Glossary: Publishing Terms

Like other professions, a particular jargon has come to be used in publishing. Use this list of terms and definitions to translate the language of publishers, printers, and editors.


A visible defect in a scanned image, usually caused by hardware or software limitations.
A defect in an image caused by repeated encoding/compressing of JPEG images.

Back Flap

The back part of a dust jacket that folds inward and contains copy continued from the front flap and/or a photo and biography of the author.


An undesirable graphic effect in which a gradation contains visible stepping of shades.


The fastening of assembled sheets or signatures along one edge (inside edge or inner margin) of a publication. The binding process also includes folding, gathering, trimming, stitching, gluing, and/or casing.

Bitmap (.bmp)

A format for saving images, particularly black and white images, not recommended for use in manuscripts to be submitted to Glasstree.

Bleed (Full Bleed)

The portion of an image, line, or color that extends beyond the final page size.

Bleed is necessary when you want images, lines, or colors to go to the edge of the finished page. For example, a 6 x 9" page is created larger (6.25 x 9.25") and is centered .125"(1/8") around the finished page size. See the image below.

When creating a document with bleed keep in mind that important art and text should be .25"(1/4") from the edge of the finished page size. This will allow for trim variance as well as bleed. The variance is shown below from the blue dotted line to the orange dotted line.

Image illustrating bleed


Classically, a blurb is a brief piece of writing used in the advertising of a creative work. The most familiar example is the quote splashed across the cover of a bestselling novel, which reads something like “absolutely thrilling.” The term is also used for a book’s description as displayed on dust jacket flaps, back covers, or online product pages.

Check out the Savvy Book Writers blog to read 5 Tips for writing a blurb for your book

Casewrap (Case)

The most common type of binding for Hardcover books. Coated paper is attached to boards and then glued to the spine of a bound book.

CCITT Compression (Not Recommended)

Method for compressing monochrome bitmap images used by fax machines.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

The colors of the subtractive color system, also known as process colors. This is the image mode ideal for traditional print.

Coil-Bound (PlastiCoil)

The most common type of binding for instructional manuals, cookbooks, and calendars since it permits them to lie flat. Pages are held together with a round plastic coil inserted through holes punched along the inner margins of the pages.


Formerly used to describe the process of hand-setting letterpress type, now used to describe the process of designing and laying out pages and sections of a manuscript.


Includes checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, proper abbreviations, numbers and lists, and proper word usage in a manuscript, as well as the table of contents.


A form of intellectual property, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to that work's publication, distribution, and adaptation for a certain time period. After the time period the work is said to enter the public domain. For information on U.S. copyright laws visit

Copyright License

Defines what other people are allowed to do with your work.

Copyright Page

The page that typically appears after the title page, containing the artistic property protection (license). If the book has an ISBN then the ISBN must also be included on this page.

You, as the creator, are both the copyright holder and publisher of all works created and distributed using the tools and services available on the Glasstree website. Therefore, when creating your work's copyright page, you should list yourself as the copyright holder and publisher. If you wish, you may list Glasstree as the distributor.


Copyright © 2016 <YOUR NAME>. All rights reserved.
ISBN 123-4-567891-01-2

Distributed by Glasstree Academic Publishing

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

System or technology used to place limitations (access to or copying of) onto digital content (eBooks, music, etc.). A publisher or author of an eBook, not the retailer, determines the level of restrictions applied to an eBook. This includes how many times an eBook can be downloaded for a single purchase, and the number of devices (computers, eBook readers, etc.) to which the eBook can be transferred.

DRM works best when administered by those who control how content is purchased and viewed. Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble integrate a reader’s experience from purchasing to downloading and finally to reading. These companies do a fantastic job in this area, and eBooks published through Lulu and distributed through these retail sites will continue to include the DRM encryption applied by those retailers.

Glasstree does not provide DRM protection for eBooks downloaded from the Glasstree bookstore.

Distribution: ebook Agency Model

In the Agency ebook distribution model, the author sets the price of their ebook and chooses retail outlets on which they wish to sell their ebook. In exchange for allowing an author access to the buyers on their retail site, the retailer retains a percentage of each sale based on the list price set by the author. Under the agency model, the author agrees to sell their ebook at the same price in the Glasstree bookstore and on their author website.

For example, if a Glasstree author chooses to distribute their ebook to the Apple iBookstore, the NOOK Bookstore, and the Glasstree bookstore these retailers act as sales agents and must sell your ebook at the price you set. Agency sales are reported in your revenue report by retailer.

