Can I make graphical ebooks myself and sell them using the
Will you sell them in the online Store?
The term "G-Book®" is a federally registered trademark of G-Books.com. Every G-Book we produce is certified to meet certain standards of quality and carries the G-Book registered trademark and "Authentic G-Book®" seal.
If you wish to produce your own graphical or image-based ebooks instead of having us produce them for you, you can do so and sell them as long as you do not call them "G-Books." However, if you'd like to both produce your own graphical ebooks and use the Authentic G-Book seal and/or G-Book name and registered trademark symbol, you can submit your graphical ebook file to us for certification. Certified G-Books can then be listed for sale on our G-Books website.
Here's how it works:
First, be sure you have the legal right to
reproduce the printed book in a graphical ebook format. You
must be the copyright holder or you must be the publisher or
other agent with the licensing rights to reproduce the
printed book. We can't certify your graphical ebook as an
if you don't have the legal right to digitize the
If we do certify your graphical ebook as an authentic G-Book, we are certifying only the technical quality of the graphical ebook and are not certifying nor attesting to your legal ownership of the title nor assuming legal liability should it subsequently be shown that you have no such authority. We accept your claim of ownership of the title in good faith, but you remain the purported owner of the title and assume all liabilities for such purported ownership. If we subsequently receive legal notification that a book we certified was not legally your right to reproduce, we will withdraw its G-Book certification and cancel its G-book.com registration number.
Note: Books in the public domain can be reproduced without permission. Currently in the United States this includes all books published up through 1922 and, on a case-by-case basis, some published more recently than 1922. We can only sell G-Books on our site that meet United States copyright law, although you might be able to produce works in other countries for sale in other countries, depending on your local laws.
Be sure a G-Book is the right type of
for the title you're considering. G-book stands for
graphical ebook, and as such it is a photographic,
scanned, image-based, or
facsimile rendering of a pre-existing printed book
into a pdf-based file that visually emulates the printed book as closely as possible.
G-books are especially useful to make available titles that are antiquarian, rare, expensive, out-of-print, first-edition, or collectible. Plus, the digital medium of G-Books enables you to store or carry your library on your computer, in the cloud, or on a small set of CDs or DVDs rather than building a library of expensive, rare books requiring many bookshelves of storage space.
If you have an unpublished manuscript you could make a G-Book of it, but you would more likely market the book to a print publisher or an ebook publisher. An unpublished manuscript can be formatted into a pdf file with typefaces, running headers, page numbers, art, and graphics, and sold as a G-Book, but these modern creations are not graphical ebooks in the sense of scanning or photographing an existing printed book into an image-based ebook.
Or, if you are the author or publisher of a recently printed book, your book most likely was composed from digital files which can be used to directly create an ebook version that will closely match the printed volume. This provides the visual experience of a G-Book with searchable text. In some cases, your recent book might not have digital files from which to create a standard ebook and you might want it recreated as a G-Book . Of course, you must be certain you have the legal right with your print publisher to do so.
In summary, think of a G-Book as reproducing an existing printed book that is most likely vintage or out-of-print, although in some cases it might be a recent or current title for which a traditional ebook version is unavailable or undesired.
If you do have an appropriate
printed book and the legal right to reproduce it in a
graphical ebook format, you can do the work of creating the
graphical ebook yourself and then submit it to us for
certification as meeting the quality and standards of an
This certification can be included in the promotion of your new G-Book and can also be stated in the G-Book itself. You can use the G-Book term with registered trademark symbol and/or the Authentic G-book seals. You will receive a G-books.com registration number for each graphical ebook that we certify as an authentic G-Book.
Send us your completed graphical ebook file
for review. Our fee to review and (if it is accepted)
certify your graphical ebook as an authentic G-Book
is $45 per book.
Submitting the fee is not a guarantee of being certified—it only defrays our cost to review your submission.
This is a one-time fee and the certification remains valid as long as you do not materially alter the contents, formatting, and overall quality of the graphical ebook file that you submitted to us and that we certified. This ensures that the public can trust all authentic G-Books to meet a high standard of quality, which in turn will encourage sales of your G-Book. Should you need to make significant changes to your certified G-Book you can submit the revised file to us for recertification. Note that you can make minor changes to your G-Book, such as adding password protection or licensing terms, without recertifying it with us.
