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Jump to: Book Design | Offset Printing | eBooks

General Questions

How does the process work if I want to use Bookmobile for every step in my publishing journey?

The process would go as follows:

  • Step #1: Book design. We’ll work together to create final, print-ready PDFs to be used for printing.
  • Step #2: Printing. When final files are ready to print, we’ll upload them to the final printer on your behalf (either a digital or offset press).
  • Step #3: eBook conversion. When the final files are sent to print, we’ll begin eBook conversion as well.
  • Step #4: Distribution. When your book is ready to sell, you’ll work with Itasca Books for print distribution and fulfillment and our eBook department for eBook distribution.

Throughout each step in the process, you will have the support from our trained designers, project managers, and customer service representatives.

Do you offer book marketing services?

Unfortunately, we do not. This applies to print books and eBooks.

I’m just looking for the digital print shop. How do I get there?

You can find out more about our in-house digital print shop and get an instant digital print quote by heading to bookmobile.com.

Can I work with Bookmobile in just one service area?

Absolutely! Many of our clients only work with us in one or two service areas (though we would love to work with all clients in all areas, of course).

Book Design

Why do I need a book designer? Why can’t I just design the book myself?

While any individual has the ability to purchase a design program, the challenge then lies in knowing how to use it effectively. Working with a professional book designer has many benefits, chief among them being that professionals understand how to effectively use design programs to create a beautiful book. They also keep up with current trends in book design, can provide guidance on aesthetic choices, and will make the process quicker and easier for you. In the end, you will get an aesthetically pleasing product that is able to compete in the marketplace.

Read more: Why You Need a Book Designer

What is typesetting and why does it matter?

Typesetting is invisible work. If a typesetter has done their job, a reader will never even notice a book’s typesetting since the goal of the typesetter is to make the reading experience as seamless and easy as possible.

During this stage, we do a comprehensive typeset and check of our work. We fix things like: loose and tight lines, character crashes, bad word breaks, improper hyphenation, word and/or character stacks, widows, orphans, character styles, and uneven spreads. In addition, we ensure your book is paginated properly so that the final product looks and reads exactly as a standard book should. Then, we review every aspect of the final file so that it is ready for the printer. Ultimately, this thoroughness provides your reader with a pleasant experience.

Read more: What is typesetting?

Can Bookmobile edit my book?

We do not offer in-house editing services, however we can provide referrals for these services upon request. Ideally, you would work with an editor or proofreader prior to sending us the final material to be designed and typeset.

Who provides illustrations, tables, and other graphics?

The publisher is responsible for supplying all graphic material (non-text items) included in the manuscript. This includes photographs to be scanned or processed, as well as graphics, illustrations, diagrams, tables, and cartoons. Any fees required to locate art or to reproduce copyright-protected graphic material are the publisher’s responsibility. We can recreate certain graphic elements (like tables and diagrams) upon request so that styles match throughout.

Read more: Top Websites for Image Searching

Does Bookmobile use a standard page design for all books?

No. One of our designers will create a unique page design in conjunction with any ideas or wishes you have. Every design is customized to reflect the specific content of each individual book. Coordinating typefaces, graphic elements, and page treatments to the style and spirit of the manuscript is a creative process. Bookmobile can also follow a supplied design to adhere to a series or to the design of a previous publication, if desired.

Read more: 6 Interior Book Design Ideas to Elevate Your Project

When can page proofs be viewed?

Once the interior design is reviewed and approved, the manuscript will be fully formatted and typeset. A PDF of first pages is then sent for the publisher’s review. It is the publisher’s responsibility to do a thorough proofreading to catch any errors or omissions.

What exactly does your cover design service include?

Clients will receive 2-3 mock ups of their cover using the materials and ideas provided to us. We require the client to search for artwork to be used on the cover and to conceptualize what the cover should look like. If we think of other opportunities for the design, we will show these to you as well.