Distribution: Reseller Model

In the Reseller distribution model, an intermediary agrees to purchase your book at the wholesale price in order to resell it to a consumer or another retailer. In this model, once a retailer has purchased the book from the reseller, they can then sell it for any price they choose. Whether the retailer chooses to sell your book at a huge markup or offers deep discounts, the author will always earn the designated wholesale revenue on each purchase. The benefit of the reseller model is that authors and retailers can set their own prices and offer discounts to stimulate sales.

For example, if a Glasstree author chooses to distribute their book through the Ingram network (globalREACH Distribution), Ingram will act as a reseller. When your book sells on any of Ingram's affiliate outlets (including Amazon), the retailer will actually be purchasing the book from Ingram, who will in turn report sales back to Glasstree. Reseller sales are displayed in your revenue report as Ingram sales, regardless of the retailer from which the book was purchased.

Dots Per Inch (dpi)

The physical density of pixels/dots in an image when printed. The higher the dpi the source image, the clearer and more detailed (up to a point) the output of the printer will be. Can also be known as Pixels Per Inch (ppi).


A file transferred from the Internet to your computer. The act of transferring a file from the Internet to your computer.


Products, such as paperback books or eBooks, produced for budget-conscious consumers.

Drop Shadow

A graphic effect in which display type is repeated behind itself, creating a "shadow."

Dust Jacket (Dust Cover)

A separate paper wrapper that covers a hardcover book and protects the cover. 

ebook (Electronic Book)

Digital equivalent of a conventional printed book. Ebooks are read on personal computers, smart phones, or ebook readers. There are several ebook formats; some can be used on multiple devices while others are only available to be read on certain devices.

Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)

A document file format that contains PostScript information for high-resolution graphics.

Endsheet (Endpaper)

A sheet of paper that attaches the inside pages of a hardcover book to the cover.

EPUB (.epub)

Proposed format from the International Digital Publishing Forum. “.epub” is the file extension of an XML format for digital books and publications. EPUB re-flows content, so that text can be optimized for the display screen being used at the time.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A way to transfer files to and from websites without using a browser. Usually requires an FTP client.


To align text or images along one edge of a page layout.


An area in the bottom margin of a page, often containing the page number.


General physical appearance of a book or magazine, such as the typeface, binding, quality of paper, margins, etc. 

Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)

An image file format best suited for digital images with few colors, such as cartoon clip art. It also supports transparency and limited animation.


The range of gray tones between black and white as displayed on a monitor or in an image.


The inner margins of two facing pages in a publication.

Header (or Head Margin)

The top of a page above the headline or text.

High Contrast

A photographic reproduction that contains higher density levels than usual.


The attribute of a color that distinguishes it from other colors.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

A unique number provided by R.R. Bowker / Reed Reference Publishing and assigned by the publisher identifying the format, binding, edition, publisher, and distributor of a book.

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)

An ISSN is an 8-digit code used to identify newspapers, journals, magazines, and periodicals of all kinds for both print and electronic media.
  • An ISSN identifies all continuing resources, irrespective of their medium (print or electronic): 
    • Newspapers 
    • Annual publications (reports, directories, lists, etc.) 
    • Journals 
    • Magazines 
    • Collections 
    • Websites 
    • Databases 
    • Blogs, etc. 
  • In many countries, an ISSN is mandatory for all publications subject to Legal Deposit
  • What form does an ISSN take? 
    • The ISSN takes the form of the acronym followed by two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen. The eighth digit is a check digit calculated according to a modulus 11 algorithm on the basis of the 7 preceding digits; the eighth control digit may be an "X" if the result of the computing is equal to "10", in order to avoid any ambiguity 
      • Example 
        • ISSN 0317-8471 
        • ISSN 1050-124X 
  • The ISSN identifies a publication  
    • It is a digital code without any intrinsic meaning: 
      • It does not include any information about the origin or contents of the publication 
      • It does not guarantee the quality or validity of the contents 
    • The ISSN is associated with the title of the publication. If the publication is modified significantly, a new ISSN must be assigned.  
  • Where is an ISSN displayed? 
    • For a print publication, the ISSN should be shown: 
      • Preferably, in the upper right hand corner of the cover 
      • Failing that, on the pages where editorial information is show (publisher, frequency, colophon, etc.) 
    • For a publication in electronic media, the ISSN should be shown: 
      • On the homepage or on the main menu, if it is a online publication.  
      • On any part visible to the naked eye (microfiche header, CD-Rom or DVD label, box, case, etc.), if the publication is on a physical medium.  
  • If a publication is identified by ISSN and ISBN, both of these identifiers should be mentioned. 
  • An ISSN is assigned completely free of charge.  
  • ISSN Application Form and Instructions

Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg or .jpeg)

An image file format ideal for digital images with lots of colors, such as photographs.


