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The Language of Publishing: J, K, L, M

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The Language of Publishing

J, K, L, M


by Linda Carlson

This is the fourth installment of our glossary of publishing terms, which is designed to help publishing veterans, industry newcomers, and traditionally published authors experimenting with self-publishing, whether print or digital. Our goal: to define old and new words and phrases that anyone involved in 21st-century publishing needs to understand.

We’ve included some of the terms Joel Friedlander defines in his bookdesigner.com post, “The Language of the Book,” and some that 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 report as confusing.

For A through I, see the August, October, and December 2012 issues of the Independent. The next part of the glossary will appear in April.

Please let us know via linda@ibpa-online.org if we miss, or misconstrue, a term. And if you’d like us to add a particular 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 abridgment to X-height, you’ll find more resources at the end of each installment of the series.

P.S. The terms printed in orange in a definition are defined (or will be) elsewhere in the glossary.



JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, the graphic file format created by digital cameras and used on Web sites. A JPEG (or JPG) does not offer the same potential for resolution as a TIF, and so is not recommended for printed work. JPEGs can be converted to TIFs, but the conversion will not improve the resolution.

Justify: Type with spacing adjusted between words so that each line is flush, or aligned, with both left and right margins is justified. In contrast, some type is flush left and ragged right.

Just-in-time: An inventory strategy that can improve a business’s return on investment by reducing inventory of raw materials and materials used in processing, along with their associated carrying costs. In publishing, the term refers to printing one copy or a few copies as orders arrive, or to printing a short run immediately after an order for, say, 100 copies is received. POD, print-on-demand, is an example of just-in-time manufacturing.



Kerning: Adjusting the space between letters. One of the major differences between typewritten text and typeset text is the kerning, how the letters fit together. “WA,” for example, has less space between the letters when typeset than when typewritten. Such desktop publishing programs as InDesign allow letters to be kerned, even to the extreme that parts of one letter overlap parts of adjacent letters.

Keywords: Online spiders—the software that indexes Website text for search engines—often find relevant sites using the keywords site authors have entered near the beginning. The IBPA Website uses such keywords as “book publishing association,” “publishing a book,” and “publishing association.” The keywords on IBPA President Florrie Binford Kichler’s Website for Patria Press include names specific to Patria’s titles: “amelia earhart, william henry harrison, ben-hur, lew wallace, james whitcomb riley, juliette low, eddie rickenbacker, mahalia jackson, george rogers clark, john hancock, phillis wheatley, abner doubleday.”

Kill fee: Some publisher-author contracts provide for the author to receive some payment if a manuscript is never published. The practice is more common with magazine contracts.

Knockout: To ensure that colors are reproduced accurately when multiple inks are used on a print job, color separations may have areas blocked, or knocked out, so that they will not be covered with ink. Portions that are knocked out may appear in the color of the cover stock. Knockouts are important because they prevent the color of a final ink such as a pastel from being distorted by an earlier bright or dark color.



Large print: Usually 18- or 20-point type, large enough for comfortable use by some readers with visual impairments. Information about preparing materials for the visually impaired is available in “Best Practices and Guidelines for Large Print Documents Used by the Low Vision Community,” provided by the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, cclvi.org/large-print-guidelines.html.

Laminated: When a thin plastic film is applied to the outside cover of a book to protect the surface (say, from fingerprints or moisture) and enhance the appearance. Also see Coating.

Laser printing: Typically done by a desktop printer that, like a photocopy machine, uses an electrostatically charged drum and toner to produce an image on paper. Contrast with offset lithography, which involves transferring ink in a press from a printing plate to a rubber blanket to paper—a process with more expensive make-ready and press cleanup that is suitable for longer runs.

Laser proofs: Paper output from an electronic file; used as final proof before printing. Also see bluelines

Layflat binding: The process creates a flexible spine so pages lie flat when a book is open; popular for cookbooks and how-to books, when directions are likely to be read as a project is in process. Brands include Otabind and Repkover.

Layout: The depiction of a design (as in “laying out the cover”). Also, what desktop publishing software creates as an electronic substitute for the comprehensive, or pasteup.

Leader: A title the publisher expects will have high sales. Large publishers give leaders significant promotional support, including money for advertising and author tours.

Leading: The space between lines of type. Pronounced as “led,” it is expressed as a baseline-to-baseline measure. Nine-point type leaded out at 12 points will be written as 9/12 or phrased as “set 9 on 12.” The space comes between the descenders of a line and the ascenders of the next line. Type set 9/18 will have more space between lines than type set 9/12 or 9/14. Type leaded too tightly will be hard to read. The term derives from the narrow metal strips that separated lines of metal type in early typesetting.

Letterpress: Today used most often for high-quality short-run jobs such as invitations and personal stationery, letterpress was the primary method of printing everything for 500 years, starting with Gutenberg. It was replaced for long-run and large jobs by offset lithography in the mid-1900s. Also defined as relief printing, letterpress uses raised printing surfaces such as those created by the Linotype and other hot-metal typesetters or by engravings.

Library binding: A reinforced binding offered by specialty binderies. Publishers ordering a large quantity of books bound for library sales may have them prebound; others can order extra covers to be used for rebinding paperbacks once

their original spines are cut off. Names of some library binders can be found on the Library Binders Institute Website, lbibinders.org.

