Publishing Glossary

It can be quite daunting to come into the publishing world and find all these acronyms or phrases that you’re unsure of. So, we’ve created a glossary (that will constantly be updated!) to help you out.

Acquisition: Taking on a book, agreeing contract and rights
AI: Advance Information
ARC: Advanced reading copy, proof or galley

Backlist: Previously published books still in print
Bibliographic data: Product information: ISBN, price, publishing data, etc
Big Five: Main publishers – formerly the Big Six. Penguin Random House (both in Big Six prior to merger), Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster
Binding: How the printed work becomes a bound book
Blurb: Summary of text, usually on the back of a book
BookScan: Measures and analyses sales and consumer behaviour (Nielsen BookScan)

Catalogue: Booklet on upcoming releases, often annual or twice yearly
CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Printing term
Contract: Legally binding agreement
Copy: Text or content
Copy-edit: Checking text or content for errors and changes to be corrected
Copyright: Legal right that grants exclusive rights for its use and distribution

Distributor: Who holds books – printers deliver to them, and wholesalers receive books from them
DPI: Dots Per Inch
DRM: Digital Rights Management

EANS: European Article Number. 13 digit number under barcode
Embargo: Date and time in place before something can be sold, reported on, etc
Endmatter: Material in the back of a book after the text
Epub: Standard ebook format

Folio: Page number printed
Footer: Text running along the bottom of pages

Gratis: Free
Gutter: Blank space between columns or the fold between pages

Hard copy: Physical version
Hi-res: High resolution
House style: Spelling and punctuation guide for the company for all to adhere to in editorial process
HTML: Hyper Text Mark-up Language. A type of coding

Imprint: a publisher can have a number of ‘imprints’, publishing different genres from the ‘main’ company (Lasag – Sandstone’s Gaelic imprint, Contraband – Saraband’s crime one)
IP: Intellectual Property. Intangible property that is the result of creativity, such as patents, copyrights, etc
ISBN: International Standard Book Number. Identifier for books

Justified: Text typeset to be flush to both margins

Kerning: Reducing the space between text to improve how it looks/fits

List: Books a publisher has available to purchase, or soon to be published
Literary agent: Represents authors

Manuscript: First draft submitted by an author
Mark-up: Indicate changes needed during proofing and copy-editing stage
Mass market: Small paperback edition of a book
Metadata: Data that describes other data
MSS: Manuscript

Nielsen: Measures and analyses sales and consumer behaviour (Nielsen BookScan)

OOS: out of stock
OP or OOP: out of print
Orphan: First line of sections starting on the last line of a page/column. Try to avoid this

Paperback: More flexible book cover
Perfect binding: Books bound with glue
POD: Print On Demand
Print run: Number of books printed in a batch
Proof: Printed version of book to check for corrections
Pulp: To destroy books

Ream: 500 sheets of paper
Reprint: New print run
Resolution: Image quality
Royalty: Payment to author for every copy of their book(s) sold
RUC: Reprint Under Consideration

Sans serif fonts: Fonts without serifs, like Arial
SBT: Scottish Book Trust
Serialisation: Extracts licensed to and published in magazines or newspapers
Serif fonts: Fonts with serifs, like Garamond, Georgia, Times New Roman
Slush pile: the collection of unsolicited manuscript submissions to a publisher

TI: Title Information

USP = Unique Selling Point

VAT: Value Added Tax

Widow: Short last line of paragraph/section on the top line of a page or column

XML: eXtensible Markup Language. Used largely for ebook coding