website statistics

Publishing Terms You Need to Know

Essential publishing terminology for new authors looking to better understand the publishing industry.

Publishing Terms You Need to Know

Feb 11, 2015

Kelly Wright
Graphic Designer

My entrance into the publishing industry several months ago most likely mirrored that of most new authors, in that the only thought manifesting itself in my head was “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?” Not only were unfamiliar phrases such as “loose proof” and “bleed“ (which has nothing to do with blood!) being thrown around, but everyone around me seemed to speak a totally different language entirely—the language of publishing. However, as the weeks progressed, I became more fluent and began to form an idea of how this industry really works. While still very much a beginner in all aspects of this industry, I no longer feel like I am drowning in a sea of words. So I dedicate this post to all the new authors who also find themselves aboard being thrown around in the current.

Common Publishing Terms to Know:

  • Bleed: term used for an illustration or image that extends beyond the trimmed page.
  • Blurb: the brief description of a book that appears on the back of a paperback or on the inside front flap of a hardback.
  • Book jacket: the paper cover wrapped round a hardback book.
  • Bulk: the thickness of a book.
  • Colophon: the logo the publisher commonly prints on the title page and the spine of the cover jacket.
  • Copyright: the right of an author, artist, publisher, etc., to retain ownership of works and to produce or contract others to produce copies.
  • Editorial: the department responsible for ensuring accuracy and completeness of the finished publication.
  • Extent: the number of pages in a book.
  • Folio: the page number printed at the top or bottom of each printed page.
  • Format: the shape of a book defined by its height and depth.
  • Frontispiece: an illustration inserted to face the title-page.
  • Half title page: the first page of a book on which the title is displayed sometimes with a blurb or quotation from reviews.
  • Headline: (a.k.a. header) the line that commonly appears at the top of each printed page, typically showing the book title on the left-hand side and chapter title on the right, sometimes also incorporates the folio or author’s name—occasionally known as a running head.
  • Internal loose proof: the process in which the design, editorial, marketing, and publishing departments all review a loose copy of a proof to check for any mistakes prior to providing the author with a completed bound proof.
  • ISBN: universal abbreviation for International Standard Book Number, a thirteen digit unique identifier for each title published, which is used in a wide range of applications in all stages of the supply chain throughout the world. The number—made up of a language prefix (0 or 1 for the English language) followed by a publisher prefix, then a number relating to the individual title, and finally a check digit (used to validate the remainder of the code)—is customarily encoded in a bar code printed on the back of the book and normally appears also in the bibliographical details on the reverse of the title-page.
  • Landscape: description of a format that is wider than it is deep.
  • Leaf: a page of the book comprising of both recto and verso.
  • Margin: the white space surrounding a page of type.
  • Monochrome: printing in one colour, usually black.
  • Perfect binding: adhesive binding in which the individual pages of a book are glued together as opposed to section sewn—commonly called unsewn binding.
  • Permissions: the granting of rights by one publisher to another to quote extracts from a previously published title.
  • Prelims: universal abbreviation for the preliminary pages of a book (i.e. introduction, acknowledgements) before the start of the main text—often numbered in roman numerals and sometimes called the front matter.
  • Proof: general description of any kind of check for accuracy and quality control of a book’s content, usually provided in printed form but also available electronically
  • Recto: the right-hand page of an opening in a book.
  • Royalty: the payment made by publishers to authors and others on sales made; typically a percentage of the recommended retail price in the home market and of the monies received from export sales.
  • Spine: the back of a book where the title and author and publisher’s name normally appear.
  • Title page: the page, normally the second leaf in a book, which displays the title and author and publisher’s name. May also include the colophon.
  • Typeface: (a.k.a. font) the design of the individual characters making up the text of a book. Many hundreds of typefaces exist and are continually being designed, of which only about twenty are used with any regularity for books (ex. Times New Roman).
  • Verso: the reverse of a page in a book, thus the left-hand page of an opening.

So for those of you lost in the Publishing Sea, keep calm and know that that current will settle. Although it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, we here at Booklogix will do everything we can to help you swim. So keep on paddling . . .

Vocabulary descriptions provided by :


blog comments powered by Disqus