Technical requirements. The full details of producing a quality G-Books will take a future book of its own to describe! In the meantime, if you'd like to try your hand at creating your own graphical ebook, here are our requirements and hints for getting your graphical ebook certified as an authentic G-Book®. These requirements are subject to change as the technology evolves and as new techniques are developed:
Evidence you have the legal right to reproduce the title(s);
The graphical ebook must consist of a single file per book (or per volume of a multivolume book or series), and the file must be in the Adobe PDF format, compatible with Adobe Reader version 7 or higher. This means you have the choice of supporting the feature set of at least Reader version 7, 8, 9, X, and so on. We start with version 7 because this is the earliest version that supports annotation, a useful feature we like to include in all our certified G-Books, and the encryption is version 7 is compatible with a wide range of pdf readers and tablet apps. Tell us to what compatibility level you set your PDF file (especially if you want to list your book in our online store—readers will want to know the Reader versions you are supporting).
Your graphical ebook PDF file should be mailed to us on a CD or DVD, along with the printed book (fully insured) from which it was created, so we can check the accuracy of the G-Book against the printed book. We return your printed book but retain the CD or DVD. For graphical ebooks that pass certification the CD/DVD is kept permanently in our records as part of your G-Book's registration information.
The graphical ebook should be produced at
the natural size of the original printed book
(5" x 7.-5/8" is a typical book size) with a minimum resolution of 200 pixels per inch
Higher resolutions are permitted although the total size
of the PDF file might become unwieldy. We think a
resolution of 200–300 ppi provides the right
balance for quality and a practical file size. You might
want to scan once at a higher resolution (300-600 ppi)
and save those original scans, but then downsize the
final ebook to a more manageable 200 ppi. If your original book
format is unusually large or the book very long, consult with us about
using a slightly lower resolution to keep the file size
reasonable. If you have any
doubts, scan at a higher resolution so you only have to
scan once. You can always reduce the resolution later in
a graphics editing program (we use Adobe Photoshop) or
in Adobe Acrobat Professional. And
if you keep the high-resolution originals you can reuse
them in the future without having to rescan the entire
For example, if the original book has a page size of 5" x 7-5/8", the graphical ebook should be very nearly the same size and the ppi should be 200 or higher. Thus a 5" x 7-5/8" page will have a pixel resolution of at least 1000 x 1525 pixels (5" x 200 ppi =1000 pixels; 7.62 x 200 ppi = 1525 pixels). Your dimensions do not have to match the printed book's dimensions perfectly, acknowledging the difficulty of capturing 100% of a printed page (particularly in the binding edge), but the dimensions should be close so that the graphical ebook closely resembles the proportions of the printed book. Read more below on cropping your pages. (In Adobe Acrobat, you can open File | Document Properties | Description to check your book's Page Size dimensions.)
This 200 ppi resolution should be the minimum resolution throughout the production process. For example, if you scan the original book, the scanner should capture at 200 ppi minimum (sometimes also specified as dpi—dots per inch). If you capture the printed pages with a digital camera, you must be sure that your pages are being captured at an effective resolution of at least 200 ppi. Most 5+ megapixel digital cameras can do this with a TIF or highest-resolution (and highest quality) JPEG setting, if you fill enough of the camera's frame with the page image. Test this by opening the camera's digital image in Photoshop or a similar program, cropping the page area, and checking the width and height dimensions in pixels. Then divide by the printed page's dimensions in inches to get the pixels per inch. If the images you submit to us appear to be too low in resolution, we might ask you to supply us with the raw image files as well as the PDF file. Especially if you use a digital camera, be sure your lighting is good and your focusing sharp. Avoid reflections and keep the pages flat as you shoot. We recommend a scanner for best results. Plustek Corporation makes scanners specifically designed for scanning books.
