Category Archives: Pre Press

Getting Ready for Print-Ready PDF Orders

The components for a majority of the books we print come from a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. While some clients choose to take advantage of our professional design services, many design their own covers and interiors and generate their own PDFs, or hire a book designer to do it for them.

The majority of the interior files we see are generated in Microsoft Word and InDesign. We also see covers designed in Photoshop or Publisher. Here are some notes on getting ready to submit your print-ready PDF files to Gorham Printing.


Our Prepress Technician, Catherine, will review your print-ready PDFs

  • You are ready to generate your print file when your editing is complete.
  • Once you’ve converted your interior native file to a PDF, check every page closely. Each page should look exactly how you want it to print. Same goes for your cover.
  • If you have one (and not all books must), make sure your ISBN appears on your copyright page, and that that page contains all information you’d like to include.
  • We are not a publisher or an imprint. We will not modify your PDF without your consent. File modification requests are subject to hourly prepress rates.
  • Review our print-ready requirements. Not all printers are the same, so even if your book was printed elsewhere you’ll want to verify that your PDFs are set to what we need
  • Familiarize yourself with our proofing procedures to avoid surprises and production delays.
  • When you’re ready to upload your files, the fastest way is with our secure File Upload Tool. This is a secure third-party server that can accommodate up to 10GB at a time. You can also mail us a CD or a flash drive.
Please note: We cannot accept files via email, dropbox, or other outside file sharing services due to security concerns, file size limitations, and possible processing delays.

We want your experience at Gorham Printing to be as pleasant and stress-free as possible. Keeping these tips in mind when you’re getting ready to submit a print-ready PDF order will help make that a reality.


Color Management: Pro Tips from Our Printing Specialists

How to Get the Color You Want

Proofing is your friend! Adding a printed proof to your order is the sure-fire way to guarantee your color output is exactly what you want.

Making color adjustments in your file rather than adjusting color output on the printer is much safer in terms of consistent color management in future printings. If you receive a print proof and your colors did not print as expected, use the proof as a guide to adjust the colors in the program you’re treating your images in (Photoshop, for example).

Solid areas of non-textured color can be tricky for digital presses to print consistently. Unless a true solid is integral to your content, it is often beneficial to incorporate a slight texture to large areas of color.


Our print tech, Jason, trimming daily color calibration output


RGB is a color mode that uses red (R), green (G) and blue (B) light to create a spectrum of colors. Computer screens use RGB output to show color. CMYK is the acronym for the four-color printing process: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K). These are the four toners we use in our printers.

To achieve the richest color in your photographs and images, we recommend keeping the images in your print file in RGB. The print software will execute the conversion of RGB colors into CMYK colors as the printing occurs. Although output may not match the tones on your screen, it will result in a wider variation of color output and therefore a richer image.

If the content in your cover or interior involves a large, solid area of color (or grey), set up your files using CMYK. This will ensure stronger, more accurate color when printed.

Wonderful Color, Digital Style

Gorham Printing recently upgraded their color printers to newer, faster models for eye-popping color on interior pages of a book. Whether you have old family photos you want to keep in original sepia tones, or current digital camera images in bright techno-colors, Gorham Printing can give color images the treatment they deserve.

Some themes for color interiors include:

  • Art sketchbooks
  • Manuals with charts and graphs
  • Graphic novels
  • Cookbooks
  • Memoirs with photographs and documents
  • Children’s picture books

Digitally printed color-filled books, printed right here in western Washington, are an easy, affordable alternative to overseas printing — print up to 1000 books per order, with a minimum of 32 pages for a perfect bound book. Our standard stock is 60# white, but we also offer a more opaque 70# white and 80# white uncoated stock if you prefer a thicker stock.

Why a minimum of 32 pages?

A page count of 32 is a traditional standard for children’s picture books, for both early books with images on every page as well as for 7- to 11-year-old level titles, where images may be on every other page and include 500 to 1000 words of text. Additionally, our binding equipment requires the thickness of 32 pages to provide a quality trade paperback binding.