Aligning each line of a paragraph so that the edges of the text are straight along one or both margins.


Single words or short phrases that describe your book and help improve search results.


Landscape can describe an image or page that is wider than it is tall or the page orientation for a home printer. At this time, Glasstree does not offer print books formatted in the Landscape orientation. See for more info.

Lines Per Inch

The number of rows of halftone cells per inch, also referred to as screen frequency. The finer the frequency, the less noticeable the halftone dots.

Lossless Compression

A method of compression in which very little data is lost when decompressed.

Lossy Compression

A method of compression in which data is lost when decompressed.

LZW Compression

A lossless data compression algorithm designed to be fast to implement, but not the best option because it performs only limited analysis of the data.


A manuscript is the author’s final version of their work, which is either uploaded to a self-publishing site (such as Glasstree) or is submitted to an agent for review or a publisher for publication.

Each publisher has their own manuscript formatting requirements depending on the type of work being submitted. While there are several generalized manuscript style guides available for download, writers intending to submit a finished manuscript to a publisher should research the publisher’s manuscript requirements and relevant writing standards prior to submission.


The white space surrounding the text or main content of a page.

Marketing Platform

Being a self-publishing author also means that you are a self-marketing author. The term Marketing Platform refers to the online tools used to support and advertise your work. Your platform may include a website (or hub), blog, social media presence, mailing lists, and strategies for search engine optimization. Authors can choose the tools they feel most comfortable using based on their targeted audience and the level of interaction they desire to foster with their readers.

Narrative Nonfiction

Also known as Creative Nonfiction, this genre uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives such as biographies, memoirs, personal essays, literary journalism, food writing, and travel guides.


Open Researcher Contributor Identification (ORCID) is a non-proprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors and contributors. It provides a persistent digital identifier to distinguish you from every other researcher and supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.

Other Revenue

If your book does not have a Glasstree-owned ISBN, then your earnings are not royalties but simply, Other Revenue, which is the amount of money you make on each sale of your published material. Other Revenues are not subject to US tax withholding and are not reported to the IRS.


In most cases, when two objects of different colors overlap they knockout -- they won't print on top of each other. To intentionally print one layer of ink on top of another is to overprint. Overprinting is sometimes used to avoid the need for trapping and avoid gaps between touching colors. Spot colors intended to designate the application of spot varnish are also set up to overprint.

Page Count

Total number of pages in a book, counting both sides of each sheet of paper.

Pages Per Inch

Unit used to measure paper thickness.


System by which pages are numbered. The arrangement and number of pages in a book, as noted in a catalog or bibliography.

Paper Stock

The paper used for printing a particular piece.

Paper Weight

A system of measuring paper thickness.

The weight of one or more sheets of paper.

The U.S. System weighs 500 sheets of the paper type (text, cover, bond, etc.) Each of these paper types has its own "size" used to calculate the weight. 500 sheets of 25 x 38" Brand X text paper would be 80lb (80#) text paper. It is possible to weigh two sheets of the same paper using different sheet sizes come out with a different weight.

The Metric System measures all paper grades based on grams per square meter (gsm) of a single sheet of paper. With two weights like 250 gsm or 90 gsm, the 90 gsm is considered a text weight and the 250 gsm, a cover weight.


The most common type of binding, usually for paperback books. Pages are gathered, one on top of another; then flexible adhesive is applied to the spine.


Common term for picture element, the smallest single component of a digital image or monitor.


A displayed or printed image is said to be pixelated when the edges are jagged when they should be smooth. This happens when the image resolution (see DPI) is too low.

Pixels Per Inch (PPI)

Or pixel density is the measurement of the resolution of computer displays, image scanners, or digital camera image sensors. Also can be used to describe the resolution of an image to be printed within a specified space.

Example: A 300 x 300 pixel image printed on a 1-inch square would have 300 pixels per inch.


A typographic unit of measure. For the purpose of designating type sizes, most modern publishing applications use 72 points to the inch.

