In this section:
95% of our new titles are published in the standard trade paperback format of H8.5xW5.5 inches, or H216xW140 mm.
We do not publish paperbacks with flaps on the cover or fold-out inside pages.
We've published every conceivable kind of variation in the past, but for the market we’re aiming at, standard formats work best.
There have to be very good reasons for doing something different. For example, it is one of a series in a different format, or you're a bestselling author whose previous titles have been in a different format.
We always have name and title on the spine. We do not prepare it, or the final cover, until the artwork and copy for the cover is finalized.
Our default cover finish is matt laminated (4/0 from compatible digital files on 240gsm 1-sided board). Matt is a little more expensive than gloss, but it is the preference for most authors and retailers. Covers with special finishes, embossing, cut-outs etc. are only practical if you're already selling in the tens/hundreds of thousands; it means much longer print runs, at different printers in North America and the UK.
The text is Palatino Linotype size 10pt, subheads are 11pt bold. It’s roughly 250-350 words a page, depending on dialogue etc., 34 available lines. With longer books, we may reduce the type size down to 9.5pt, particularly with fiction. Any smaller than that is getting a little hard to read for some. We use this because it is highly legible and at this size, and with various tweaks we have in the system in the letter spacing, it avoids hyphens. Plus an average of 11 words per line and the line spacing (leading) makes it flow better. Any more than 65 characters per line is hard on the eyes.
The Our Street imprint is for younger children, and those titles, if illustrated, are designed separately. If not illustrated, we use 11pt. Lodestone Books, for mid-teens up to 18, we use 10.5pt.
Virtually all our books are printed on 60gm Enso Novel 112 mic in the UK, and 50# Cream/Natural Offset 450 PPI text (equivalent 72.5gsm) in North America. It is a "cream" paper rather than white, which most authors prefer, though it’s slightly more expensive. The cover is 12 Pt C1S cover stock in both cases. We cannot get into detailed conversations about paper weights and finish, binding etc. If you’re worried about our production standards, look at the website, buy a few books – that’s how yours should look. Occasionally standards slip – it depends in part on how much work has gone into the book, how many corrections there have been, how late it’s running in the schedule, where it’s being printed, and whether it was published in the last year or two, or earlier. Overall, our standards of production are very good.
It does not matter if the page extent given in Book Details is not precisely accurate. We are often a few pages out, depending on late revisions, later endorsements, revised editions, and unless it runs to dozens of pages, it is not worth changing.
We publish virtually every title as an ebook as well as in print, but there are possible complications. See the section on Ebooks in Chapter 8.
As of 1st December 2021 we are including audiobooks in our contracts. Contracts signed prior to this do not include audiobooks. We will decide whether to produce an audiobook or not based on the initial sales of your book. The final decision on audiobook production is at our discretion, and will be made within six months of the publication of the print version of your title. If you are published prior to December 2021, then you can produce your own audiobook.
Color books. We almost never publish color books Paperbacks with color pictures are almost always impractical. For color throughout, it will multiply the cost and the retail price several times. It’s only necessary for high-volume books in areas like cookery and gardening. An inset section of color pictures can still double the cost of the production and the retail price. Hardbacks: We rarely publish hardbacks. Sales are almost always substantially lower. Bringing out a hardback and paperback at the same time confuses rather than helps, and divides by two your sales ranking on databases like Amazon. It is mostly "brand name" authors who get published first in hardback, and you would need to be with one of the Big Six publishers.
Novelty books/card decks: We rarely publish these. In the past we have produced dozens, hundreds of various packs, children's novelty books, calendars etc., and there are still a few on the list, but it is not really our market anymore. It is a specialist business, and you are either in it or not. Packs/sets we would still consider, but only if your sales in ordinary books have sold in tens of thousands. If there is additional material to the book you would like to make available, selling it from your website is the best option
We are as eco-friendly as we can get. Publishing is one of the most eco-unfriendly businesses on the planet, in relation to size. Partly because it uses paper (though it is becoming less dependent on that as digital sales increase), but more significantly because of the transport involved in getting books from printer to warehouse to shops, back to warehouse, out again, often with sea journeys involved. It is one of the few businesses where shops take in stock "free," which encourages returns Ideally, we would like to print all titles in short runs on recycled paper, but the technology is not there yet at a viable cost. Short-run print technology is improving all the time though, and a few years down the road the vast majority of all titles are going to be printed that way (or in single copies, on the spot of purchase, according to demand). In the meantime, printing short-run on FSC stock (Forest Stewardship Council), with no shipping, in hundreds, according to demand rather than speculative thousands, is more planet-friendly than printing long-run on recycled and shipping half of it across the Atlantic.
On occasion, we have been asked by authors to add logo certifications to our books, regarding the quality of paper used, but the agencies—unfortunately—make it rather complicated, because we sell in so many markets. The certification groups don't allow multiple logos on the same book because the materials guidelines are different for each country we print for. Operationally, it gets too complicated and would add too many costs – the important thing for authors to know is that we are eco-friendly and expect that of our partners, too.
We only consider new editions of titles if sales are in the tens of thousands, and even then we tend to find that new editions tend to muddy the waters with retailers and distributors.