Do all pages have to be in color?

No! Our pricing is based on the exact number of color pages in your book. The sample charts on our website are calculated based all black and white or all color interior pages, but if you select “Prices” from the main menu then click “Calculate Price,” you can enter the exact specifications of your book, splitting out the number of black and white or color pages, and learn the price for your custom project instantly. Remember, page counts must be divisible by two.

Whether it’s a gift book of stories and photographs for friends and family, or a business book commercially sold, Gorham Printing makes a stunning, affordable color interior possible right here in the USA!

Free Guidebook on Self Publishing

Not much is free anymore, yet here is a perfect-bound (trade paperback) book with pricing and information any writer could use. Who’s giving away a free guidebook? Gorham Printing is, tucked away in southwest Washington, they are a manufacturer of dreams. Real dreams from the heart of people who have wanted to write the great American novel, author a self-help book, or the poet with a collection of sonnets and verse. For over thirty years Gorham Printing, a short-run book printer, has been churning out soft cover and hard cover books, of all genres, for authors and small publishers across the country.

Free 2014 guidebook available at

Free 2014 guidebook available at

What is a short-run book printer?

At Gorham Printing the minimum order is 25 copies of a book up to 2,000. Small only in size, with ten people full-time employees, this dedicated staff produces giant size professional quality and customer service for their clients. Kurt Gorham, owner, has created an environment of knowledge and expertise in Centralia, Washington, where thousands of book are designed and printed every year. This is an all-digital shop, producing books in black and white and full color. An author can place an order for one hundred books to be used as gifts, advance review copies, or for immediate marketing and selling in various venues.

Order Your Free Guidebook!

On the Gorham Printing website, there are various click points for ordering a free copy of their informative guidebook which includes pricing and details about producing a book-industry standard book. The guidebook is also a sample of the standard text and copy stock used at Gorham Printing. Get your copy today.

Does the Size Matter?

When you look at a shelf of books, what sizes seem consistent, what size stands out? When you imagine your book in your hands, what trim size is it? Industry book standards such as 5.5 x 8.5” and 6 x 9” are not arbitrary numbers. Research was done to find the best use of parent sheets of paper to create minimum waste during production. A square book size of 6 x 6” will print in a 6×9” format with special cuts, creating additional wasted paper.

printerBooks can be printed in a number of ways: sheet fed offset, roll fed offset, and many different varieties of digital printing. The method of production is typically based on the quantities needed for that order. Digital sheet fed printing is most often used for shorter runs of twenty-five copies even up to 2000 with today’s equipment. Sheet feed offset usually takes over for higher quantities and for long-run print runs to keep the cost per book down. Roll fed offset is the most cost effective.

For this discussion let’s use the scenario of a 500-book order, printed digitally, sheet fed. For most printers, paper is bought by skids in what is known as parent size. Two common parent sizes are 25 x 38” and 23 x 35.” If your book is 5.5 x 8.5”, it would likely be printed on stock that started as 23 x 35.” If the book is 6 x 9,” it would most likely be printed from 25 x 38.” These sizes give you the best cut out of the parent sheets with the least amount of waste and still allow for finish trimming.

So what if your desired size is 6 x 8”? It would be printed from the 25 x 38” parent size which means the 6 x 9” paper expense as well as the possibility for additional charges for a non standard size. Any trim size larger than 5.5 x 8.5” would be printed on the larger parent sheet. Book trimming is typically done with a 3-knife trimmer, cleanly cutting all three sides of the book for the finished trim. With non-standard book sizes, some book printers may not be able to use their 3-knife cutter and would charge for the specialty cuts.

That might not be the case if your book is printed on different equipment or the bindery is able to adjust to a non standard size without time loss. Check with your book printer before you do the final page layout to find the most cost effective approach for the production of your book.

