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The Language of Publishing: Q, R

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The Language of Publishing: Q, R

June 2013

by Linda Carlson


Quiet zonereservesreturns, and rights got you confused—or curious? You’ll find centuries-old publishing lingo, 21st-century jargon, and dozens of other terms in this installment of the IBPA printing and publishing glossary.

If you’ve missed any of the issues with A through P, check the Independent archives.

If you believe we’ve missed, or misdefined, any important terms, email Linda Carlson at linda@ibpa-online.org ASAP, because we’ll be compiling the glossary articles and your additions into book form after the final installment appears later this summer.



QR Code: The two-dimensional “quick response” bar code that consumers can capture with a smartphone or other wireless device, activating an application. Information stored in the bar code directs the application to a Website that displays desired content and/or permits a wide variety of actions, including purchases. Although QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Inc., the Toyota subsidiary that invented it, Denso Wave makes it available for everyone’s use, and anyone can create a QR Code free. For online sources, type “qr code generator free” into a search engine. For more information, see “QR Codes: Reports from Early Adopters,” via Independent Articles at ibpa-online.org.

QuarkXpress: Quark Software Inc. design software for creating and publishing for print, the Web, e-readers, tablets, and other digital media. A competitor of Creative Suite, the Adobe Systems Inc. software that includes InDesign.

Query letter: The query describes a book an author is proposing to an editor at a book publishing company, or an article an author is proposing to an editor of a periodical. Book query letters are designed to convince editors to ask for a full book proposal, usually including an outline and brief summary along with sample chapters. Authors should check each publisher’s submission requirements before querying, and take steps to identify an appropriate editor to approach. Many publishers post submission requirements on their sites.

Quiet zone: Space before and after a bar code that must be white and blank so that scanners can correctly read the codes. A quarter-inch is typical.

Quote marks (straight and curly): Quotations in typeset material are identified with “curly” quotation marks; the apostrophe functions as a single curly quote mark. A straight quote mark is used to indicate feet, and double straight quotes are used to indicate inches.



Rating: Used in broadcast commercial sales as an estimate of a program’s audience size expressed as a percentage of the people in the market area. A rating indicates the potential audience for a single commercial on a specific program.

Reach: Used in broadcast commercial sales as an estimate of the unduplicated (unique) number of households or individuals reached during an advertising campaign, as in “reach at least 20 percent of the households three to five times during the campaign.” Salespeople also cite “frequency”—that is, how many times the same people are reached during the campaign. Internet advertising salespeople also cite “reach” and “frequency” estimates.

Reading fee: The charge to review and evaluate a manuscript levied by some consultants, subsidy publishers, and packagers, and by some agents who are not members of the Association of Authors Representatives, which prohibits its members from charging reading fees. A reading fee “can be a sign of a possible scam,” writes longtime IBPA member Pete Masterson in his Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers, warning that the fees are a major source of income for some in the publishing industry.

Reading (or reader’s) guide: Titles intended for group use—in a classroom or a book club, for example—often include a section of study or discussion questions after the main content. Some of these sections provide additional information on events or eras mentioned in the book. Teacher’s guides, which sometimes appear in the educator edition of a book intended for K–12 or higher-education students, may be required by public education departments at state or lower governmental levels that evaluate books for possible classroom use.

Recto: Right-hand (odd-numbered) pages, from the Latin for right. (Verso is the term for left-hand pages).

Register marks: Symbols or crosses printed on original artwork to help with alignment during prepress work and on the press.

Registration: Exact alignment of two or more printed images. Registration is important in jobs that involve printing in more than one ink color, and in all jobs with embossing, debossing, and die cuts. When images don’t align, the printing or die cut is “out of register.” Publications created on large, fast web presses (newspapers, for example) may have images that appear slightly blurry because of poor registration.

Remainder: Overstock, or copies still on hand when a book goes out of print, are called remainders when sold at bargain prices to and through remainder dealers and booksellers. “To remainder” is to sell off overstock. Remainder dealers buy or broker the sale of remaindered titles.

Reproduction: Prior to electronic prepress, a photograph or Photostat of camera-ready art could be used as a “repro,” or reproduction proof. In publishing today, “reproduction” is more often used in the phrase “reproduction quality” to indicate the quality of text or artwork prepared for publication or already printed, as in “poor reproduction” (e.g., grainy, low resolution, colors not matched to samples or to specified PMS colors, or out-of-register).

Reserves against returns: Money due as royalties withheld by publishers to cover possible returns. Authors’ contracts generally have a standard provision for reserves, which should be “reasonable.”

Resolution: A measurement of clarity. For a digital image, resolution is defined by dpi, which is the number of individual dots that can be placed within the span of one linear inch. If its resolution is not high enough, a printed image will be blurry. On a computer monitor, resolution may be as low as 72 dpi; on an imagesetter, it may be in excess of 2400. More often used in discussing reproduction of images, resolution can also be a challenge with small reversed type.

Returns: Most bookstores, book wholesalers, and book distributors can send books that are not selling back to the publisher. Returned copies that are shopworn or have damaged packaging are sometimes called “scuffs” or “hurts” and usually cannot be resold as new, although putting new dust jackets on hardbound books can make them salable as new again. Damaged books are sometimes remaindered or sold at reduced prices from the publisher’s Website. Mass market titles and other books sold through newsstand distributors are often not returned; instead, their covers are removed (“stripped”) and sent to the publisher, and all the rest is pulped.