Line art: Images created with a single color and without halftones. Usually black-and-white drawings. Most clip art is line art.

Lines per inch (lpi): This measures the resolution of a halftone or line screen. The higher the lpi, the finer the screen and the sharper the image. See Dots per inch.

Logo: a graphic representation of an organization’s name. Often part of its graphic identity in spine artwork, letterhead, catalogs, and signage.

Low-resolution: Low-res images can be transmitted electronically faster than higher-res images, but they have less clarity, especially when enlarged, and may look blurred. Images such as stock photo previews are provided in low resolution for layout purposes; high-resolution images are necessary for book production.



Make-ready: The same as setup, make-ready includes all the tasks required to prepare a press (or other equipment) for a specific printing or binding job. In printing, this includes mounting plates on the press and adjusting the registration and the quantity of ink reaching the printed piece. Each signature of a book will require its own make-ready. One reason that jobs printed in black ink on house stock are less expensive is that make-ready takes less time and effort.

Margins: Unprinted space between the text or illustrations and the edge of the paper. The top margin is also called head. Gutter is the term for the margins between two facing pages.

Markup: Usually expressed as a percentage, the difference between the price paid for something and the price at which it is sold. For example, a wholesaler that buys a book from a publisher for 50 percent of cover price may mark it up to 60 percent of cover price and sell it to retailers that mark it up to 100 percent of cover price, a margin (or in general business terms, a contribution) of 40 percent for the wholesaler. Retailers often talk in terms of discount (as in “from cover” or “from retail price”) rather than markup.

Mask: A physical means, usually an acetate overlay, of blocking a portion of an image such as the background so that the masked portion won’t print. Masking can also be done electronically, with programs such as Photoshop. Also called Knockout; see above.

Mass market paperback: Paperbacks smaller in trim size than trade paperbacks, and usually somewhat smaller than 5″ × 8″. Sometimes distributed by firms that handle magazines and similar racked products, they are often sold in airports, drugstores, and supermarkets as well as in bookstores at prices far lower than those of trade paperbacks. Returns are usually credited when covers are stripped off and sent back. Minus their covers, the books themselves are pulped. Titles published only as mass market paperbacks may have shorter lives than trade paperbacks. Royalties for mass market paperbacks are relatively low.

Masthead: A copy block that provides a publication’s name along with information about ownership and staff and often appears on the second page of a newspaper and on the contents page of a magazine. Mastheads are valuable sources of editorial contact information.

Matte: A dull finish, the opposite of glossy. Papers and coatings can be matte or gloss.

Measure: The width of a line of type in a book, traditionally expressed in picas.

Mechanical binding: Despite the name, “mechanical” binding usually requires handwork, unlike perfect binding. Examples include looseleaf binding, wire and plastic spiral bindings and comb binding, which is plastic. Often used fornotebooks, cookbooks, instruction manuals, or other types of publications that need to lie flat when opened. For sales in bookstores, most looseleaf publications are shrink-wrapped. Wholesalers don’t generally handle spiral- or comb-bound publications unless they are boxed or have added spines that cover the spiral or comb so book titles will show when shelved spine-out. Plastic bindings are more easily damaged than other bindings and so are difficult to ship without special packaging.

Mechanicals: Camera-ready assembly of type, graphics, and other elements complete with instructions to the printer, typical prior to electronic prepress. A “hard” mechanical may also be called a pasteup, boards, or CRA (camera-ready art).

Media: The plural of medium. Devices that package and transmit content, including printed publications, tapes and records, films and television, computerized data vehicles, and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Media release: In publishing, usually an announcement of a new title, author appearance, acquisition, or personnel change written in journalistic style, so that media people can use it with little or no revision. Also called news release and press release. Examples and how-to’s are provided by “Using the Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing,” yale.edu/…SamplesoftheInvertedPyramidStyleofWriting (this is a Word document; enter the URL string, with no spaces or hyphens, inGoogle’s search box to access it).

Middle reader: A book intended for children ages 9–11.

Midlist: The term large publishers use for titles that they think will not be top sellers. Midlist titles are printed in smaller quantities than leaders and often have scanty marketing budgets. Books that would be midlist at huge houses can sell well through small and midsized publishing companies, where they get attention and time to develop momentum.

Mockup: A preproduction depiction of material. Often used for decision-making, mockups may show text from a manuscript in suggested typefaces and sizes or greeked text. A mockup accompanying a job to a typesetter or book manufacturer will show how the publisher expects the finished job to look and may include specific instructions; for example, with brochures, it may show the direction of folds.

Moire: An undesirable pattern in printed images resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens.

Monograph: A publication on one topic.

Monograph series: A group of monographs, usually from the same publisher, each of which has the series title as well as an individual title. Monographs in a series generally have the same format and are often numbered.

Monarch: The 7″ × 10″-sized paper and accompanying envelope often used for personal stationery.

MS: Manuscript, an author’s work as submitted for publication.


Publishing Organizations

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.



BISG Rights Controlled Vocabularybisg.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 Termsneenahpaper.com/resources/glossaryterms

PBI Print Buyer Glossaryprintbuyersinternational.com/resources/print-buyer-glossary



Linda Carlson writes for the Independent from Seattle, where she revels in obscure printing terms when not promoting her own and others’ titles.


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