The Down side of Dustjackets

Printing books today is completely different than it was even ten years ago. With current digital printing equipment, the necessity for large offset print runs to keep the per-unit price down is not the factor today as it was in years past. Cost effective short runs are now easy to booksachieve in most instances.

But if you want a hardcover book with a dustjacket in a short print run, the cost of the dustjacket becomes prohibitively high. Why is that? Most of the digital printers, toner based, are limited to 19” long with the exception of the Xerox iGen which can handle a cover sheet 22.5 long. A dustjacket for an 8.5 x 11 hardcover book with 4” flaps will end up being about 28” long.

Now you are faced with either having the dustjacket offset printed or perhaps printing on a wide format ink jet. Both end up being quite expensive. Full color offset printing on that size could run in excess of $500.00. If you’re only printing 100 books, this equates to an additional $5.00 per book. Wide format inkjet is an option but sheet to sheet registration is a problem, meaning that each individual dustjacket may need to be hand trimmed which is time consuming and expensive, not to mention that inkjet consumables are quite high.

What are the alternatives? First, consider not having a dustjacket. Unless the book is sitting on the shelf at a bookstore, and you are using the dustjacket as a sales tool, there may be no need for the dustjacket. After all, the reader can find them cumbersome when the book is in their hands and the dustjacket continues to slide around and just be in the way. They get creased or torn easily. Plus you have the cost of the cloth or leather material and foil stamping underneath the dustjacket.

The best alternative would be having a printed and laminated cover. This is like a coffee-table book, a full-color cover laminated and glued to the cover board. Printed and laminated books are becoming quite popular for memoirs and books filled with photographs. This type of binding is less expensive than having a dustjacket as the cover does not require such a long sheet due to end-flaps. You have the joy and expression of the full color cover with less expense for a hard cover book. It’s the best of both worlds.

How to Use Page Numbers in Microsoft Word

Many of our customers choose to submit ready to print PDFs for their books. Of this group, many will design their books using Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is technically not a design program. At Gorham Printing, we use Adobe InDesign for all of our book design.

While we don’t suggest using Microsoft Word for book design, we know many of you will use it anyway! In this post, I’ll give some tips and instructions on how to make your page numbers look good, if you plan to design your book with Microsoft Word.

Books (as ready to print PDFs) have come to me with no page numbers, with page numbers only on the even or odd side, with page numbers that don’t line up front-to-back. If you think I’m talking about your book, I assure you yours isn’t the only one I’ve seen!

The most common problem, however, is when all page numbers fall on the right-hand side of the page. This causes even numbered (left-hand) pages to have their page number fall towards the spine. These page numbers can be difficult to find, as they are not intuitively where the reader expects. It may not seem important compared to your book’s content, but such a faux pas can give your book away as a first time effort. A reader might draw the conclusion that since the book design wasn’t given much thought, the writing wasn’t, either. Let’s make sure your readers get the right impression!

Word doesn’t act as if you are designing a book to be opened – it acts as if you are designing a packet of individual pages. I’m going to show you how to edit your page numbers so that evens and odds each fall on the outside, like a book.

In Microsoft Word, select View > Header and Footer. This will give you a dotted-line box at the top and bottom of your pages that you can type or insert page numbers in, and should also bring up a blue box/window/menu with Header and Footer options.

This is what the blue pop-up box should look like. The “Page Setup” menu is the third icon from the right on the top row.

In the blue pop-up box, select the icon that resembles an open book. This brings you to the “Page Setup” menu. In the “Page Setup” menu, select the “Layout” tab. In the “Layout” menu, simply check the box that says “Different odd and even”.

Select “Different odd and even.”

If you already had page numbers, this will eliminate the page number on the even numbered pages. Copy and Paste, from the odd page header, the page number and anything else you have in the header which you wish to include on the even pages (you may have a bar or a graphic). Highlight the even page header, and change the alignment (next to the font info on your top menu bar) to Left Align, rather than Right Align.

Left Align

Congratulations! Your page numbers are in place! Now you can make a PDF and send it to us for proofing and printing.