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Sunday
May152011

How to use BookCoverPro with Lightning Source Templates

Since a lot of you have asked me this question, it warrants a permanent place in our blog and FAQ area. Lightning Source (lightningsource.com) seems to be a leading choice for print-on-demand, and because they are so popular with our clients, we've worked with them to accommodate their cover design submission requirements.

On their website, LS has a cover template generator that is customized based on the client's book cover specifications (see screenshot). This generated cover is then emailed over to the client in a chosen format so it can be matched up to the cover design file and then submitted over to LS for accurate printing. LS only offers their cover template in 4 formats: InDesign CS 3 or newer; Quark 7 or newer; PDF or EPS. Since BookCoverPro does not support these formats as importable files, we work with our customers to ensure their cover is correctly formatted to LS's template. *Incidentally, we have asked LS several times if they would consider offering templates in another format, but they never responded.*

If you want to do it yourself, here's how to set up Lightning Source templates to your BookCoverPro covers:

  1. Go to Lightning Source's cover generator page: http://lightningsource.com/covergenerator.aspx and fill out their criteria. Important: Make sure in File Type To Return, you select "PDF". Your cover template will be mailed to you in a few minutes.
  2. Download a PDF to TIFF converter, such as this one: http://www.pdf-to-tiff.com/ convert your LS template to a TIFF format.
  3. Open your BookCoverPro file and import your LS template as an image. You may need to enlarge your cover slightly (Cover > Properties) to see the full template.
  4. Align the template marks to your cover. All images and copy need to be inside the red Safety Area; any background color or images that bleed off should extend beyond the Bleed Area. Make sure the spine area is centered. If anything does not fall within the template's indicators, you will need to make sizing/aligning adjustments.
  5. Once your cover is aligned properly, remove the template layer and resize your cover file back to what it should be. Now you're ready to save your file as a PDF and submit to Lightning Source!

To fabulous cover design,

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