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Book manufacturing and trade

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The author writes his book. It can do it on its own initiative or on order of a publisher. Once completed, the material is delivered in the form of manuscript to a publisher. If he offers it to several publishers, it can be considered as self-plagiarism. He has the ability to offer against another editor if the first publisher refused to publish his work.

From the author to the publisher

The manuscript is received by the publisher. The editor concludes a publishing contract with the author. This is what the publication called publishing to editor’s account. It gives rise, on the part of the author, no payment of money. The publisher, however, may pay an advance to the author, who represent an advance on the fees it will collect on sales of the book. This advance is usually “refundable”, that is to say that the author will receive money again from the publisher only after the advance has been “refunded” by the copyright . If, for example, the author is guaranteed a rate of 10% on net sales excluding tax on the sale of his book, he will receive for 1000 copies sold and a sale price excluding tax (without VAT, which is, for ex., 5.5% for books) 14 euros: 1000 x 14 x 10% = 1400 euros. Assume that the publisher has paid to the author at the signing of the contract a “refundable” advance of EUR 1000, the author will not receive more than 400 euros. However, publishing contracts provide mostly as the advance to remain with the author, no matter what. For ex., if the work that we took example is sold only 500 copies, and the author must collect only 500 x 14 x 10% = 700 euros, he received when signing the contract an advance of EUR 1000,  and he will have nothing to charge back to the editor.

From the publisher to the printer

The author gives his final manuscript to the publisher. The editor makes a first reading. It may ask the author to rewrite all or part of his work. It can also make changes himself and submit to the author for approval. He may delegate all or part of the work to a publishing assistant. It is at this stage of preparing the copy. Then the text part in the correction. Corrector point errors in grammar, syntax, spelling text. Then comes a layout artist, performs layout and integrates the material provided if necessary by the editor (bibliography, index, table of contents, notes …), respecting the style sheet or the publisher for the collection where the book is published (small font, font, page numbers, etc.). In general, the publisher has provided a guideline model, that is to say, a map page for the page of the book. Once ready, the book is reread (playback test) by the author and a new correction. The author then sign a proof that validates the final version. In parallel, the editor worked on the roofing project with a photographer or illustrator and a graphic designer. He also wrote the back cover (the text that appears on the back cover).

In some cases the responsibility of the model is given to real artists who have a lot of creative freedom.


Upstream, the editor and the person in charge of manufacturing have determined all the paper quality, the weight, the method to be used for binding, and the printer which will be called, which quote, ensuring deadlines delivery has generally been requested. Once the print order was signed, the computer file of the book is sent to the printer that outputs a first copy (called a tracer, ozalid or cromalin). PDF has become, in most cases, the exchange format between the publisher and the printer. Final corrections are made to validate the final print. The amount of drawing and printing options (paper, cover, various materials and print quality) are defined by the publisher depending on the public concerned and the price of the book.


Between three and six months before the release of the book, the publisher presented it to distributor. The distributor is a company engaged in canvassing and taking orders from booksellers and major channels for book distribution. This is done via a team of representatives (sales agents specialized in the book sale). The publisher meets the distributor several times a year to present his program and convince officials to defend the books that will be published. Sometimes it is asked the author to come and present his work to the distributor, it provides an opportunity to make themselves known, to talk about his book and answer questions from representatives who often anticipate the booksellers questions. Once booksellers canvassed and orders taken, the books are shipped by the distributor, by truck or by mail.

Note: Some books placed by the distributor are not subject to any order. They are sent automatically by the broadcaster to bookseller. This is what we call from office. This practice is widely used to force the release of a book in large print, is in decline, under pressure from booksellers. The total from office and bookseller orders form what is called the “establishment” of a book. Once the order is taken and sent to the book publisher, the book is arranged on the shelves where customers can buy. But if the book does not sell, the seller has a right to return: it can return the book to the publisher in a specified period. All this leads to a very complex set of billing, and high costs. The bookseller may grant a rebate to its customers, but it may not exceed a small percentage of the sale price under the law. This is what we call the book price. Its advocates argue that this provision protects the publisher and bookseller, and the whole book chain.

Another form of marketing is the book clubs where an editor contacts by circular letter the known or potential members, offers the purchase of a given number of books per month/quarter that are sent to them by post.

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