Is PDF to Book for me?

Our PDF to Book workflow was created for people who have experience using advanced book layout tools.

If you are using Adobe® InDesign®, Blurb offers a plug-in that streamlines the book creation process.

If you are new to book layout we suggest downloading Blurb BookSmart®, our free and easy-to-use book-making software.

Understanding Blurb's Templates

Print print

Our templates use several standard book-making terms to guide your design, and we have specific definitions for each aspect of your book that explain what you’ll get from Blurb’s PDF to Book workflow.

Blurb provides three different cover options:

  • Hardcover book with a dust jacket: Has durable library binding and 8 pt. black linen hardcover cases with a laminated four-color dust jacket, which has front and back flaps. The dust jacket is customizable on the front and back covers and the flaps. Dust Jacket books can also be upgraded with our ProLine linens. There is no printing on the linen hardcover case beneath the jacket or on the inside of the cover.
  • Hardcover book with ImageWrap: Has an image printed directly on the front and back of the hardcover, a durable matte finish, and library binding. Text can also be printed on the front and back covers. ImageWrap does not have flaps. We call it ImageWrap because the cover image edge/bleed area is wrapped around the cover and tucked under the end papers on the back of the covers.
  • Softcover book: Has durable perfect binding and four-color, 10 pt. covers with an overlaminate finish. Printing is done on the front cover, back cover, and spine of the book, and there are no flaps.

Our templates use several standard book-making terms to guide your design, and we have specific definitions for each aspect of your book that explain what you’ll get from Blurb’s PDF to Book workflow.

The templates also show guidelines for:

  • Dust jacket flaps: Wrap around the edges of a hardcover dust jacket book, and can be customized with brief text.
  • Spine: Can be customized with your book title and imagery on all of our cover types.

Use the template that matches your selected paper type:

  • Standard Paper: Commercial-quality 80# semi-matte stock, available for all book sizes and widths except for Pocket and Trade books. Pocket and Trade sizes are printed on 60# (90 GSM) uncoated stock: a cream-colored paper for black and white text-based books or white paper for four-color books.
  • Premium Paper: 100# text, about 35% heavier than our Standard Paper, comes in two finishes (lustre or matte), available for all book sizes except for Pocket and Trade. Premium Paper is available for books of 240 pages or less.
  • ProLine Pearl Photo Paper: Made for use in high-end photo books, this 140# (190 GSM) paper has a slightly glossier finish than our Premium Lustre Paper and is slightly heavier than our other papers.
  • ProLine Uncoated Paper: This archival-quality 100# (148 GSM) paper has an eggshell-textured, uncoated finish.

The templates are specifically designed for each unique paper type. Be sure to use the correct template for your paper type, cover type, and page count.

These printing considerations apply to your cover PDFs and your page PDFs:

  • Trim line: Indicates where the cover and pages end and where the paper is cut to your specified book size, such as a 10 x 8 Standard Landscape hardcover book, for the hardcover with dust jacket and softcover options. On the ImageWrap book, the trim line shows where the image will be wrapped around the edge of the cover. Any images, graphics, or text placed beyond this line will bleed off of the page, be trimmed off, and not in your printed and bound book. Also, because of variations in the manufacturing process, trim can fluctuate up to 1/16” on any edge.
  • Bleed line: Bleed is simply space beyond the actual cover or page trims that allows you to place images and graphics that extend/bleed off the page. To print properly, your final exported PDF must include the bleed allowance. Any text or images that appear in your design between the trim line and the bleed line will not actually print in your final book.
  • Safe text boundary: Indicates where you can insert text and images and be sure that they will not be trimmed too close to the edge or bound into the gutter. Any and all critical content, like text, should be kept within the safe area. In the templates, this boundary is a grey box that extends to within a 1/4” [0.6 cm] of the edge of your book; that 1/4” [0.6 cm] space is a safety margin to allow for any small discrepancies when the pages are printed, cut, and bound. If this sounds confusing we recommend using our templates to ease the burden of all these specifics.
  • Dust jacket fold line: Shows on the dust jacket template where the back and front flaps will fold.
  • Dust jacket fold over allowance: Shows the 1/4” [0.6 cm] strip of the dust jacket that actually wraps around the edge of the cover of the book; it’s neither on the front nor the back of your dust jacket, but on the narrow side of the hardcover edge. We recommend extending artwork from the front of the dust jacket across the fold lines to this fold over allowance line.

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