Bookmobile does not staff artists or illustrators, so our cover design capabilities lean toward typographic and photographic covers. We can work with illustrations provided to us from an artist/illustrator. At the end of the process you will receive a cover that looks professional and is capable of competing in the marketplace.

Who secures rights and permissions for copyrighted material included in the book?

Manuscripts that include any material protected by copyright must be vetted for appropriate permissions. Generally, permission to use short quotations does not involve fees to the copyright holders, but permissions must nonetheless be requested. Securing rights and permissions—and paying any required fees—are the responsibility of the author or publisher. The process can sometimes take weeks and should be started as the manuscript nears completion.

Do I need an ISBN?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s the number typically placed in the barcode area of your book and copyright page, and essentially acts as your book’s “sku.” Booksellers use this number for tracking sales and distributors need this information in order to sell your book to booksellers. You need to obtain an ISBN if you intend on selling your book to the trade (i.e., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and any other indie bookstore). If you do not intend on selling the book to the trade, you do not need an ISBN.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About ISBNs

Do I need to register for copyright?

No, copyright is automatically granted to you the moment a work is created. Registering for copyright is voluntary, but can offer some benefits if there is an infringement against your work.

Read more: Copyright Page Basics for Self-Publishers

How will the book be printed?

Your book will most likely be printed via an offset or digital press. We can help you determine the best type of printing based on your project specs through our print management service.

Read more: Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing: Which is the right fit for you?

With whom will I work?

We have a small team of designers, typesetters, and project managers. You will have one point of contact throughout the design process who will keep you informed about your project status and options.

What does design and typesetting cost?

The cost for design and typesetting is dependent on the complexity of your project and which services you need. Due to this, we are unable to provide ballpark figures. Please contact us for a preliminary estimate.

What information do you need for a design quote?

To price out your project, it’s helpful if you can provide the following:

  • Estimated final book page count (or character count with spaces number from your source file)
  • Trim size
  • Type of content (i.e., prose, poetry, coffee table artist book, or something else)
  • Number of images throughout; do these images wrap text?
  • Note any complex formatting considerations, such as subheads, bulleted lists, pull quotes, tables, charts, diagrams, etc.
  • Note which services you need (i.e., just interior design, just cover design, or the full package)

This is a great start, and we may be in touch with more questions. You can request a quote here.

Offset Printing

How does offset printing work?

Very simply, the final files get transferred onto large, metal plates. Those plates then get inserted into the offset machine. The ink gets rolled onto the plates and light impressions are made on the paper to create the final printed image. This all happens incredibly fast, which is the main reason why offset printing is cost effective at large quantities.

Where are the offset printers you work with located?

Primarily we quote with North American printers (those located in the US or Canada). Occasionally, depending on the specs of a project, we’ll quote with overseas vendors.

How do I know if I should print offset or digital?

This is something we’ll help you determine after hearing more about your book’s specs. Generally speaking, offset printing is more cost effective for quantities of 2,000+ for paperback and 500+ for hardcover. There are a variety of factors that go into this decision, however, and it is not a hard and fast rule.

Read more: Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing: Which is the right fit for you?

Is there a difference in quality between offset and digital printing?

As technology in printing has advanced over the years, the gap in quality between digital and offset printing has been bridged. More often than not, you won’t be able to tell if a book was printed offset or digital. Both options offer vibrant color and consistent inking.

What proofs are available with offset printing?

There are a variety of proofing options available for offset printing.

Prepress proofs are viewed before the full run has printed. These proofs include PDF proofs, content proofs, and color contract proofs.

Postpress proofs are viewed after the full run has printed. These proofs include F&Gs, finished dustjackets/covers/cases, and advances prior to the full run shipping.

Read more: All About Offset Printing Proofs

What is the turnaround for offset printing?

The standard turnaround for offset jobs in North America is 4-5 weeks for production and 1 week for shipping. However, the schedule can vary widely depending on the printer’s workload, time of year, complexity of the project, and your time spent reviewing/approving proofs.

