POD Glossary Print Friendly and PDF



This is the place where you can tip your hat to everyone who has helped with your book, influenced your life, etc. While acknowledgements and the dedication are different, many authors choose one over the other or sometimes list many of the same people in both. For example, you may want to acknowledge your spouse for putting up with your late nights, cussing and mental breakdowns while penning your book, but then dedicate the book to him/her as well (to stay out of the dog house).

Advance Copy

Advance reading copies (ARCs) are typically bound copies of a book before the final version is sent to press. The formatting, cover, etc. usually aren’t the same as the final version since ARCs are usually created for reviewers, libraries, bookstores, etc. Some publishers now use galleys for this purpose.


As the name implies, this constitutes the final remarks and thoughts of the author at the end of the book and usually ties up any loose ends. Part of the back matter (see below).


This usually contains supplemental material and is normally found at the end of the book. Some authors, however, include an appendix at the end of each chapter.


Back Matter

Also commonly known as end matter (and good for the gray matter), this can include the afterword, index, glossary, appendixes, etc. at the end of the book.


Something we do after an author makes numerous changes. Oh, and when we’re working on a book, you’ll hear us refer to a “bleed” or “bleed area.” This refers to printing that goes beyond the trim area. On covers, bleeds ensure that background colors, graphics, etc. fill the entire “live” area.


Part of the back matter, this lists books, articles and other reference material the author used while writing the book.


Refers to the way the book is held together. Authors and publishers often refer to soft cover (softcover), paperback, hard cover (hardcover), cloth bound, casebound, comb bound and saddle stitched.


Blog is short for weblog and is an online journal with reflections, commentary, etc. and often allows readers to comment on the posts. This is a great resource for authors to promote their writing, book signings, etc. and gives you a chance to show readers a different side of you (if you so choose).

Book Block

The entire interior of the book, such as the front matter, chapters and end matter.

Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore

A “physical” bookstore, as opposed to sellers who only have an online presence.



The four ink colors that combine together in varying proportions to produce a full color, printed image. Stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).

Content Editing

Editing for organization, structure and style.


Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, etc.


The ownership of intellectual property, giving the right to retain or sell copies.


The caption or indentifying text of a photo or illustration.



Part of the front matter, this is your chance to score some points by honoring the folks who inspired your book.


A definite “no-no,” this is a written or verbal attack on a person’s reputation. “Libel” is the written defamation of character.


The layout and overall presentation of the cover and/or interior text of the book.


Reduced book price percentage offered to wholesalers, bookstores and other resellers.


Entity that purchases from a publisher and resells to retailers.

Digital proof

An electronic proof of the book and cover. Virtualbookworm sends pdf versions of everything to the author and requires them to sign off on the final version before it is printed.

Domain Name

A registered web site address, such as http://www.your-registered-domain-name.org.

DPI (Dots per Inch)

Stands for dots per inch and basically describes the resolution of an image. The higher the dpi, the better an image will reproduce.

Drop Shipping

Virtualbookworm drop ships (or fill and ships) the orders for our customers, meaning authors don’t have to worry about order processing or warehousing books.


eBook, ebook, e-book

Basically a book in electronic format. The more popular formats are .pdf, .mobi and Kindle.


Can be extremely confusing, but basically it’s the approximate width of the letter “m” and is used to measure spaces and dashes. It’s also twice the width of an en-measured space or dash.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Footnotes refer to text or notes at the bottom of a page. Endnotes are collected at the end of a chapter or work.



How the book is physically laid out using typefaces, styles, sizes, margin settings, etc.


Often misspelled as “forward,” this is part of the book’s front matter. An introduction of sorts, this is best written by an expert or someone other than the author.


The shipping and filling of book orders.



The category or kind of books, such as adventure, mystery or romance.


In case you’re curious, it stands for Graphics Interchange Format. This bitmap format is one of the formats used to display images on the internet. This compressed format is not suitable for printed material, such as a book, but is suitable for use on a website or blog.


Defintions of terms as pertaining to the book.

