost with the highest reliability that the outcome is faithful to what's in your PDF.

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As quality-minded printers, it is the goal of LSC Communications to faithfully reproduce the content of the files provided by our customers in adherence with generally accepted industry standards for quality book production.

What's required for a PDF to be "print ready?"

Just like most printers, we most commonly ask to receive "print ready" PDFs from our customers. The following sets out what we consider to be the requirements for files to qualify as truly "print ready." PDF files certified to conform to these requirements require the minimum in additional processing and are considered highly reliable. For the fastest and most reliable reproduction, please conform to these standards. Failure to meet these standards could mean rejection of files and the need to make them compliant before resubmission.

  • PDFx-1a 2001 compliant, PDF format 1.3
  • All fonts embedded or converted to outlines
  • Color defined in files match desired printing inks and are only in process color space, chosen from the Pantone color matching system (for spot colors), or in grayscale color space - never indexed, ICC-based or customer created spot colors.
  • Color names and definitions are consistent throughout the file(s).
  • Trim boxes in PDF are set to the correct trim size for the book (or match the component template provided) and bleed boxes are set larger than the trim box by 1/8 inch.
  • The file(s) contain all pages intended to be in the book - including blanks - with a single PDF file for all interior pages in correct sequence with uniform orientation and geometry throughout. The sequence of pages in the PDF should match how the manufactured book is expected to appear, which in some cases (e.g. Japanese manga) could be back to front, right to left reading.
  • Files have no password security or other restrictions to access.
  • PDFs were viewed with overprint preview enabled and confirmed to match customer's intent.
  • Text files are supplied separately from components like covers, casesides, jackets, inserts, etc.
  • One complete set of files - with all pages start to end - is provided for each ISBN when a title has multiple versions or volumes.
  • Files are named to include 13-digit ISBN (or other unique customer code) in the file name, followed by an underscore, and end with text from the following list to identify what part the file is used to produce. There should be no variation from this naming without prior approval, as this can disrupt workflow automation.
    • "text" ("text1," "text2" if more than one file)
    • "cover"
    • "jacket"
    • "backCover"
    • "caseside"
    • "frontCover"
    • "tab"
    • "onlay"
    • "bellyBand"
    • "jWrap"
    • "boxWrap"
    • "card"
    • "insertBound"
    • "insertLoose"
    • "frontEndsheet"
    • "backEndsheet"
    • "die"
Files submitted for a stamped casebound book with a jacket and printed endsheets should be named:
  • 1234567890123_text
  • 1234567890123_frontEndsheet
  • 1234567890123_jacket
  • 1234567890123_backEndsheet
  • 1234567890123_die

What else do you recommend for best possible results?

Book printing and binding is a mechanical process that involves some amount of variation. We can print your books from files that do not comply with the following points, if you provide us a formal waiver that you know your files do not comply with our guidance. We view these as choices on your part about how you want your title to print. But complying with these will ensure the best attainable quality:

  • Bleed elements - type, objects, art - extend beyond trim by 1/8 inch, while items in the live page area not intended to trim off should clear the page edge by 1/4 inch. Marks and type slugs outside the trim area should also be outside the 1/8 inch bleed area.
  • Art work made of solid lines should be 600 dpi resolution minimum, while artwork to be screened (halftones) should be 200 dpi resolution minimum.
  • For elements that cross a spread, it may be necessary to pull them out of the gutter slightly to ensure a good crossover. Remember to consider the gutter margin may need to be longer depending on binding style and book bulk. Check with your CSR for guidance.
  • Constant page elements - like folios - should backup exactly from odd-numbered pages to even-numbered pages.
  • Thin rules (1/2 point and less) and fine type (less than 8 pt.) should not be in multiple colors or reverse out of color screens.
  • A rich black (comprised of 100K, 60C, 50M, 50Y) for large type or objects will help keep elements behind from showing through.
  • Light colors should have no less than 4% of any ink color in their build or they will vary throughout the book.
  • For neutral or pastel colors, it is best to use some black in place of CMY gray to ensure color doesn't vary throughout the book.
  • The total value of all ink color percentages in any element should not exceed 300% (for four-color printing).
  • Whenever possible, we encourage our customers to submit test files while they're still in the design process. We're happy to provide detailed guidance about what will reproduce well and what might be problematic.

