Essentials of Book Production Course

The Course

Learn how books are manufactured and gain an understanding of the main issues and terminology used in book production.

This course is aimed at production staff and is also suitable for editors, sales or designers who need a better understanding of the manufacturing process. Each stage of the workflow is covered including colour, printing and binding, paper, pricing, and shipping.

There are a number of practical exercises throughout the day as well as visuals and physical samples – you will see what a printing plate looks like, what the inks are like in their raw state, and get to feel and compare the different paper types. You will cover the terminology used in book specifications and discuss the factors which affect the prices and schedules.

This course is an excellent all-round introduction to the production stages involved in the creation of a book and will help improve your day-to-day effectiveness, whatever your role within publishing.

Delivering The Course

We’re delighted that industry expert Nancy Roberts has chosen to deliver the Essentials of Book Production on behalf of Imago at our head office in Thame.

Nancy spent 20 years in the publishing sector working in print production and operations for companies including Quadrille, Kingfisher, Penguin/DK and Cambridge University Press, where she led a global team of over 150 staff as Global Operations Director, Academic.

nancy roberts

She now has a portfolio career: she is the founder of Umbrella, a tech startup which uses data analytics, AI and machine learning to help businesses realise the benefits of a more diverse workforce, and she is also Head of Technology and Content at Maverick, providing specialist consultancy on production, technology and content to academic publishers and scholarly societies. She also co-runs Management In Publishing, providing bespoke management and leadership training and development tailored to the publishing industry. She has a PhD in Postcolonial Feminist Literary Theory and an Executive MBA from Cranfield University.

She is also a NED for Break the Mould and sits on various advisory boards, including We and AI, a non-profit aiming to inform the public about the risks and benefits of AI, and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board of the Science and Technology Facilities Council. 

Course Details

Delivered in person by Nancy Roberts at Imago’s UK Offices in Thame, Oxfordshire.

Course Cost:
£445 ex. VAT. Discounts are available for multiple bookings.

Please email for more information.

Dates & Times Available

  • Thursday 30th May
  • 9:30am – 5pm

Imago Offices Thame

What We’ll Cover

Basics of Colour Reproduction

  • CMYK and RGB
  • Understanding the differences and issues
  • Turning colour images into print
  • Dots
  • Vector & raster
  • Image and print resolution
  • Profiles
  • Colour proofs

The Printing Process

  • Understand the main processes and when best to use them
  • Offset litho –what it is
  • How a printing machine works
  • Tracking
  • Sheet and web printing
  • Seeing ink, plates & blanket
  • Digital & inkjet printing – how they work, quality and uses


  • Preparing material for print
  • Typical printer checks to PDF files
  • Some typical problems & how to avoid them
  • Imposition
  • Plotter proofs
  • Ripping and plates

The Binding Process

  • Different binding styles and things to consider when specifying them
  • Sewn, unsewn, paperback, cased, flex terminology
  • Stages in the binding & casing in process

Co-edition Printing

  • Understand the process
  • What it means and what it affects

Book Specifications

  • Understand the terminology
  • Learn how to draw up a good clear specification and to recognise when things are missing

Covers and Jackets

  • How to recognise the different finishes and materials
  • When and how to use and spec them
  • Imitation cloth
  • Gloss & matt lamination
  • Spot varnish
  • Foil blocking etc.


  • Main paper types and attributes
  • Learn how to evaluate paper and how to choose the appropriate paper for your subject matter and price point

Shipping & Pricing

  • Cartons
  • Packing instructions
  • Shipping documentation & terminology
  • Incoterms
  • Shipping timings

Register Your Interest

Please fill out the form below to find out more and book your space on the Essentials of Book Production course. A member of the team will be in touch with you to shortly discuss all details with you.