In Store Book Printing: Custom Printing
Harvard Book Store

About Custom Printing

Please see our regularly updated listing of services and hours of operation at:

With our custom printing service we can print your books here at Harvard Book Store. Interested in publishing your novel, printing a family cookbook to present to your relatives, or bringing your previously out-of-print book back into circulation? We can help!

Paige M. Gutenborg, Harvard Book Store's book-printing robot

Benefits of printing your book at Harvard Book Store:

  • Books are library-quality, perfect bound, acid-free paperbacks, indistinguishable from books produced by major publishing houses.
  • Black-and-white interiors can be printed on bright white or cream colored paper. Covers are printed in vibrant full-color with the choice between matte or semi-gloss finish. 
  • There are no minimums, so there are no large up-front investments as usually required by self-publishing programs. You print books as you need them.
  • The author retains all rights to the printed work, along with complete control over layout, content, and design.
  • The author may choose to have his or her work on display and for sale at Harvard Book Store and at
  • The author retains rights for non-exclusive distribution and may sell books printed at Harvard Book Store through any avenue they choose.
  • The author sets the book price.
  • Modifications and alterations are allowed at any time, for an additional fee.
  • Personalized service from an established and internationally recognized independent bookstore.

Paige M. Gutenborg, Harvard Book Store's book-printing robot

How It Works

You provide us with print-ready PDFs, and we’ll print the books! Print-ready means you give us your book files once they are final–after the writing, editing, design, and layout have been completed, and the files are formatted according to our Submission Guidelines. You can follow our DIY Formatting and Layout Guidelines [PDF] or hire someone to help you; we'll be happy to recommend local freelance editors and designers.

Want to discuss your own custom printing project, or have our printing staff review your files?

You'll need to contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation with our Print on Demand Manager! Consultations are by appointment only, so please allow a few days for scheduling. We're also happy to answer any questions you have via e-mail or over the phone.

Watch the heroic custom printing process in action!

Introducing Minimum Paige, Harvard Book Store's first ever comics anthology, printed right here on our in-house book machine. A project this bold — this heroic — could only be accomplished by the most dynamic of duos.

Watch Paige M. Gutenborg in action. . . in the Minimum Paige book trailer!

Watch an introductory overview of the Espresso Book Machine made by On Demand Books in 2008.

Submission Guidelines

You’ll submit two PDF files: one for the bookblock (the interior of the book) and one for the cover.

You must own the rights and/or have permission to use any content or images included in your book.

You may submit your files by email at or you may bring them into the store on a USB, CD, DVD, or zip drive.    


The bookblock consists of your interior pages. It includes any blank pages and front or back matter. It will print in black and white.

Minimum number of pages: 40

Maximum number of pages: 700

Trim size dimensions (W” x H”): minimum 4.5” x 5.5”, maximum 8.25” x 10.5”
(trim size is the width and height dimensions of the book)

Your book block PDF must be the dimension you want your finished book to be. (For example, a book that is trimmed to be 6" x 9" must be submitted as a 6" x 9" PDF)

Determining your page count:

A 300-page book only uses 150 pieces of paper, printed on the front and back. When considering any blank pages, dedications, about the author pages, etc, remember to think of each physical piece of paper as 2 pages in your final book page count.


For layout purposes, your cover is the back + spine + front of your book, printed as one continuous sheet (a 17”x11” landscape-oriented rectangle).

Nothing can print on the interior side of the front or back cover.

Cover requirements:

Maximum cover dimensions = 16.75” x 10.75”

Cover must be centered vertically and horizontally in landscape-oriented 17” x 11” document

No crop / registration marks

¼” bleed on all sides

Before designing your cover, you must know your spine width. To calculate this, you’ll need your number of book pages (front, core, and back matter) and the PPI (pages per inch). The PPI measurement is specific to the thickness of the paper you’re using. Harvard Book Store's standard PPI is 434 (for Springhill Opaque 60lb cream paper).

To calculate spine width:
Spine width = number of pages ÷ PPI

Note: number of pages here refers to the double-sided page count you use when you describe the length of your book. Remember to include all front and back matter, as well as any blank pages, in your final page count.

Keep in mind that the appropriate trim size for your book depends upon the number of pages & your spine width. The more pages you have, the larger your spine width will be, and the smaller your overall trim size may need to be for the cover to print properly on the 17” x 11” page.

Cover Template Sample:

Sample Cover [PDF]

Cover Formatting Guide [PDF]

Please note, you will need to supply your own image for the cover. Image in sample cover template is display for placement only.

Copyright Page Sample:

Sample Copyright Page [PDF]

Additional Formatting Guidelines

Read our expanded DIY Formatting and Layout Guidelines [PDF].


Set-up Options:

This is the initial, one-time fee you pay prior to printing through Harvard Book Store. We offer an option to suit every project and budget!

$10 – One-off

  • No proofs or revisions.
  • Files will not be stored after the print run.

$25 – Standard Set-Up

  • One free proof copy.
  • One free file re-submission.
  • Your book files are stored in our servers indefinitely.

 $75 – Pro I Set-Up

  • Two free proof copies.
  • Two free file re-submissions
  • Your book files are stored in our servers indefinitely.
  • Book may be sold in-store and at

 $125 – Pro II Set-Up

  • Three free proof copies.
  • Three free file re-submissions.
  • Your book files are stored in our servers indefinitely.
  • Book may be sold in store and on
  • Option to sell on Amazon. 

*Unless otherwise stated, adjustments and revisions subject to additional fees (see below).

After the initial setup, each book is printed on a price-per-page fee:

$7 for the first 40 pages + $.03 for each additional page.

Additional Fees:

File re-submission  – $10

Basic test cover – $10

Cover design with color or photo – $20

Basic alterations to interior PDF - $10

Basic alterations to cover PDF – $10

File Resubmission:

When you submit a revision, you're giving us a completely new set of files for your book. We'll remove your current edition from our servers and replace it with the updated version. 

One-off setup: No resubmissions. New files will be processed as completely new One-offs.

Standard Set-Up - First re-submission is free, subsequent file submissions $10 each.

Pro I Set-Up - First two re-submission are free, subsequent file submissions $10 each.

Pro II Set-Up - First three re-submission are free, subsequent file submissions $10 each.

Bulk Purchase Discounts

50+ copies | 10% off each book

100+ copies | 15% off each book

Please note that all fees are subject to change and all Print on Demand orders must be pre-paid.

Contact Us

Contact our Print on Demand Manager directly with questions or to schedule an appointment.


Call: (617) 475-8303 Monday-Friday, between 9am and 4pm

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