There are several different types of book proofs. The type of proofing that is used is dependent on the publisher, the book being produced, and the machinery being used to create the book. Let’s take a closer look at each type of proof:
Essentially, a hard book proof is a version of the book that has been produced as hard copy. In this format, the book most closely resembles its final design. Hard book proofs will often be produced without an attached cover. Although this proofing technique creates a copy that is almost identical to the completed version, the copy in question features an excerpt of the actual text. Alternatively, a selection of signatures, also called sigs, are chosen for the proofing process. The signatures are compiled and produced using the same paper that the entire book will be produced on later.
In contrast to hard book proofs, soft book proofs are digital rather than physical products. Soft book proofs are also called electronic proofs. Choosing a soft book proof is much more common, generally because it is faster and more affordable. However, one major concern that goes hand in hand with soft book proofs is the accuracy of the preview. The colors used in a book’s design may turn out differently when displayed on a computer screen than when put down on paper. A soft book proof also does not allow authors and publishers to see a sample of the finished product on the type of paper they selected.
A wet book proof is a publishing industry term for when a fresh proof is removed from a printing press before it is added to the production queue. The printing presses involved in producing a wet book proof can be either a digital printing press or an offset printing press. Clients do not typically see these types of proofs. Instead, these proofs are intended to examine aspects of the print job such as how clear the print is, color fidelity, and so on.
Which Type of Book Proofing is Best for You?
Which type of proof should you select? In the end, your choice comes down to factors such as publication deadlines, how complicated the text and images included in the book are, and the preferences of the author and publisher.
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