The Language of Publishing
by Linda Carlson
In September and October, we began a series on the language of publishing—or, as Joel Friedlander of thebookdesigner.com calls it, the mumbo-jumbo you need to understand when speaking to designers, book manufacturers, wholesalers, and POD specialists.
The glossary we’re developing is designed to help you do business in the book world whether you’re an old-timer who needs to adjust to digital developments and deal with authors and customers who don’t understand publishing terms, or a newcomer who’s fearful of the consequences of confusing FOB with prepaid freight or cover price with publisher’s net.
We’ve included some of the terms Friedlander defines in his post on “The Language of the Book” and Pete Masterson covers in his Book Design and Production as well as terms that industry specialists tell us are frequently misunderstood and jargon that members find confusing.
This third installment of the glossary will be followed in February by the fourth, covering J, K, and L. Then we’ll continue, usually every other month, through Z. If we miss (or misconstrue) a term, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like us to add a term or terms, let us know that too. When the glossary is complete, it will be available as a single publication.
For an advanced degree in everything from acquisitions editor to zines, you’ll find more resources at the end of each installment of the series. P.S. The terms printed in red in a definition are defined (or will be) elsewhere in the glossary.
Galleys, galley proofs: Originally, a galley was the long narrow tray in which metal type stood after being set, either by hand or with a hot-lead typesetter such as a Linotype. Galley proofs were the long sheets of paper with impressions made from the type in the trays. Today galley proofs might consist of unpaginated text, but more commonly they’re page proofs (see also ARCs). Initial page proofs, used for proofreading, may have no images or have only blocks reserved for images.
Gamut: A complete subset of colors. When certain colors cannot be displayed within a particular color model, those colors are said to be out of gamut. For example, the pure red in the RGB color model gamut is out of gamut in the CMYK model and an approximation must be created.
Ganging: When related jobs using the same paper and ink are grouped together on a printing plate and thus on the press. For example, a book manufacturer might gang covers with postcards that use cover art to be printed together and cut apart after printing. Before electronic prepress, color photographs were sometimes ganged for separation to reduce costs. This had the disadvantage of reducing quality, because colors and contrast could not be adjusted for individual photos.
Gatefold: Technically, a wide sheet with foldouts on either side of the center spread. The term is also used for an extra-wide page that has one foldout. Covers sometimes have a gatefold (commonly on magazines that sell the inside cover for advertising). A gatefold may also be used to accommodate an extra-wide image such as a map, chart, or photograph. A gatefold text page must be tipped in—that is, added during offline binding. Gatefolds are not available with digital printing.
Gathering: Collating printed pages in consecutive order. In book production, pages are often folded and gathered on a press. When the press can produce only a small number of pages at one time, signatures or groups of signatures are gathered offline as a final step.
Generation: Each successive version of an image, and sometimes of type. With traditional offset printing, the comprehensive is the original, the negative the second generation, and the plate the third. This means the printed copy is at least the fourth generation. With a photograph made from film, the original print would have been reproduced even more times before it appeared in a book. The facsimile of a book text, usually made by scanning printed pages as images, is at least the fifth generation. With direct-to-plate printing, the number of generations is reduced, the opportunity for error is reduced, and the quality of the type and images should be better.
Genre publishing: Also category publishing. Genres include self-help, mystery, romance, history, and many more.
Ghosting: Unwanted images on the printed piece that should be corrected after a press check.
Ghostwriter: Someone who writes a work purportedly written by someone else. A ghost may create a manuscript in part or in whole, often on a work-for-hire basis. Ghostwriters are sometimes acknowledged with language such as “as told to” or “with” or by having their names included in lists of contributors or in acknowledgments sections. Some ghosts also write under their own names.
GIF, Graphics Interchange Format: A bitmap image format introduced by CompuServe that can be used on Web sites but lacks the quality necessary for printing.
Gigabyte: A unit of electronic storage; equal to 1,024 megabytes.
Glossary: A dictionary of terms relevant to a book’s content, found in the end matter.
Gloss ink: Ink with an extra quantity of varnish, which produces a glossy appearance when dry.
Gloss, glossy, glossie print: Gloss is a finish available on paper and with coatings such as varnishes (contrast with matte or flat). Glossy prints are photographs made on shiny paper. Photographs printed for reproduction are usually glossies.
Grain: The way fibers align in paper stock. Grain long means a paper’s grain runs parallel to the longer measurement of a sheet of the paper—that is, the fibers align with the length of the sheet. Grain short is the opposite—the paper’s grain runs at right angles to the longer dimension of the paper sheet. Paper will curl, fold, and tear more easily in the direction of its grain. To check grain, bend a sheet without creating a fold, or spray water on one side; the paper will curl with the grain. When publications are printed cross-grain to save money (because more signatures can sometimes then fit on a plate), the bound materials are often called “mouse traps” because they give the publication a tendency to close.
Graininess: Print quality characterized by unevenness, particularly of halftones.
Graphics: Visual material, as opposed to text, including photographs, drawings, paintings, and charts. Also see images.