Review copies: Complimentary copies of books, sometimes called ARCs (advance reading copies) or bound galleys, usually in not-quite-final form and now often digital editions. Review copies go to media people and others who write book reviews, do articles featuring books and authors, and/or could otherwise provide publicity. To avoid giving free books to retailers or individuals who want copies for personal use or to sell, many publishers require that review-copy requests be submitted on company letterhead or with detailed background information. Some also stamp “Review Copy, Not for Sale” on the cover and book block. Copies sent to educators considering adoption of a book for a course are called examination copies. An instructor may be billed for the examination copy if the school or college bookstore does not order a given number of copies within a certain period.

Reverse: Type or line art that is the color of the paper it appears on because ink is applied to the background rather than to the type or image. With a job entailing multiple colors of ink, the background may be printed in a color or colors and the type reversed out (not printed) when another ink is added. Reverses can be combined with knockouts: for example, if a book cover is to be red with yellow type, the red will be applied with the type knocked out (no ink applied to it) and then the yellow ink will be applied to the areas that remain the paper color. The knockout ensures that the second color will print accurately, and not be distorted by the background color. Reversed type is often outlined with black or a color. In small sizes, it can be hard to read because ink usually spreads at least slightly, and if it spreads into the white areas of reversed type it is more noticeable. When color is applied to a reversed, or knocked-out, area, registration must be precise.

Revised edition: An updated and/or expanded edition of a previously published book, with changes made by the original author and/or illustrator or by a different author and/or illustrator. These changes may be within the text or in a supplement. A revised edition requires a new ISBN and other new metadata.

RGB: Red, green, and blue are the colors used to create images on monitors. All RGB images must be converted to CMYK for printing. This can be done with software such as Photoshop.

Rights: The term pertains to licenses to publish material for the first time and licenses to use published material in whole or in part. For books, rights deals may convey first serial rights (for publishing excerpted material in a periodical before a book’s pub date), second serial rights (for publishing excerpted material after a book’s pub date), and rights involving book clubs, reprints, translations, merchandising (for such things as toys, T-shirts, posters, and greeting cards), dramatization of various kinds, abridgement, audio, digital formats, and more. In book publishers’ contracts, most of these are called subsidiary rights. Rights often revert from the publisher to the author when a book officially goes out of print, and reissuing older titles in digital format may require locating authors’ heirs to obtain permission. Also see options. And for a free downloadable checklist that you can use to define any and all rights deals, go to bisg.org/docs/BISG%20Rights%20Controlled%20Vocabulary%201.0.pdf.

Rights clearinghouse: A business or nonprofit that brokers subsidiary rights deals. One example is the Copyright Clearance Center (copyright.com), which explains that it handles rights for “in- and out-of-print books, journals, newspapers, magazines, movies, television shows, images, blogs and ebooks.” Publishers that license their content through rights clearinghouses can specify what content is available for what uses.

Rotary press: A printing press that uses curved plates attached to a cylinder, designed for fast, long-run printing. Most high-circulation newspapers and periodicals are printed on roll-fed rotary presses.

Royalty: Payment to an author, illustrator, or other copyright owner from a publisher. Royalties are sometimes a percentage of the cover price and sometimes a percentage of publishers’ net. No royalty is paid on review copies or remainders. Typically, royalty rates are lower for book club editions and other special sales. Royalties are not paid until any advance is earned out. Today author-services/self-publishing companies use the term royalties more loosely. Here’s an example from one Website: “Authors receive 40 percent royalty from direct sales . . . ” which may refer to the fact that authors get a 60 percent discount from cover price when they buy their books from this “publisher.” Earlier this year, CreateSpace, an Amazon.com publishing unit, defined its royalty payments this way: “the list price set by the author/publisher minus CreateSpace’s share equals royalty.” That share could include 40 percent of the cover price for U.S. distribution through Amazon.com, plus a fixed fee based on the number of pages and ink colors, and possibly also plus a per-page charge.

Run: Also “press run,” a single printing session. Books printed only in black ink are usually printed in a single press run. Some presses require more than one press run to complete a multicolored job, with each run adding a different color.

Run in: An editorial directive to make what was a new line or new paragraph a continuation of the line or paragraph that preceded it.

Running head: Also called header. The line that appears across the top of a page as a brief identifier of content, often the book title on left-hand pages and the chapter title on right-hand pages. When this sort of line appears at the bottom of a page, it’s known as a running footer.


Picture Your Pictures Here

The IBPA glossary that has been running in the Independent will be published as a book later this year, and members are invited to send images that illustrate terms it defines.

If you’d like pictures of your books or pictures otherwise related to your business to be used, please send them—300 dpi, 5″ high—to linda@ibpa-online.org as attachments to an email message that provides four pieces of information:

1. The term in the glossary that each image pertains to; for instance, you might want to show:

● an apron

● a bar code with embedded EAN

● a blind-embossed cover

● a coil-bound book

● a die

● a die-cut cover or page in a children’s book

● a dump bin, with some or all display area empty to show construction

● a French folded page as tipped into a book

● a gatefold

● a halftone detail clearly showing the screen

● a page of text from a hi-lo book

● a cover featuring overprinting with a translucent ink that created a new color

● a cover featuring an extremely expanded type face

● a correction on a printed page made by overprinting

● a lay-flat binding

● a short passage of type set justified

● a short passage of type set ragged right

Or you might want to send an illustration of some other term or terms.

2. A title for each image, which should include the name of your company (for example, companynamelogo.tif, companynameproofreading.tif).

3. The format of each image you send. Images must reproduce well when reduced in size, perhaps to no more than two inches wide

4. A credit line for photography or artwork if one is necessary.

If we use an image you send, it will run with a line identifying your company and, if applicable, the title of a particular book. If you are a book manufacturer or bindery, please submit only examples of work done for IBPA members.

The deadline for sending images to linda@ibpa-online.org is June 30.

We look forward to receiving them.


Linda Carlson (info@lindacarlson.com) writes for the Independent from Seattle.

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