Preparation of Print Ready Files

Whether you’re wanting to go with print on demand, offest printing or ebooks, you’ll need to have properly prepared PDF files. This preparation is at the core of a good publishing service. 

Exporting a PDF from a Word document of your manuscript is not a wise option. The Word document needs to be first imported into Indesign typesetting and prepared with close attention to detail. Frontmatter needs to be typeset, inner and outer margins need to be set up, ‘widows’ and ‘orphans’ need to be dealt with and, where relevant, a table of contents needs to be set up. 

Preperation of a table of contents can be intimidating for those with minimal Indesign experience

An ISBN number needs to be assigned to your book. This is the product identification number used globally to identify your book and generate its barcode. We purchase our ISBN numbers in bulk, allowing us to supply them to you at a cheaper rate when preparing your files than you would overwise have to pay. 

Illustrations and photographs may need to be digitally acquired, that is, scan or photograph them. Whether supplied physically or digitally, they’ll more than likely need some degree of preperation work in Photoshop before importing into the Indesign file. With over twenty years experience working with these software packages, Rack and Rune know the pitfalls and work around that typically pop up enroute to preparing print-ready files.

Illustrations and photographs will almost certainly need some pre work in Photoshop

There’s also the all important cover files. There are strict parameters that need to be met and each printing company may have slightly different requirements. A cover prepared to be printed through IngramSpark will have a slightly different spine width when printed through Amazon’s KDP Publishing. The book’s ISBN number and barcode need to be placed correctly and the title needs to be easily read.

There are particular requirements in the preparation of cover files that may vary from one printer to the other.

Print on Demand (POD)

Print on demand (POD) is unambiguously the future of publishing. While traditional publishing produces print runs of thousands of books at a time, print on demand has books printed only when they are ordered. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Unit costs are significantly less with a bulk print run. However, large numbers of books often go to waste. This is particularly the case for first time publishers. How often have you heard the story of the person who has a garage full of unsold copies of their book? The whole idea of print on demand is that your book is only printed as it’s needed.

There are now many POD printers out there. But at Rack and Rune, we focus on just the two with the widest reach: IngramSpark and Amazon’s KDP.  IngramSpark is the POD arm of Lightning Source, the world’s largest book distributor. Its distribution network is so large that even Amazon uses them for global distribution. By enabling global distribution with IngramSpark, your book will be available in all the major online booksellers around the world. Although listing through IngramSpark will make your book available on Amazon, the nature of how Amazon’s algorithms work mean that you will get better results on their platform if the book is also loaded through Amazon’s KDP publishing arm.

POD is ideal for novels, anthologies, memoirs, textbooks and chilfren’s picture books.

Offset Printing

There are some books where print on demand isn’t appropriate. This is particularly the case with large scale picture books of 150-200 pages where the cost of POD becomes prohibitive.  In these situations, offset printing is the best option. Offset printing is only viable with print runs of 500 or more. The file preparation is identical to that required for POD and there are further options that open up to you such as printing on the end pages or adding metallic ink to the cover.


Once your manuscript has been prepared for printing, it’s a simple process to convert it to an ebook. There are two styles of ebook: reflowable and fixed layout. Reflowable allows for the pages to adapt based on the size of the screen, much like modern websites. It is the preferred option when producing novels, anthologies, memoirs, etc.  Fixed layout ebooks are more appropriate for books that require illustration. Each page is treated as a graphic file and remains the same whatever the size or shape of the screen.

Ebooks are the cheapest way to publish your book and have the added benefit that, should you sell them through your own website, you are able to hold all proceeds for yourself with no retailer taking a cut.


Audiobooks are becoming more popular than ever before. However, they are comparatively expensive to produce as they require a professional voiceover artist to spend considerable time in a recording studio followed by many hours editing.

Each chapter must be a separate file and they must all be prepared to meet particular specifications before they can be uploaded to Audible.

At Rack and Rune we have access to some of the most experienced voice over artists available and have the expertise to complete your audiobook with a minimum of fuss.