How to Setup the cover for Short Run Perfect Bound Books?

This FAQ will go over the steps to set up the cover for your perfect bound book in Adobe In-Design. Creating a proper cover file for printing can be a challenging process, and if not done correctly can produce unacceptable results. Our main goal is to avoid those situations. We highly recommend using Adobe In-Design as it is exactly meant for this purpose. If you are using some other design software, please understand the steps and then refer to the help on other software to see if those steps can be duplicated. You can always select our We Setup the Cover Service (located under the Artwork drop-down) when placing the order and we will take care of setting up the cover.

Follow these steps to prepare a proper cover for perfect bound books using Adobe In-Design.

1. Determine the Spine Width: The spine width depends on the number of pages your book has and what paper option you have chosen for the guts. To make it simple, use our Spine Thickness Calculator and in a few clicks, you will get the spine thickness in inches. Please write it down for later use.

2. Create a new document in Adobe In-Design: On the Page Setup dialog box you will need to enter the Width and the Height. The height is the same as the book height. For example, if you are printing an 8.5"x11" book then the height will be 11.

To calculate the Width - use this formula: Width = Spine Width + (2 x Book Width). So for the same 8.5"x11" book cover with a 1" spine width, the Width = 1 + (2 x 8.5) = 18" width. Refer to the image below

3. Number of columns: Make sure to enter the number 2 in the Columns section (see below). That is because the book will have a front & back cover.

4. Spine Width: Enter the Spine Width you calculated earlier in the Gutter text as shown below.

5. Safe area: Change the Margin to 0.25 inch from the default 0.125". This is the safe area and make sure to keep all the text within that margin.

6. Bleed: If you have any art like images, colors or line going to the edge of the paper then you will need to setup the Bleeds properly.  Enter 0.125" (1/8 inch)  as the Bleed value on the boxes as shown below. So for example if the finished document size is 8.5x11", and it has bleeds then the PDF document size should be 8.75"x11.25". Remember to extend those artwork to the bleed margin.

7. Ready to Go: Click Submit and you have the guideline template ready to use.

8. Creative time: Time to get creative. Setup your graphic elements i.e. text, images, background colors etc on the above template. Check for bleeds and safe areas.

9. Export to PDF properly: Files must be PDF/X-1a:2001 or PDF/X-3:2002 compliant. The PDF/X-1a:2001 setting 
is found in the Professional versions of Adobe Acrobat 6 or above (listed as PDF/X-1a in Acrobat 6 Professional). The 
PDF/X-3:2002 setting is found in the Professional versions of Adobe Acrobat 7 or above. Check how to create a Print Ready PDF file in Adobe In Design?


The following are recommendations and specifications that you should know when laying out cover for all book types.

Resolution:300 ppi
Color Space:CMYK
LPI (lines per inch):180
Required file format:PDF (.pdf) file
PDF producer:Acrobat Distiller–PDF/X-1a:2001, PDF/X-3:2002
Export from InDesign–PDF/X-1a:2001, PDF/X-3:2002
Other accepted files:TIF (.tiff) tagged image file format
PS (.ps) postscript
Accepted application files:InDesign CS3 and newer (all supporting files must be included: fonts, images, art, etc.)
Bleed:0.125" all sides
Borders and straight lines:PrintPapa does not recommend using borders close to the trim / fold areas of the books. This is because of the slight  variances that may occur during the printing and binding process. If you choose to use a border please keep all straight edges an additional 0.125"  inside of the safety areas.
Type safety:0.25" recommended minimum on all sides
Spine type safety:0.0625" left/right sides for spines 0.35" and larger
0.03125" left/right sides for spines smaller than 0.35"
NO spine text for page counts below 48
Accepted submission methods:web upload
File naming:order number_cover.pdf