Hardback book set-up guides


Why use In Design for print?

InDesign will be the easiest program to use when you are preparing artwork for a hardback book. You can also use Scribus, Affinity Publisher or Canva. Word or Publisher would work too but are a lot more cumbersome.

We appreciate that this process is complicated so it is best to allow a few extra days before the job goes to print in order to set up the artwork correctly for a hardback book and to give us time to fine-tune your files. We also recommend taking 5 minutes to read through our step by step file set up pages. The guides will make the process much easier and will answer 99% of the questions you may have.

Why supply files correctly?

If you have a crucial deadline to hit then back and forth with the artwork will cause a delay. Supplying files correctly first time round means your job can go straight on our press and will arrive on time.

A quick 10 minute video guide to help choosing materials, finishes and options.

Ultimately, to print your book we need four files please.


File 1.

The outer cover file is a flat spread based on our hardback cover guide which you can download here.  There will be a spine through the centre - the size is dependent on the number of pages you have.  The cover file is slightly trickier for a hardback book because you have to include scope for the sections which are folded round the spine and the extra flaps that tuck round the hard back case. On our guide, the green areas are the flat panels of the book cover and spine so should contain your main cover artwork.  The purple areas will be on the folds or partially hidden sections when the cover is glued on so keep any important information out of them. The purple areas work best as a continuation of your background colour or image if you have any since they are partially visible.  This video guide depicts this a little more clearly: https://youtu.be/Hpp9BvKOX7Q

File 2.
If you would like the endpapers printed then you could supply a pattern or solid colour for those. The front endpapers: This a two-page file with two double-page spreads at twice the width of your text pages. Page 1 is the reverse of the endpaper so keep the right-hand half of that page blank because it's glued to the inside cover.  Page 2 is the first spread when you open the book's cover. Download the template guide here (this is for A5 but you can follow it for any size and adjust the measurements accordingly)

File 3.
The back endpapers. Again, this a two-page file with two double-page spreads at twice the width of your text pages. Page 1 is the reverse of the endpaper so keep the left-hand half of that page blank because it's glued to the inside back cover. Page 2 is the last spread before you close the book's back cover. Download the guide here.

File 4.
The inside text pages - your main content.  This is supplied as single pages rather than spreads and in reading order.  Our video guide showcases many page layout ideas that really work for children's books, photography books and high end coffee table books.


Download your hardback cover guide and front and back endpaper templates here.


All files need crop marks and 3mm bleed, please. When you export from Indesign to pdf choose PDFX/1A.  You can choose this from the top drop down menu when you export to PDF. We won't go to print with the bleed so adding it from the start saves time.

Ready to place an order?

Brilliant! You'll need to upload the files using We Transfer and in the comments box let us know the number of copies you're going for and where you would like us to deliver the job to. We'll then give your artwork a free preflight check to highlight any potential issues and will email with any advice or recommendations before going to production. Of course, do send over a work in progress file a few days before if you prefer so we can hit the ground running when your job goes ahead.
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