Grayscale (or greyscale, depending on your location in the world)

Images with a range of grays between white and black.


Hardcover Book

Book with vinyl or cloth covering a pasteboard/cardboard material. While these books are more durable, their production costs (and therefore retail price) are much higher than a softcover book.



Put simply, the “brand” or publisher name a book was issued under.


Part of the back matter, this is an alphabetical list of words or subjects in the book. The index gives a page number of location of the subject or word in the publication.


The International Standard Book Number. Identifies a book (or version) and is used to catalog and order.


JPEG file

Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a file format primarily used to display images on the Internet. When not compressed and at high resolution, such files can be used in books.


Setting text so each line is flush right and aligned.



Improving type appearance by adjusting the spacing between pairs of letters.



Rhymes with “Redding” and refers to the amount of space between lines of type.

List price

Full retail price of a book without discounts.



Originally referred to as the original handwritten version of a book, this is now commonly known as the version of the book prepared and submitted by the author.

Mass-Market Paperback

Often released long after a hardcover edition of a book, this is the smaller (often 4X7”) and less expensive version of the book found in supermarket checkout lines (next to the candy and tabloids).


Net receipts

Amount publisher receives after all discounts and printing production costs have been deducted.


Not the brand of a shoe (lame joke, I know), this refers to a specialized target market or groups based on a specific interest or hobby.


OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Scanning

The recognition of printed or written text by a computer using specialized software.

Offset Printing

The printing technique where the inked image is transferred from a plate to paper via a roller, one layer at a time.

Online Marketing

Promoting your book and “name” through the Internet.


The first line of a new paragraph that appears alone at the bottom of a page.



The numbering or order of pages in a book.

Paper stock

The paper used for the printing of a book.


A book bound with a flexible cover. Also called “softcover.”

PDF (Portable Document Format)

Created by Adobe Systems, this file format is now commonly used for printing since it can be reproduced accurately on different operating systems and printers.

Pen name

Also known as a pseudonym, this is the assumed name a writer uses.

Perfect binding

The process in which the edges of the book pages are ground to create a rough surface and adhesive applied. A cover is then wrapped around and a squared spine results.

Point size

The height of a letter, such as 12-point type or 14-point type.


Part of the front matter, these are introductory remarks giving a brief explanation of the book and the goal of its writing.

Print-on-Demand (POD)

Also known as publish on demand, this printing process allows books to be printed when orders are placed. Publishers who primarily use this process are often referred to as PODs or POD publishing companies.

Public domain

Material not protected by copyright.

Publication Date

Date when a book is officially released to the public.


Quality or Trade paperback

These books have a trim size larger than mass market paperbacks.



A right-hand page (typically odd-numbered).


Two-sided printing.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Profit made after the initial investment has been recouped.

Revised edition

A previously published book with updated and/or supplementary material.


The color model used by computers, scanners and digital cameras for display.


Amount an author receives for the sale of a book. Virtualbookworm authors received 50% of net receipts.

Running Header

Text at the top of a book page. Usually has the book title, chapter number, author, etc.


Saddle stitching

Binding of a booklet by stapling the center.

Serif/sans-serif Font

Serifs, such as Times New Roman, have curlicues or strokes at the end of the characters and are the best fonts to use for the body text. Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial and Helvetica, don’t have such “ornamentation” and are not recommended for body text since they tend to be more difficult to read for long periods of time.


Table of Contents

Part of the front matter, this lists the title and beginning page number of each chapter and can contain descriptive material.


Tagged Image File Format. A compressed-file format for graphic images.

Trade Paperback

A trade paperback is bound with a paper or heavy stock cover, usually with a larger trim size than that of a mass-market paperback. Compare Mass-Market Paperback.

Trim size

The finished size of a book after pages have been trimmed and folded.



A left-hand, typically even-numbered page.



This occurs when the last line of a paragraph appears alone at the top of a page.


Zip file

This has nothing to do with a ZIP disk and is a file that has been compressed using specialized software.