Interior File-with-Images Prep for Ingram


By Stephen Geez    portrait_ex

Many indies have discovered the challenge of preparing files for Ingram, either as publishers using Lightning Source / Ingram Global, or as  authors using the Ingram Spark program. Lots of methods can produce fair results, and lots of methods will trigger rejection. I’ve found that when interiors include images, the print quality from the newest POD presses can be superior with proactive file prep, or inferior using some of our old methods. 200

Below you’ll find a summary of the steps that produce the best results for200-fingers-typing our member/authors at Fresh Ink Group. These steps are for black-and-white interiors For color interiors, just skip the steps related to grayscaling. The main goal of this method is to fully control the specs of images by replacing the place-holders in the distilled file with processed images using the CMYK standard PDF/X-1a: 2001 with no color profiles in either grayscale (photos and scaled images) or bitmap (line art).

200-1This is bit technical, but if you’re processing files yourself, learning these steps, experimenting to get the best results, discussing options with other file-preparers, and sharing your thoughts with the indie community–especially us here at GeezWriter and Fresh Ink Group–benefits everybody.


Preparing Distilled Interior Files for Ingram


  • Save Word File as .doc or .docx

  • Using ACROBAT add-in from top ribbon, save as PDF/A-1a

  • Open in Acrobat Pro and export as a post script file (I add PS to file name)

  • Open in Adobe Distiller set to PDF/X-1a: 2001 & save (I add Distiller to file name)

  • Open PDF in Photoshop. In Import PDF Dialog box above window where it says Select: Pages, Images, 3D; select Images, then Open

  • Open dialog box showing Image Size (Image Tab) of each and take notes on actual size as used by designer

  • Close those and OPEN each image again from as close to the original source file available (PSD best, PNG or TIF next, JPG in a pinch)

  • Process each image:

    • IMAGE Tab > Image Size change to 300ppi or if line art 600

    • IMAGE Tab > Image Size change size to dimensions used by designer now in your notes

    • IMAGE Tab > Mode change to Grayscale or if line art Bitmap

    • Agree to remove all color and merge

    • Save-as image, being sure to uncheck ICC color profile and save-layers boxes

  • Open DISTILLER-labeled PDF in Acrobat Pro, enable editing, and select TOOLS tab, then select Edit PDF

  • Scroll through and select an image, then click Replace Image in the right column list of tools, navigate to the processed grayscale no-profile image just created and OPEN. Image should replace the one previously there, nearly identical in size, with a very clear (usually superior) image. Repeat for every image in the bookblock.

  • Save the file from Acrobat using SAVE AS OTHER and select Press Ready 1/Xa

  • Do not run through distiller or Acrobat Pro again, as the file is now in CMYK 1-Xa:2001 with correctly processed grayscale or bitmap images minus color profiles re-inserted AFTER distillation.

Alternate Route:

In the absence of Adobe Distiller, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC can be used to distill as long as X-1a: 2001 SWOP is selected.



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