How to Print a Book from PDF

Many people think that working with a big publishing house is the key to becoming an author. However, many writers self-publish their works with a local printing company. “How,” you ask? In many cases, all you need is a simple PDF file of your manuscript. 

To professionally print a book from a PDF file, there are several steps to take. These include locating a self-publishing service company, learning their printing process, planning ahead for specific design requirements, and receiving a quote for your final order. 

In this article, Book1One provides more insight into the process of self-publishing a book and some of the most common things authors should consider along the way. 


Finding a Book Printing Company

Once your manuscript is perfected, it's time to find a printing company that can take your PDF and turn it into a professionally bound book. There are many companies out there that offer book printing services that suit specific needs, budgets, and timelines.  

In today's digital world, one of the most common ways to self-publish your book is through an online platform. Self-publishing through an online platform makes the process simple. You can take your PDF file and upload it from the comfort of your home or office.  

While researching printing companies, figure out what's most important to you. Consider questions like: 

  • Do I need someone to edit and proofread my work before it goes to print? 
  • Should I partner with a designer for the cover or layout?  
  • Will I need distribution services once my book is printed?  
  • How will I market my new book to my target audience?

Some book printing companies offer assistance in these areas as part of their service packages, while others offer resources for authors to outsource these services on an as-needed basis. While many authors seek assistance in those areas, receiving help only where it's needed most can keep the overall cost of the book lower and give authors more control over the final product.   


Learn More about the Book-Printing Process

Once you've chosen a printer to work with and you've nailed down the physical details of your book, it's time to familiarize yourself with the book printing process. This means figuring out where to send your PDF or how to upload it to the publisher's online platform.  

Many self-publishing service companies make this part of the process easy with a simple, step-by-step program for uploading your manuscript and selecting the desired options. A customer support team is also typically available if you run into any issues along the way.  

As you're gaining more insight into this process, see if your publisher offers proof copies. While requesting a proof copy for your approval may add to the final bill and overall timeline, it's well worth it in the end – especially if you plan on printing a large number of copies. This gives you a chance to do the following: 

  • See how your book is bound, trimmed, and printed first-hand 
  • Make sure your page layout works well with the binding chosen 
  • Preview the quality of any questionable images 
  • Catch typos within your content or captions that may have been overlooked 

With a proof copy, you can make changes before submitting the full order and being stuck with results that contain errors or are just not what you had in mind. 


Find Out What Options Are Available for Your Book

Throughout the writing process, you've likely envisioned what your published book will look like in the hands of your readers. Down to the dust jacket, your publisher may offer several options for you to choose from. Prior to printing, it's important to go through them to figure out what will mirror your vision and work best for your readers.  

From the inside out, the options available for customization typically include: 

  • Cover materials 
  • Binding styles
  • Paper types
  • Foil Stamping options
  • Standard and custom sizing options

Additionally, it's a good idea to explore color and black-and-white (B&W) printing options. A full-color book is typically more costly to print than one that's printed in B&W or a combination of the two. This and other considerations can affect the price point for your book as well as the overall aesthetic. 


Plan Ahead For Requirements and Specifications

While exploring the physical options for your book offered by your publisher, make sure to consider the choices that directly impact other areas of the production process. These specifications may include the following: 

  • Margins: The space between the text and edge of the page is known as the margin. Some bindings and production processes require larger margins than others. Make sure to research those requirements as outlined by your publisher to ensure your copy doesn't get cut off. 
  • Page limits: Certain bindings may have page limitations. The number of pages a book can hold may also be affected by the thickness of each page. If you have a lengthy book, you may be able to use a thinner paper stock to your advantage.  
  • Turnaround time: The features of your book may affect the production timeline. For example, a plastic coil book may take around five business days to produce, while a hardcover book may take 10 business days. 

Researching these and other specific requirements helps ensure the process goes smoothly overall and your book turns out exactly as it should in the end. 


Receive a Quote for Your Order

Before hitting "submit," make sure the price is on point and fits within your projected budget. Requesting a price quote for your book is simple and can, in many cases, be done right using an online calculator. The cost of your book is determined by several factors, including: 

  • Number of pages 
  • Overall book measurements 
  • Materials used
  • Specialty design processes

Additionally, keep an eye out for special discounts on bulk orders. For example, ordering 500 books may cost less per item than ordering only 100 books. This type of savings can be passed down from you to your readers. At this time, also consider your audience and marketing expertise. Do you already have an established community of readers ready and waiting for your new book or are you starting fresh? How much time will you spend marketing your book? How much will marketing cost? 

Each self-publishing journey is unique. The goals for your book, publishing budget, distribution plan, and marketing efforts will likely affect the number of books you'll need to print to gain a return on your investment. 



Turning your digital manuscript into a tangible book is a fairly straightforward procedure. After finding a book publishing company, learning their process, exploring the available book printing options, adjusting for specific requirements, and receiving a quote, you're ready to place the final order. 

With these considerations in mind, you can take care to ensure the final product turns out just right and enjoy the fruits of your labor once your book is on the shelves.