Gravure: Intaglio printing, now seen primarily in photographic books and frontispieces. Distinguished by dense solids and (in halftones) an almost invisible screen. The roll-fed process by which large-circulation photo magazines and newspapers’ Sunday magazines were often produced is called rotogravure.
Grayscale: Halftones are grayscale images, usually photos with as many as 256 shades of gray. Color images are often converted to grayscale for reproduction in books, especially paperbacks.
Greeked text: Meaningless blocks of characters that are used to mock up layouts during the design process. When pages in a desktop publishing program are reduced significantly in size so that the type becomes too small to be legible, it’s said to be greeked.
Grid: An x-y layout of lines for typographic pasteups, to enable accurate alignment of images and columns of type. With phototypesetting for offset production, pale blue grids were printed on cover stock cut slightly larger than each page or spread. Galleys were waxed on their reverse sides and positioned using the gridlines.
Gripper, gripper margin: On a sheet-fed press, grippers clamp the paper and control its movement. The gripper margin is the narrow space where the paper is clamped and no ink can be laid. For a book cover or page to have a bleed image, the sheet must be trimmed inside the gripper margin. This wastes paper and is one reason bleeds typically increase the cost of a printing job.
Groundwood pulp: The material from which newsprint and similar papers are made, which lacks permanence because it turns brittle quickly. It is often used not only in newspapers but also in mass market paperbacks and such inexpensive children’s publications as coloring books.
Guide marks: The crossline marks on an offset press plate that indicate trim, centering of the sheet, centering of the plate, and so on; also called register marks.
Guillotine: The device that trims stacks of paper to the desired size.
Gutter: Inside margins on a page come together to create the gutter. Except on the center spread of a signature, the gutter can have no printing.
Hairline: A thin printed stroke, or in the case of a hairline rule, a thin printed line.
Hairline register: The term used in offset printing when two or more colors are aligned to within a hairline—that is, within the space of less than half a row of halftone dots.
Half title: The page facing the title page with the book title on it. A traditional part of front matter.
Halftone: An image such as a black-and-white photograph that is converted for printing in one color with a line screen that breaks the photograph’s continuous spectrum of blacks, whites, and grays into black dots and white dots. A higher concentration of black dots results in a darker shade. Images that are screened and then printed in two colors are duotones.
Hanging indention: A typesetting format in which the first line is set flush to the left margin and the following lines are indented. Often seen in dictionaries.
Hardcover: Hardcover (or “hardbound”) books are made when the cover is glued to a cloth-covered book board. Typically the title, author, and publisher names are stamped on the spine. Dust jackets are common for hardcover trade books. A classic hardcover book is called “casebound,” and the book block is trimmed before the cover is bound to it.
Hard return: In word processing or desktop publishing, the equivalent of a carriage return, a manual keystroke that ends the current line and starts a new paragraph. Hard returns should not be used within paragraphs of book text. Creating them in HTML requires a tag.
Head: Top of the page, or the title or headline of a written work.
Header: Running heads, or headers, are the lines of type that run above the text, usually in proximity to page numbers. In books, the running head on left-hand pages may supply the title of the book and the running head on right-hand pages may supply the title of the chapter or the name of the author. Other arrangements are normal too, and some designers put this sort of information at the bottoms of pages, creating a “running foot” or “footer” for each.
Heat-set inks: Used in high-speed web offset printing, these set rapidly under heat and are quickly chilled.
Hickey: Spots or other imperfections on the printed page due to dirt or debris on the offset press.
High bulk: Book paper manufactured with a thickness greater than other papers of the same basis weight. Frequently used to give thickness to a book with a minimal number of pages.
High resolution: An image is “high res” when it is reproduced with quality high enough to show a significant amount of detail or with a high level of gray scaling. High-resolution images take up more electronic space, so it takes more time to send them via email or load them on a Web site. That’s why Web sites use JPGs, which are typically lower resolution than TIFs. Converting a JPG to a TIF can be done, but it will not improve its resolution. In printing, the higher the dpi or line screen used to create an image, the higher the resolution it can have. Partly because of the amount of memory high-resolution images require, book manuscripts with images are often transferred from publisher to printer via FTP.
Hi-lo books: Written for those who read at a level lower than expected for their age, these books use simple language and sentence construction to provide information for middle graders to adults.
House stock: Book papers that a book manufacturer inventories in large quantities, which are therefore less expensive than paper the book manufacturer must order just for a specific job.
Hot type, hot metal: Type created from melted lead for use by equipment such as the Linotype machine, now largely replaced by phototypesetting equipment, although hot type may still be used with letterpress printing.
HTML: HyperText Markup Language, used for coding, or tagging, text for Web sites. HTML is not a computer language. Right-clicking with a mouse (on a PC) and selecting “view page source” makes HTML code visible.
Hurts: Damaged or shopworn books, also called scuffs and seconds. These may be books damaged in shipping, or damaged copies returned from a retailer, wholesaler, or exhibit. Typically, they cannot be sold to a wholesaler, so publishers often sell them direct at a reduced price.
