Printing your book

Remember that all the advice we have given you before is relevant but printing a book requires some special attention to the inside layout of it and also to the cover.

We strongly recommend that you first create a strong demand for your book by publishing it as an eBook before you invest the large amount of money needed to print a book.

Professional typesetter and cover designer


If you are planning to print your book you will need to use the services of a professional typesetter and cover designer to prepare your book for print.

A typesetter uses a software program such as Adobe InDesign and will take your edited files (prepared by the copy-editor) and lay them out in designed page proofs. Before you begin the project you will need to agree on the design or layout of the book with the typesetter or commission a book designer to create a design for the typesetter to use. A typesetter

  • follows technical specifications to produce a book (size of pages, size of book, use of colour, design).
  • combines the text and illustrations and produces proofs (unbound book pages).
  • implements all proof corrections at various stages, including the corrections from the final proofread.
  • delivers the final print-ready material (proofs and pdfs) to you on completion.

A print cover also has a back cover and a spine and must have the ISBN and a bar code on it. These are usually placed on the back cover. Be sure to get the InDesign files as well as the pdf from the designer on completion of the job. You may need to make changes to your cover at a much later stage (to the spine width for example). It is not the cover designer’s responsibility to keep an archive of your files (or to keep a back up of them).

For printed books the ISBN must also be placed on the back cover together with its bar code (the bar code is created from the 13-digit ISBN).

Here is a handy checklist to use when you are finalising your cover.

Cover checklist Yes/No
Is the title correct?
Is your name spelt correctly?
Do the author details and title match those on your title page inside the book?
Has the correct font type and font size been used?
Is the resolution of the cover image correct? (Look carefully at the image, it should not be pixelated or blurry.)
Is your cover legible and striking even in a thumbnail size?
Do you have copyright for the image? If not, has permission been obtained?
Is the acknowledgement listed correctly?
Have you obtained permission for multiple use, for example, both print and digital or for multiple languages.
Is the format correct? (Make sure you know what the size is and check also that this does indeed match the size of the inside of the book for the print edition.)
Is the spine width correct according to extent (print edition)?
Is the text on the spine correct (title, author) (print edition)?
Does the text on the spine run in the correct direction i.e. top to bottom (print edition)?
Is the spacing between word groups on the spine even and pleasing (print edition)?
Have you checked the synopsis on the back cover carefully (print edition)?
Is the ISBN and barcode correct (print edition)?
Does the ISBN on the back cover match the ISBN on the imprint page (print edition)?

Getting it printed


If you wish to print your book we recommend that you use a small digital printer and print on demand. This will allow you to print the few copies that you need when you need them. Using a standard printing company should be used only for very large print runs and if you have a storage facility or distribution warehouse to store your books. It is a good idea to confirm the print specifications for the printer you wish to use since these may vary slightly from printer to printer. Be sure to pass these on to your typesetter before they prepare your final print-ready pdf files.

We recommend that you get at least 3 quotes from the same kind of printers (e.g. digital printers) and make sure you include the details of what you will supply to them i.e. print ready pdfs of the text (insides) and cover. You will also need to supply the specifications of your book such as size, page extent, colour, paper, binding, print quantity and delivery address.



Typesetters and cover designers

Advanced Design Group
Contact: Clinton Arendse


Phone: 021 981 1782


Baseline Publishing Services

Contact: Jenny Wheeldon


Phone: 021 685 5363


Firelight Studio

Contact: Scott McGregor


Phone: 021 422 3227


Flame Design

Contact: Daniel Jansen van Vuuren


Phone: 021 462 3660 or 082 782 7941


Ink Design Publishing Solutions

Email: or

Phone: 021 705 0933


Jigsaw Graphic Design and Layout

Contact: Richard Jones


Phone: 012 662 4251 or 083 3093804

You can also find a list of cover designers recommended by Smashwords here: Mark’s List


Digital printers

Novus Holdings Digital Printing


Phone: 021 550 2500


Bidvest Data Digital Book Printing


Phone: 021 935 3300


Print on Demand Book Publishing (Self Publishing)


Phone: 021 951 1464