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Confused about paper?  Here’s our second segment of terms for first-time authors; this time we define some common paper terms you’re sure to run into when you produce a book.

Basis weight:  Basis or basic weight refers to the weight, in pounds, of a 500 sheets (ream) of paper cut to a given standard size for that particular paper grade. Common book text weights are 50#, 60#, 70#, and sometimes 80# text.

Caliper:   The measurement of the thickness of the paper.  This is listed on the online quote now.

Coated Papers:  Paper that has been coated with clay and other substances for a smooth printing surface and improved ink holdout.  Cast, gloss, dull and matte are four major categories.

Covers:  For softcover books, we offer a few standard options for book covers, C1S in two weights, 10 and 12 point.

C1S and C2S– Acronyms for Coated One Side and Coated Two Sides paper stock, used for covers for softcover books.  C1S refers to stock that is coated on one side.  We offer a 10 pt (point) and 12 pt, with a 12 pt slightly heavier and more durable.

Caliper is the measurement of the thickness of the paper.

Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.

Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.

Digital Papers: papers designed and manufactured specifically for digital presses.  They usually have a special coating that allows ink to adhere to the surface.  If you specify a paper, be sure it is digitally compatible with the particular piece of digital equipment used – such as I-gen, HP, etc…

NaturalA term to describe papers that have a color similar to that of wood, also called cream, off-white or ivory.

Opacity:  The translucency of the paper, that is, does ink show through to the other side of the sheet? The thicker the paper, the less likely it will show through.

Offset paper:  Term used for uncoated paper generally used for books.

PPI  (pounds per inch):  The method used to calculate the spine thickness.

Text:  The interior of the book, printed on a lighter weight paper.  Text can also refer to a type of paper.

Uncoated paper: Paper that has not been coated with clay.  Sometimes called offset papers.

Printing is one of those industries with a lot of terms to know!  Bleeds, trim size, full ink coverage, 4-color, 4/0, 4/4, lamination…. It goes on and on. Not to mention those elusive paper terms like text paper, cover paper, PPI, basis weight, etc…

To help out our first time authors, we put together a quick reference guide of commonly used terms in the book printing industry:

Binding : Any finishing operation following the printing including cutting, collating, folding, drilling and other finishing operations.

Bleed : Any element that extends past the edge of the printed piece.

Book Block : Folded signatures gathered, sewn and trimmed, but not yet covered.

Casewrap or case binding: A type of binding used in making hard cover books with adhesive.

Crop marks: Small printed lines around the edges of a printed piece indicating where it is to be cut out of the sheet.

4 color process : A system where a color image is separated into different color values (cyan, magenta, yellow and black or CMYK) by the use of filters and screens.
      4/0: Four process colors on one side of the sheet only.
      4/4: Four process colors on both sides of the sheet.

End Sheet: Sheets that attach to the inside pages of a case bound book to its cover. Also called end papers.

Lamination: Applying thin transparent plastic sheets to both sides of a sheet of paper, providing scuff resistance, waterproofing and extended use. Matte and gloss are available.

Perfect binding: A binding process where the signatures of a book are held together by a flexible adhesive.

Show -through: Printing on one side of the sheet that can be seen on the other side. (generally want to avoid)

Trim Size: The final size of the printed piece after it has been cut and trimmed.

We’ll cover Paper Terms in our next segment, Part II.

An offset press at our St. Louis facility.

An offset press at our St. Louis facility.

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