The standard turnaround for offset jobs overseas is 3-5 months.

Can I see a print sample?

Certainly. Because we quote with multiple vendors, we’ll need to have the project quoted first so we can send you a representative sample from the final offset printer.

What information do you need for a print quote?

To get a print quote, we will need:

  • Trim size
  • Page count
  • Binding type
  • Interior ink
  • Interior paper preference
  • Cover lamination preference
  • Quantities
  • Any other special touches you’d like your project to have, like french flaps, color inserts, foil stamps, debossing, embossing, spot gloss UV, and the like.

You can request a quote here.


How are eBooks read?

On an Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad/iPhone, Barnes & Noble Nook, Macs, PCs, and other eReaders and tablets.

Can I see the EPUB file without a reading device?

It is preferable to view eBook proofs on a tablet; however, you may download Adobe Digital Editions to your Mac or PC.

Why not just do the conversions in house?

You can; however, Bookmobile saves time and hassle, and provides quality control for eBook files from our workflow. Conversion without quality checks can mean an eBook has errors and may not pass the validation requirements necessary to upload to eBook resellers. Bookmobile’s process creates validated, high-quality eBooks.

How are eBooks made?

Simply put, with our conversion workflow, an EPUB file is created from the source file. The EPUB file can be compared to a zipped mini-website. The EPUB becomes the master file and includes all the elements from the source file (images, text, etc.). Bookmobile then opens and edits this EPUB file in an XML editor to ensure a quality eBook.

How much does conversion cost?

A quote can be provided with the following information:

  • The source (PDF from an application file, PDF from a scanned file, or printed copy to scan)
  • The number of titles in the order
  • Each title’s page count, trim size, and level of complexity
  • Target file type (EPUB, MOBI for Kindle, web-ready PDF)

Contact us for a quote.

What kind of eBook files should we convert to?

Reflowable EPUB files have become the industry standard for eBooks. Amazon has its own format (MOBI). Amazon does accept EPUB files for uploading, but then they will do a further conversion into their format with an additional correction and review process. For Amazon, we’ve found that it’s best to provide a final MOBI file that has been through quality assurance already and is ready for sale immediately.

Do you distribute eBooks? To whom?

We do—to Amazon, the Apple Book Store, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. We also distribute to Overdrive, Bibliotheca, and EBSCO (libraries). Find out more here.

What is the pricing for distribution?

We’ll send a quote—let us know how many titles you have.

Can images be included in the eBook?

Yes, images look fantastic on tablets like the iPad. For eInk devices: These devices will display images in black and white, so the quality won’t be the same as the printed book.

Is note-linking and cross-reference linking available?

Yes. There may be an additional charge.

Do we need a different ISBN for the eBook or can we use the same ISBN as the print book?

Yes, a different ISBN is required for the eBook.

Do we need a different ISBN for each type of eBook file (EPUB, Kindle)?

Currently, no.

What is the difference between an EPUB, MOBI, and a web-ready PDF?

The first two are reflowable documents, and the latter is essentially a PDF with links, optimized for digital reading and direct-from-website downloading.

What is a web-ready PDF for?

Many people use PDFs to sell digital books from their websites. The web-ready PDF can be downloaded to a Mac or PC, and opened in Adobe Digital Editions. There are many tablets that can read the web-ready PDF format as well. The photo quality depends on how large a file can be posted to your site. Control of who can and cannot download the file is handled on your end.

What does DRM mean?

DRM is Digital Rights Management—if DRM is provided, restrictions are placed to limit copying, printing, and sharing.

Are eBooks protected with DRM?

Yes. Each vendor (Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) ensures that. If you sell from your own website, you will need to do your own DRM.

How do we set the price of the eBook?

Typically the digital list price is 80–100% of the lowest print price for the book.

More questions? Ready for a quote?