Layout Greavings

Hi everybody,

I thought I pass along the current state of affairs with our journey to a printed book. Tedious, to say the least. Last night, I received yet another rejection of the print files from RPGNow. The cover has now been accepted – which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the latest info that was passed along by the system will result in a rather unexpected work-over.

To sum it up, these changes had to be done in the first two reviews:

  • Change the color to 240% CMYK ink limit for all graphics.
    No biggie. Spend some time recoloring and reformatting and this can be done in a reasonable amount of time. As a side effect, the graphics will also appear brighter in the finished product.
  • Recalculate bleed areas
    The bleed areas for LS need to be “exactly” and I really do mean “exactly” 3mm (0.125″) or they will not process the book files. Again, no biggie. This can be corrected rather quickly and the next export (after half an hour or so) will show the expected results.




  • Remove any graphics between content area and page border
    This is bad! LS refuses prints that have content outside the safe area. Even if I am willing to take the risk of clipping effects, the printer will not go through with the run. This means significant changes to the layout that is currently used in the PDF. The following changes will have to be implemented for the printed book:

    • Page number icons move up by 1″, thereby forcing changes to the page layouts. There is now less room for content, so some pages that carry a lot of information will need to be rearranged. In a few cases this means inserting a new page which propagates changes to all upcoming content.
    • Decorative corners will need to be dropped as they occupy the space between content area and page border.
    • The same goes for page tabs
      Those nifty little tabs that tell you where you are when quickly browsing the book are a no-go. Same goes for the hints that appear on some pages.

After successfully completing print runs with other companies, I must say that Lightning Source – the official printer for RPGNow – has the most restrictive policies regarding document conformity. When I can understand that over ink is an issue that arises with certain printing techniques, it is not really understandable why they would refuse decorative content which is expected to display some planned clipping in the final product. But here goes nothing….

In order to keep the document bases in line, the above outlined changes will also take effect in the PDF-files once the preflight goes through at the printer. After all, a printed book is the objective here! And I am still 100% certain that once it’s done, it is going to be a really nice book to have.


Back to the cutting room !