Michigan State University

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What are the publishing services at MSU Libraries?

The MSU Libraries offers publishing services to make publishing more accessible and affordable for both the academic and public communities. Publishing services include book interior and cover design, paperback book printing, booklet printing, binding loose pages, consultation about document formats and publishing options, and training for book design software through free workshops.

Where is the Publishing Services office located?

The Publishing Services office is located on the second floor of the west wing of the MSU Main Library, within Hollander MakeCentral.

What is the basic process for printing books?

Staff will review interior and cover files to ensure print readiness. If the files are properly formatted, the interior pages and the cover are printed on a professional grade printer. A perfect binding machine applies a thin layer of hot-melt glue to adhere the interior pages to the cover to make a library quality paperback book. Finally, the newly bound book is trimmed to the desired specifications.

Can I watch the printing process?

Yes! Staff are available to demonstrate the printing and binding equipment Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm. You are welcome to make an appointment or visit during drop-in office hours.

Can I receive help with formatting my book block and/or cover?

Yes! There is a dedicated staff member available to help you with book formatting and to answer publishing questions. Quick advice is always available; there are fees and limitations for some services. Please refer to our pricing page for more information.

How long will it take to print my book?

A single book can be printed and bound in about ten minutes once the files are fully prepared for printing and the equipment is warmed up. Small orders may be printed during a scheduled appointment. Printing times for larger orders vary case-by-case; please contact Publishing Services staff for an accurate estimate. If you are planning a large bulk order, please advise the Publishing Services Coordinator to ensure enough supplies are available and to estimate the lead time needed to meet your deadline.

Are there templates available for formatting the book block and cover?

Cover templates are available upon request. Email us your book specifications, and we will provide a custom template. Please include the size of your book (width and height) as well as the page count (the total number of pages in your book). If you have specific software you prefer to use for cover design, please specify. We can provide templates for InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, PowerPoint, or Publisher.

Where can I learn technical information about the equipment?

You can request information from the Publishing Services staff or visit the manufacturers' websites. Interior pages and the cover are printed on a Xerox Versant 180. The interior pages and cover are bound using a Sterling Digibinder perfect binding machine and then trimmed with a Triumph 6660 programmable cutter.

What type of books can I print?

Our patrons print a wide variety of books:

  • Self-published, original works custom formatted, written, and designed by the author.
  • Books in the public domain are available through many sources including Google Books, Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg, and other outlets.
  • Books from Open Access or Open Educational Resources repositories.
  • Books with written permission from the copyright owner to print.
  • A single copy of an electronic book for personal use with proof of purchase.

Can I bind loose pages?

Yes! If you have loose sheets of paper, whether blank sheets, hand written notes, drawings, or printed documents, we can bind them into a paperback book with a plain unprinted cover for $5.00.

Can I make a booklet?

Yes! We can make staple-bound booklets. The maximum page size is 8.5 wide x 11 tall, but we can make smaller booklets too. Please see our Booklet Printing page for additional information.

What's the difference between a book and a booklet?

For our purposes, a book is a glue-bound paperback book.  Book interior pages are printed on 8.5x11 sheets, glue is applied to the spine edge, and the pages are adhered to an 17x11 cover sheet that wraps around all the pages.  The book is then trimmed down to the final book size.

A booklet is made by printing, folding, and stapling sheets of paper together.  Booklets can be printed on 11x8.5 sheets and folded down to 5.5x8.5, or they can be printed on 17x11 sheets and folded down to 8.5x11. In either case, booklets can be trimmed to smaller dimensions. Please note that booklets, printed double-sided and folded in half, would have four document pages printed on each sheet of paper.

Who can use Publishing Services?

Anyone! You don't have to be an MSU student, faculty, staff member, or alumni to take advantage of the publishing services offered at Michigan State University Libraries. You don't even have to live in Michigan. Contact us so we can help you tell your story.

What publishing options are available at MSU?

There are a variety of publishing options available at Michigan State University.  The Michigan State University Press provides scholarly publishing of books and journals. The MSU Libraries Short Edition platform is a short-form publishing option for works of less than 8000 characters. The MSU Libraries also hosts an Open Textbook Publishing platform using PressBooks for Open Educational Resources. For digital publications with at least one MSU contributor, the MSU Libraries hosts a Manifold platform at Pub Hub. Print publishing (self-publishing) is available through the MSU Libraries Publishing Services.

Where can I learn about book design?

Publishing Services staff offer free book design workshops each semester. Information about the workshops and the current schedule is posted on the Book Design Workshops page. If you can't make it to a scheduled workshop, groups of five or more may request a workshop, or you can schedule a one-on-one consultation with the Publishing Services coordinator. There are additional resource pages available for using Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign.