Typesetting: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Between copyediting and proofreading, there’s another phase of the publishing process that you may or may not be familiar with: Typesetting. If you have any questions about typesetting, by the end of this blog post, you’ll have a better understanding of this part of the process and why it should be taken seriously.

What is typesetting?

Typesetting is the process of arranging text on a book page in preparation for printing. Before the process became digital, this was accomplished manually. Now, it’s completed with specialized software. It may also be referred to as “formatting” (though this is more accurately a “stage” of typesetting after the book is designed) or “book page composition.” Print books require careful typesetting, but ebooks require simpler formatting, due to device limitations. 

First, a book is “designed.” Line spacing, font choices and sizes, and page margins and trim size are all elements determined by book designers. After that, an experienced typesetter ensures that the text conforms to the many conventions of book page composition to enhance visual appeal and reading comprehension. If the reader stumbles over uneven spacing, too many hyphens, stranded lines at the top or bottom of a page (widows and orphans), and dozens of other items that experienced typesetters routinely fix, reading comprehension can be affected. Many decisions must be made during this process, paragraph by paragraph, line by line, and word by word. Each decision is integral to the success of the book, so the final product looks (and reads) like a real book and not a word-processed document.

Why is it important?

All the rules that govern typesetting are in place because they improve the reading experience by decreasing strain on the reader and minimizing distractions. When readers preview your book on Amazon or flip through it in stores, you don’t want your book to stand out for the wrong reasons. 

Even people with an untrained eye can notice poor typesetting. You may not have known much about typesetting before this post, but you’ve no doubt judged the quality of a book by its presentation. Publishing your book without formatting it properly will reflect poorly on you as an author, and it can lead to decreased sales and poor reviews. Which leads us to…

Why should you hire an expert?

As mentioned before, typesetting has rules. You may be able to use Microsoft Publisher or Adobe InDesign to format your own work, but unless you know the rules, your efforts will fall short of traditional publishing standards. Expert typesetters tweak the settings of the software they use for the best possible results, paying the utmost attention to seemingly minute elements.

If your goal for your book is only to share it with friends and family or if you otherwise don’t seek to make a profit with it, then there’s no problem with typesetting the book yourself. If you aim to use your book to make a profit or if you’re using it to promote your business or yourself, then you should hire a professional to ensure top quality and give your book the best chance at success.

Here at 1106 Design, we offer typesetting assistance through our interior page design process. We don’t cut corners here. If you’re ready for this stage of the publishing process, feel free to contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you succeed.

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