Portable Document Format (.pdf)

A file format developed by Adobe to allow the creation and sharing of documents that will look and print the same on any machine.

Portable Network Graphic (.png)

A bit mapped image file format that uses lossless compression.


Portrait can describe an image or page that is taller than it is wide or the page orientation for a home printer. See for more info.


A graphical display of a print-ready file that allows creators see how their project will print. Previews of published works generally consist of the first chapters of a work or other representative sections as selected by the author or publisher..

Print on Demand (POD)

Printing, usually from a digital file to a digital printer, only when the object is needed and in the quantity required.


A pre-publication printing intended for editorial use or occasionally to be sent out for review.

Public Domain

Intellectual property which is not owned or controlled by anyone. These works are public property and available to use for any purpose.

Query Letter

A query letter is a single page letter, introducing you and your book to a potential publishing agent. It typically consists of three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and a writer’s biography. Writers should not stray from this tried-and-true format. A query letter is intended to pique an agent’s interest resulting in an invitation to send sample chapters or even the entire manuscript to the agent.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so keep it simple, stick to three paragraphs, and most importantly, query letters should never be more than one page in length.

Additional formatting information and sample query letters

Raster Image Processor (RIP)

A device that takes the PDF we send to the printer and makes it into something the printer can understand.


Defines amount of detail and clarity in images, measured in dots per inch or pixels per inch.


Creator revenue is the total monies you earn from the sale of your published material. Creator revenue includes Royalties and Other Revenue. Sales and revenue can be viewed from your Account Dashboard > Revenue page.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

The hues of the additive color system. This is the image mode ideal for digital images.

Rich Text Format (RTF)

A universal document file format that is readable across operating systems and word processors. Unlike .txt, it offers limited formatting capabilities like bold and centered text.


When a creator chooses a Glasstree distribution service and their material is assigned a Glasstree-owned ISBN, Glasstree becomes the publisher of record and all earnings are regarded as royalties for that material, regardless of delivery format. The creator revenue generated by sales of material with a Glasstree-owned ISBN meets the true and legal definition of a royalty. Royalties are reported to the IRS and are subject to US tax withholding.


The most common type of binding for booklets or comics. Folded sheets of paper are held together with staples along the spine of the book. Books are printed in multiples of 4 pages.


The process of determining the amount an image should be reduced or enlarged to fit a specified area.


The backbone of a book. The spine displays the title and author of the book and is often the only part of the book that can be seen on a shelf.


Often called two-page spread. Two adjoining facing pages in a book, featuring a single image (photograph or Artwork) or a themed group of images that span across the gutter.

At Glasstree you cannot upload a PDF as spreads. Your file must consist of separate pages.


The type of paper or other material that will be used for printing.


A synopsis is a one to two page summary of your work describing your novel’s plot, theme, characters, and setting. Its purpose is to provide a concise description and summary of the book you have written – including any plot twists or surprise endings.

If you want your manuscript to be given serious consideration by literary agents and/or publishers, it is crucial that you include a well-written, concise synopsis as part of your submission. There are several websites and blogs that provide information about writing an effective synopsis. The Publishing Crawl blog also includes a useful list of guidelines.

Tagged Image File Format (.tiff)

A standard graphic format for the storage of high-resolution (greater than 72 dpi) scanned images that can be imported into a page layout program.


A pre-formatted document that is protected from overwriting and can be used repeatedly to create new documents.

Text Block

Pages containing the content of a book (text, illustrations, etc.).


A solid color that has been screened back less than 100% to create a lighter shade of that particular color.

Title Page

The page at or near the front of a book that lists the title, author, publisher, date, etc.


Imaging material used in laser printers, copiers, and other electrophotographic devices.


An effect applied to an object that causes it to appear transparent and allows objects below it to show through. A common Transparency is the drop shadow(reference drop shadow).

Layers in files will become transparencies when converted to PDF.

Transparencies cause white blocks or washed out colors when printed. The best practice is to flatten layers in all files when converting to PDF or right before converting to PDF.

Trim Size

The size of a page/book after it has been trimmed.


To transfer a file from your computer to a website, like


Products, such as hardcover, illustrated, and limited edition books, designed for collectors and upscale consumer


Slight deviation or difference from the original form. In printing there is a possible difference from book to book or run to run of books. There is an acceptable 1/8th inch variance as well as an acceptable color variance.

Word Document Docx (.docx)

Default file type for Microsoft Word 2007 and later. This Document type is a different format than the previous .doc file type.

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