Printing Bound Galleys? Here Are the Typical Specs

Along with custom book printing, we also print bound galleys, or as some folks call them, ARCs (advanced reader copies). We work with over 1,000 publishers at Bookmobile, and it really seems like each of our clients prints their bound galleys a little different from the others. But! There are some general guidelines.

What are the typical specs we see when we’re printing bound galleys?

Most of the bound galleys we print and bind have the specifications below, AND these are also the specs we’ll assume for your bound galley printing (unless you specify otherwise):

  • A black-and-white interior on 50 lb. uncoated white stock.
  • A 4-color cover on 10-pt. C1S white stock with no lamination.
  • Perfect bound.
  • No proofs (print or digital).
  • An ASAP turn.

Bound Galley Interiors

The majority of the bound galleys we print are black-and-white interiors.  Any color images or color inserts are usually converted to black ink only to save on cost. However, we do print 4-color interior galleys, and we can also print black-and-white interiors with a color insert. This all depends on the book, of course, and the publisher’s budget. Many publishers also send us publicity information pages to insert at the beginning of the front matter as well.

Bound Galley Covers

We hardly ever see a black-ink-only bound galley cover anymore (a black-and-white cover on colored card stock was the norm maybe ten years ago, but not any longer). Most bound galleys have a color cover, and the spine and back cover is black and white. Most front covers include a tag that says “Uncorrected Proof: Not for Resale” (we can add this for you—just let us know).

There’s a very wide range in the design of bound galley covers. The majority of covers are given to us in three files: a PDF of the color front cover, a black-and-white PDF of the spine copy (which usually includes the publication date), then a black-and-white PDF of the back cover (which is usually just marketing and contact information). Some covers use just a thumbnail of the front cover art centered on a white background, while other covers are fully designed with the artwork wrapping around to the back cover. Not only does it depend on the publisher, but I suspect it also depends on how much time a production department has—it seems like some marketing and publicity departments have to put together the bound galley covers on their own, while others are lucky enough to have their production department do a full-out design for the galley cover.

Perfect Binding

I’ve never seen a bound galley that’s not perfect bound. I’ve never seen a hardcover bound galley.

Bound Galley Proofs

Time is usually of the essence with bound galleys, and after all, bound galleys ARE themselves uncorrected proofs, so most publishers do not see proofs. If the trim size of your cover doesn’t match the interior size (a common error we see with bound galleys), we’ll let you know, as with any other major concerns. Digital or hard copy proofs will add on at least three business days to your schedule, so if you want your galleys quick, don’t ask for proofs.

ASAP Turn

With clean files and no proofs, we can turn a black-and-white interior bound galley in seven business days, and usually less than that. Need it quicker? Let me know and I’ll see what’s possible!

Quantity

There is a huge range in the quantities of bound galleys ordered at Bookmobile. We see a lot of orders for our minimum run, 25 copies, then a lot of mid-range quantities of 500 copies or so, then quite a few big runs of 2,000 copies of a galley. We archive the bound galley print files too, so you can always come back and reprint more as needed.

Shipping

Most bound galleys are shipped back to the publisher to mail out. For some publishers, we take care of the mailing here at Bookmobile, complete with adding letters or inserts to each copy.

Any other questions about printing bound galleys? Let me know! For pricing, please Request a Quote and I’ll get back to you in about 24 hours.