Standard "Print Ready" PDF workflow via Scout

  • Our Scout portal is used for submission of new title files AND for replacement of pages as needed for reprint corrections. Print code updates are automated using the Scout Automated Print Code to insert customer supplied data, or else through an automated output date/time stamp. Customers are responsible for upload and placement of any correction pages.
  • No hard copy proofing is supported nor preparation/delivery of a separate PDF soft proof. Proof review and approval only takes place online.
  • Customer agrees all files submitted - either new titles or replacement correction pages - will be checked for conformance to the standards given on page 1 of this document, meeting the definition of "print ready" PDFs. Use of certification software is encouraged but not required.
  • If files do not meet provided standards and the customer is unwilling or unable to alter them to conform, an advance waiver may be provided if the customer wishes to print from the files "as is." We reserve the right to reject files that do not conform to standards and present risk of rework, or to charge additional for processing non-conforming files.
  • Files are checked via software for
    • PDFx-1a 2001 compliant, PDF format 1.3 (or greater)
    • All fonts embedded or converted to outlines
    • Colors defined in files match desired printing inks (e.g. 2 colors in file for 2-color printing) and are only in process, Pantone or grayscale color space, never indexed or ICC-based.
    • Trim boxes in text PDF are set to the correct trim size for the book (or for the com-ponent template provided) and bleed boxes are set larger than the trim box by 1/8 inch.
    • The file(s) contain all pages intended to be in the book—including intentional blanks—and they fall in correct reading sequence with uniform orientation and geometry throughout.
    • Files have no password security or other restrictions to access.
    • One complete set of files - with all pages start to end - is provided for each ISBN when a title has multiple versions or volumes
  • No alterations will be made after submission of files except as needed for manufacturing needs (such as image crop for glue adhesion).
  • As the following can be seen and controlled by the file creator, checks will not be performed for:
    • Color name and definition consistency throughout the file(s).
    • Correct appearance of overprints
    • Correct correspondence between file name and component type
    • Presence of intentional blanks
    • Sufficient bleed - up to 1/8 inch - and bleed clear of non-print elements
    • Sufficient image resolution
    • Spread alignment or image loss at the gutter
    • Page back up or consistency of margins/copy placement within trim
    • Non-bleed elements clear safety margin, do not risk trimming off
    • Conformance of thin rules or fine type to reproduce well
    • Color builds for consistency or sufficiency
    • Total ink value not in excess for stock
    • Consistent reproduction of elements with transparency effects applied

Non-Standard Workflows

Customers may choose to waive - in writing - any quality concerns or points of failure brought to their attention by us. The customer is, after all, responsible for how they want the printed book to look. However, the print ready PDF standards provided will ensure the fastest, most reliable, most trouble free preparation of titles for print. We reserve the right to assess additional charges for additional operations - such as color mapping, page scaling, etc. - needed to make files conform to standards and to be ready for print. This may include recommending the services of LSC Communications' Premedia for alterations not typically handled in book preparation.

File Retention Policy

  • Files provided to LSC Communications are taken to be copies of originals only. As such, the customer is expected to retain originals of all content files and to be the only authoritative source for content in the future.
  • Files may be retained by LSC Communications as a convenience to customers and to ourselves in the rapid production of reprints. They are secured by LSC Communications, using technology and/or media owned by and deemed appropriate by LSC, with access restricted to select internal personnel.
  • Retention of files for convenience in producing reprints does not convey to LSC Communications any liability for future availability or provision back to the customer or to the customer's vendors. Copies of content files that have been retained by LSC may be made available back to the customer or to the customer's vendors at a nominal fee.
  • Due to changes in storage technology and migration of data systems, LSC Communications will endeavor to retain content files for trade titles up to 3 years  of inactivity and for all other markets up to 7 years. Files processed through our Scout workflow will have high availability access for these time periods. After that time, files in Scout may be moved to low availability storage for a fee or LSC Communications may remove such files from our storage at our discretion.
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