The Top 10 File Review Rejection Reasons
We understand that the last thing you want to do after spending your precious time writing your book is to make adjustments and resubmit for review. Due to our unique print-on-demand model, we have specific printing requirements to ensure we can globally manufacture high-quality products. While you can always reference a full list of our PDF Specifications by downloading our CreateSpace PDF Submission Specification, below is a list and brief explanation of the top 10 most common reasons that files fail the file review process.
1. Metadata: The bibliographic information of your book.
Matching the metadata in your files to the metadata that you input in the Title Setup Workflow (TSW) sounds easy. However, 40% of titles that are rejected through our DIY platform are rejected for metadata mismatch! The top 3 metadata rejections are for title, author, and ISBN mismatch.
ISBN: To ensure you have submitted the correct files, we will reject if the ISBN included on your file(s) does not exactly match the ISBN provided in the metadata. ISBN mismatch is the biggest metadata rejection reason. If an ISBN is included on the interior file or cover, then it must match the ISBN information entered in the TSW. If additional ISBNs are referenced on the cover and/or interior, you must specify the format and title of each to avoid misunderstanding.
Title: The title must be included on either the front cover or the spine of your cover file and must exactly match the metadata that you entered in the TSW. The title is not required to be included on the interior file; however, if it is, it must match the metadata entered in the TSW. You may include a subtitle in the metadata that is not present on the cover or in the interior. If the subtitle is included on the files, the subtitle must match exactly what is entered in the metadata.
Author Name: The author name does not need to be referenced on the interior and cover files. If you would like to include the author name on the files, it either needs to match the metadata exactly or contain corresponding initials. Ex: John P. Smith in the metadata and J.P. Smith on the cover and interior will pass file review.
2. Pagination and Blank Pages: The ordering of page numbers and definition of a blank page.
Pagination: Missing or out of order pagination appears as a defect in manufacturing and can cause customer complaints and returns. Page numbers are not required in the interior file, but if they are included, they must be consistent and sequential. If the interior file contains scanned content with original pagination then the file must contain a second set of sequential page numbers visible in the footer area. There are a few other exceptions which are outlined below:
Blank pages: Excessive blank pages can delay the manufacturing process and can cause customer quality concerns. You may include up to two consecutive blank pages in the front or middle of the interior file, and up to ten consecutive blank pages at the end of the interior file. Pages with lines, a design character, or drawing boxes are acceptable and are not considered a blank page.
3. Wrong trim size: Interior file submitted at the wrong trim size.
In order to properly manufacture your book and ensure that it prints as intended, the page size for your interior file is very important. Interior files that do not contain bleeding content (see more on bleed in #5 below) should be submitted at the exact trim size selected in the TSW. Interior files that contain bleeding content should be submitted at exactly .125" wider and .25" higher than the selected trim size. If you are unsure that your file is sized correctly, Interior Reviewer will warn you if the file you uploaded does not match the trim size selected. During the file review process, we will attempt to resize the interior file to the correct size, but this can change the layout of the content and size of the margins. If we cannot successfully resize the file with all content meeting the margin requirements (and bleed spec if applicable), then the file will be rejected.
4. Margins: The blank space required in the binding, top, bottom, and outside of your interior file.
Our margin requirements are not to limit your artistic ability, but to ensure that all content will be visible and not cut off when printed and bound. The print-on-demand process can have up to .125? (1/8") variance, or shift left to right and top to bottom. Because of this, all text, pagination, and non-bleeding graphics must be at least .25" from the trim lines/.375" from bleed lines if applicable. Gutter margins (space required for binding) vary based on the title';s page count. Please see the chart below for more information on our minimum margin requirements.
5. Bleed: Any image or background on the cover or interior that touches the edge when printed.
Any images that you want to extend to the edge of your book either in the interior or on the cover, need to include an extra .125" of image (bleed) to ensure that there is no white space on the edges when the book is printed and bound.
Interior: If you would like images to extend to the edge in the interior, the file must include sufficient bleed. This means that the file should be submitted exactly .125" wider (bleed is on the outside of the interior file) and .25" higher than the selected trim size. For example, a 6 x 9 book with bleed should be submitted at 6.125" x 9.25." All images intended to bleed need to fully extend to the outside edge of the interior page (6.125"; in the example above) and all non-bleeding content must meet margin specifications as described in #4 above. This extra space ensures that if a shift occurs in manufacturing, the images will still fully extend to the trim lines when printed.
Cover: All covers must be sized exactly to the selected trim size + your applicable spine width, and .125" of bleed on all sides. If a cover file is submitted lacking bleed, we will attempt to scale it to the correct size or add bleed during the file review process. This can often change the placement and resolution of content. We cannot allow any text or numbers to bleed or be cut off when printed as this appears as a defect during manufacturing.
6. Live graphics: Content on the front and back cover file that is not a background/bleeding image.
Any cut off text on the cover is considered a defect in manufacturing and can cause delays. Because of this, all text need to fall within the "safe zone" of the cover file, which is .125" inside the trim lines and .25" from the bleed lines. The yellow border in the image above represents the end of the "safe zone."
We cannot accept any text that is outside the "safe zone," including ascenders or descenders of characters. An example of ascenders and descenders is below.
7. Spine Content: The metadata and/or design on the outside bound edge of the book.
A book must contain at least 101 pages in order to have spine text. Due to a potential manufacturing variance, we require at least .0625" of space on either side of the spine content. This includes characters' ascenders and descenders as text wrapping from the spine to the front or back cover is considered a defect to manufacturing. We recommend at least 131 pages for spine text in order to accommodate potential print variance.
8. Illegible/Cut Content: Text that is not legible to the reader.
We want to ensure that customers can read all content they purchase and are also satisfied with the quality. All text intended to be read must be fully legible and not cut off or overlapped by any other content. All body, headers, footers, caption text, and pagination must be at least 7 pt. font. We do not reject for low resolution images unless there is text intended to be read within the image that is too blurry to read.
9. Corrupt or too Complex file/images: Files that cannot be successfully processed for print
The most common reasons a file is rejected for being too complex or corrupt is due to corrupt images, corrupt fonts, excessive layers, transparencies or too many vector objects that prevents the file from successfully printing. A corrupt or too complex file may appear normal when viewed in a PDF reader program, but underlying issues with the images or fonts may prevent it from processing for print. We suggest you use our Interior Reviewer program for immediate feedback on your interior file and read Troubleshooting Interior Reviewer Issues if the program is having trouble processing your interior file or if it fails in the review process.
10. Template Showing: Unintentional template/placeholder text left in the interior file.
Often customers forget to remove the template filler information in the headers, footers and/or body of the Microsoft Word templates we provide on our website. As this is unintentional, we reject if the template information is found within the submitted interior file. This is to prevent a customer from being able to purchase a copy with unintentional template filler text showing in the interior of the book.
We hope this will help answer any questions you may have about our common rejection reasons. As a next step, we suggest you also check out the article Creating a PDF for Print to ensure you are using the best PDF settings possible for print. If you have any questions about our file specifications you can contact our customer service team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging into your CreateSpace account and clicking "Contact Support."