Publishing Glossary

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An advance payment of royalties given to an author prior to publication

American Association of Publishers

The principal trade association of the book publishing industry

American Bookseller’s Association

A not-for-profit organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members of independently owned bookstores

American Library Association

The oldest and largest library association in the world, with members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries

Author blurb

A quote used for promotional and marketing purposes. Quotes can come from subject matter experts, authors, celebrities, etc.


All titles published prior to the current year. Titles are designated “backlist” one year after their on-sale date or publication date


Book Layout and Design (BLAD) is an 8 or 16 page sampler enclosed in a jacket for use as a selling tool for a forthcoming book. A BLAD is usually created only when the book involves something of a graphical or visual nature

Board Book

Children’s books that are printed entirely (cover and interiors) on durable board stock


A data provider for the book publishing industry, owned by the Nielsen Company. BookScan compiles point of sale data for book selling

Comp title

A Comparative or Comparison title is used to offer guidance and reference when determining the printing, print run or initial orders for a title. A good comp title might be a book that is editorially similar, or is a previous title by the same author


Reviewing a manuscript for grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and tone while retaining the author’s voice and meaning


Deckled edge/Rough front

A book with feathered or deckled edges, in contrast to edges that are trimmed smoothly, to give it an antiquarian look

Early/Easy/Emerging readers

Books for ages 5 through 9 that are roughly 1,000 to 2,500 words

Earn out

The term used when an author’s book generates sufficient income through sales to equal the amount paid in an advance or royalty


A web-based interactive publisher catalog system that enhances or replaces the use of hard copy catalogs. It is a key resource for Sales reps and Marketing departments


The sides of a store’s bookcases and bookshelves that have been outfitted to display faceouts of books. Endcaps will often relate to a section in store or may highlight a specific author or series

End papers

A blank or decorated leaf of paper at the beginning or end of a book, especially one fixed to the inside of the cover

Field rep

Sales reps located throughout the country that call on independent bookstores and wholesalers to sell our titles to

Flap copy

Flap copy is the short summary that appears on the jacket for a book. It’s written with a hook to convince readers to purchase it

Folded and Gathered (F&G)

An unbound gathering of sample pages from a book (usually a childrens’ book) used to sell a title as part of the solicitation process


Newly or soon-to-be published titles



A bound, pre-publication copy of a book, usually printed from unedited or uncorrected pages. Sometimes these editions are printed with the actual book cover art on them. These editions are used to increase awareness of a title before publication and are printed in large quantities 

Also referred to as an Advanced Reader’s Edition (ARE) or Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) 


The most costly format of book, which possesses a very durable exterior covered in a cloth and stitched to the interior pages


An editorially independent division within Penguin Random House (i.e. Ballantine, Viking, Putnam, Bantam, etc.)

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International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

A unique 13-digit number that identifies a single format/edition of a single title. Hardcover, paperback, and audio publications of a title will be assigned different ISBNs



A removable paper cover for protecting the binding of a book, usually printed with the title, author name, as well as other publication data and artwork

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

A quantifiable measure of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs provide targets for teams to aim for, milestones to gauge progress, and insights that help people across the organization make better decisions



The text of a book prior to typesetting and final copyediting. Sometimes, if the work-in-progress is greatly anticipated, the manuscript will be distributed to sales representatives and/or bookstore buyers to build excitement

Mass Market Paperback

Mass Market Paperbacks have a small pocket-sized trim size and a lower price point than Trade Paperbacks


Data that describes a book including title, subtitle, price, publication date, ISBN, and any other relevant information that readers use to find a book

Middle Grade

Books for ages 9 through 12 that usually include 20,000-50,000 words. The age of reader is connected to the age of the main character, and plot lines often include sibling rivalry, fitting in with friends, and becoming attracted to others


A website that offers electronic galleys to “professional readers” such as booksellers, educators, librarians, media professionals, and reviewers

On-sale date/Publication date

The date that a title is allowed to go on-sale and appear on shelves and on display in stores for customers to purchase


Picture book

Books for ages 3 through 7 and are usually 32 pages or 50 to 1,000 words. They primarily use illustrations to tell the story and often share life lessons related to emotional intelligence (empathy, forgiveness, kindness), relationships, social connections, and morals

Point of sale

Data collected from accounts that details purchases at the time a transaction is completed.  This data informs publishers about how a title is performing

Print run

The announced quantity of a new title’s first printing

Profit and loss

An analysis of a title prior to the purchase. An Editor or publisher attempt to gauge the potential monetary profit and/or potential loss they stand to incur as a result of pursuing the book

Publisher’s Marketplace

An industry resource for publishing professionals that reports news, book deals, job ads and produces Publisher’s Lunch, a daily industry e-mail newsletter

Publisher’s Weekly

A news platform for the publishing industry. Publisher’s Weekly features articles and news on all aspects of the book business, bestsellers lists, industry statistics, and book reviews


When a title is out of stock and a decision is made to produce additional inventory, that quantity of stock reordered is referred to as a reprint

Return On Investment (ROI)

A calculation of the monetary value of an investment versus its cost. The ROI formula is: (profit minus cost) / cost. If you made $10,000 from a $1,000 effort, your return on investment (ROI) would be 0.9, or 90%. This can also be obtained through an investment calculator


A contractually agreed upon percentage from the sale of each individual unit sold of a title. An author is entitled to royalties once the overall sales of the book have repaid the publisher the advance that had been initially paid out


Sales Launch

Meetings in which publishers officially unveil the titles planned for a forthcoming season to the sales force

Sales Conference

A meeting where future titles are presented and discussed. Usually attended by the Sales, Marketing, and Publicity departments

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of making your site effective for search engines

Subsidiary Rights

The licensing of any rights of the original book in both domestic and foreign markets. These rights can include the ability to publish the book in large print, translate the book to foreign languages, to publish excerpts of the book, to produce films or TV show adaptations of the book, and more

Title Information Sheet (TI)

Created by Editors and Marketing/Publicity staff on a seasonal basis to provide quick title information to the Sales department

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperbacks have a larger trim size and a higher price point than Mass Market Paperbacks. The term originated as these larger, more expensive paperbacks were originally distributed only to “trade” booksellers

Trim size

Trim size refers to the length and width of a book. For example, an 8×8 book is 8 inches long and 8 inches wide

Young Adult

Books for ages 13 through 18 that are often 40,000-80,000 words in length. YA books can be written in any genre (historical, crime, romance, etc.)

Young Adult includes a new category of books called New Adult. These are for ages 18 through 25 and focus on topics such as leaving home, going to school, deciding on a career, and exploring sexuality