Cover Problems with CreateSpace

Oh dear, I’ve been having quite a time getting things just right. I received my third proof recently and the cover was terrible. Text and images had shifted and there was some overlapping of the logo. This cover was from the same file as the second proof; what had gone wrong?!?!?!?

I contacted CreateSpace immediately. They are always prompt with their replies. They looked into it but said they couldn’t verify that the last two proofs were printed from the same cover file. They corrected the worst image shift, but that left three more that made the cover look extremely amateurish.

Next, I turned to the CS Community Forum. Rather than try to summarize all the finer points, I’ll give you a link to the thread, here.

The bottom line is that even a PDF/X-1a file is editable. The text and images are not flattened when the file is created. It will be flattened by the printer and this may cause text, for example, to shift when it’s rasterized. Also¬† resizing the file if it isn’t the correct size.

The solution was to create the cover as an image in something like Gimp. This is then saved as a PDF and uploaded. It was interesting because when I opened the original cover file in Scribus, I discovered a band of white across the bottom, as though there had been errors with the PDF file which neither of my document viewers picked up on(?) As I examined it, I realized that if I had been given this file to print, I would have shifted things exactly as had been done on my proof.

The end result was that I started the file from scratch with Gimp and re-uploaded the cover file. I shouldn’t complain too much, because I ended up rechecking the interior as well. I’m still catching nit-picky errors of my own making! (Like spelling Fort Worth, Forth Worth).

There have been some huge learning curves in trying to create this book. Not the least of which has been learning the realities of printing something created on a digital device, i.e. my computer. Fortunately CreateSpace proofs are very reasonable ($7.50 for my size book including shipping). At least next time, I’ll have some experience under my belt so that things should go better.

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2 Responses to Cover Problems with CreateSpace

  1. Powers Molinar says:

    I use CreateSpace. The have an allowance of 1/8″ slip either way on the cover. I order 30 books and all them were skewed 1/8″ to the left. The spine text is right up against the fold and the front/back are visibly shifted. But this is the best they can do apparently. The traditional publishing houses must have better printers.

  2. Leigh says:

    Powers, it took me 7 proofs to get it right. And in the end, it’s still off by about an 1/8″. So I agree, it appears to be the best they can do. I tried to apply to LSI, but they really don’t seem to want small indy publishers any more. See my Expanded Distributions – The Ins and Outs for what I learned about that.

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