Images: Drawings, photographs, or other graphics. For print production, these are best prepared as TIFs. If a job is submitted in an electronic format other than PDF, the images must be submitted separately, and they must be electronically linked to the job’s desktop publishing files for publication. Printers say that missing links are among the most common problems with electronic files. Software like InDesign allows links to be checked prior to submission of a job.
Imitation parchment: Paper made with irregular distribution of fibers.
Imagesetter: A high-resolution laser device that outputs to photosensitive paper or film.
Imposition: The process of arranging images of individual pages so that they will be in the proper order after they are printed, folded, and trimmed. Imposition is an important step when books are printed in signatures, as in offset lithography or with digital web presses. In digital imaging, the imagesetter capable of outputting a film flat with 4, 8, or more pages in imposed position is called an imposetter.
Imprint: As a noun, the name given to a publisher’s line of books that has its own distinct characteristics. A publisher may choose to use imprint names to distinguish its mass market romances from its Christian fiction, or its trade fiction from its hardcover business titles, for example. As a verb, the process of printing other information on a previously printed piece by running it through a press again, as, for instance, by adding a promotional message to postcards purchased from the U.S. Postal Service with preprinted postage.
InDesign: A commonly used Adobe Inc. desktop publishing program.
Indicia: Postal permit number and type, placed where a stamp would be. Ordinarily used for bulk mail, or direct mail. See “Permit Imprints,” pe.usps.com/text/qsg300/Q604d.htm.
Indie, independent bookseller: A single retail bookstore, or a bookstore with a few nearby branches. The Portland, OR–based Powell’s is considered an indie, although it has several outlets; Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million, by contrast, are chains. Indie is sometimes also used to describe other independent businesses, including publishing companies.
Index: An alphabetical list of topics in a book, with page references. Almost always used for nonfiction, an index is part of the end matter and important in marketing nonfiction to libraries.
Index.html: The home page of a Web site often has an extension using “index,” e.g., https://articles.ibpa-online.org/index.aspx.
Ink dot scum: The problem that can result when oxidation occurs on aluminum printing plates, creating scattered pits that print sharp, dense dots.
Inkjet printing: The plateless system used in digital printing that produces images on paper from digital data. The images result from streams of very fine drops of dyes controlled by digital signals.
Inline: Describes a production process or equipment that completes most or all manufacturing of a book or other printed piece.
Inline binding: Available only for paperbacks, inline binding involves a print engine that feeds a book block directly to a binding unit, a three-knife trimmer, and then a packing and boxing station. See Binding.
Insert: A printed piece prepared for insertion in a publication or other printed material.
Inside covers: The reverse side of the front cover is called simply the inside front cover, and the reverse of the back cover is called the inside back cover. On mass market titles, inside covers are often printed in black ink. Inside cover printing is not always available with digital presses. See 4-0-0-4.
InstaBook Maker: This is one of the POD manufacturing devices that can be used in a point-of-purchase application. See instabook.net.
Institutional sales: Sales to libraries and educational institutions, sometimes through trade channels, and sometimes direct from the publisher or through specialized outlets or distributors.
Interleaves: Paper inserted between sheets as they come off the printing press to prevent transfer of wet ink from one page to another. Also called slip sheets.
ISBN: International Standard Book Number, the identifier for a particular title, printed on the copyright page (verso) and on the back of the book. Wholesalers and distributors require that books have ISBNs. So do almost all libraries and bookstores. Books printed before the late 1960s do not have ISBNs because the system was not created until then. ISBNs are available from R. R. Bowker (isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp).
ISSN: International Standard Serial Number, used to identify magazines and other periodical publications just as the ISBN is used on books.
Italic: Type that slopes. There are true italic faces, and with desktop publishing software, roman (regular) type can be inclined to simulate italic. Book titles ordinarily appear in italic in typeset text.
FOR ADDITIONAL READING:
BISG Rights Controlled Vocabulary, bisg.org/docs/BISG%20Rights%20Controlled%20Vocabulary%201.0.pdf
Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers, by Pete Masterson, Aeonix Publishing Group
Bookmasters Publishing 101 by Bookmasters, bookmasters.com/authors.html
Don’t Let Me Find You Bleeding in the Gutter: Understanding Book Terminology
by Joel Friedlander, thebookdesigner.com/2011/06/dont-let-me-find-you-bleeding-in-the-gutter-understanding-book-terminology
Neenah Paper’s Glossary of Paper Terms, neenahpaper.com/resources/glossaryterms
PBI Print Buyer Glossary, printbuyersinternational.com/resources/print-buyer-glossary
ABA, BIC, CCC and dozens of other key book industry associations are defined and described in the Book Industry Study Group’s Roadmap of Organizational Relationships, version 2.0 (bisg.org/what-we-do-18-33-roadmap-of-organizational-relationships.php), which is free at bisg.org.
Using the Roadmap’s links to Web sites, you can find various valuable resources. For example, the American Booksellers Association site has a directory of member stores, and, via the “education” tab, a list of regional bookseller trade shows; and the American Library Association site has, among other things, a fact sheet about 120,000 libraries of all kinds in the United States today.