The images can be captured in full color or grayscale. Color should remain at a 24-bit (or higher) color level throughout the process, and grayscale scans should contain 256 levels of gray. Lower color depths will not capture the subtleties of the printed page. Even a "high-color" or 16-bit setting usually results in a noticeably degraded image (banding, etc.). You must capture any pages that are printed in color as color, but for pages that are text-only you can choose to capture in grayscale to save storage space. You might combine both color and grayscale captures in a single book. But, see the next point.
The page background (the tone of the paper) should be considered as part of the book's content. You have to make a choice whether you want to preserve the texture of the paper or lighten it to white. Both approaches have their merits. You can use techniques in Photoshop or other programs to lighten the backgrounds of pages that have excessively yellowed or browned over the years without fading the type. Leaving the paper's natural texture and tone can add realism to your graphical ebook. Whitening the paper to white can make for higher-contrast books and make it easier to clean up blemishes from the original pages, as well as make slightly smaller files (uniform white takes less memory than paper textures to store). Remember, if you decide to retain the color of the paper in your graphical ebook, you must scan all the pages in color. It's usually best to scan in color at a resolution of at least 300 ppi so that you have an original book scan that gives you production choices later on as you process the raw scans, when you might conver to grayscale or downsample the resolution, and so on. This way you scan once, keep the original files intact, and can produce more than one type of output in your "digital lab." Always keep the original, highest-resolution scans or camera images as an archival copy in case you need to return to the beginning of the process. Do all your later processing and downsizing on copies of the pages.
ALL PARTS OF THE BOOK MUST BE INCLUDED. You must capture the entire book, even blank pages. You must include the spine, front and back covers, inside covers, all pages, all art, and if at all possible, a matching dust jacket for the book. The dust jacket is not required (some original dust jackets are extremely rare or expensive). Only a dust jacket that matches the edition of the book should be included. Otherwise, do not include a mismatched jacket in your graphical ebook.
YOU MUST NOT CORRECT OR CENSOR THE PRINTED EDITION. The graphical ebook should accurately reproduce a specific printed edition of a given title. Typically the first edition, first printing is the most desirable for the public, but other specific editions might be valuable for their artwork, forewords, revisions, etc. Thus you should not try to correct typographical errors or other distinguishing characteristics of the printed edition you are working from.
Straighten (deskew) the pages so that the text is horizontal and not slanted (as best you can). If you have a particular antiquarian volume and feel its slanted printing or skewed binding is essential to the faithful reproduction of the title, you may leave that intact, but you shouldn't introduce your own skew or distortion due to sloppy production methods. It's nearly impossible to scan pages without some skew, so plan to de-skew the pages later on in your graphics program. Photoshop is very good at rotating pages in very small increments without creating "laddering" effects; other programs might not give good results and will greatly detract from the quality of your graphical ebook.
Crop the pages minimally, but consistently. You will probably need to crop a small margin from the pages of your book due to a combination of two factors. First, it's nearly impossible to capture the entire printed page (particularly its inside binding or "gutter") without unassembling (and destroying) the print copy. Second, when you deskew a page to align type horizontally you might rotate the page background slightly if the original's type wasn't completely horizontal. In the first case you might lose up to 1/4" of the gutter and in the second case you might lose about 1/8" of the outer three edges. If you've chosen to lighten the page backgrounds to white, there is no discernible page edge, so the second condition won't be an issue. Even the first condition can be solved with a white page because you can add back in the missing binding area to create a full-size page. If you need to crop the pages you should try to crop so that the folios (page numbers) and running headers or footers are consistently aligned from page to page (or alternatively, so they match the mis-alignment in the original printed book). After adjustment, every page of the book should be exactly the same pixel size before you assemble the images into the final PDF file. (Occasionally the covers might be slightly larger than the inner pages, but then all the cover pages should be their own identical size. That would be four pages, front cover, front inside of cover, back inside of cover, and back cover.) Never never crop anything but blank edges from any page. All the content of the book must be included.
Clean up the images. After deskewing and cropping, you should plan to open each page in Photoshop or another program to clean-up blemishes, lighten backgrounds, and so on. You should use your judgment to remove obvious dirt, pencil or pen marks, but retain the original elements of the book. For instance, if a book has broken type or typos, these are part of the character of the edition and should be retained for authenticity. And you might have decided to keep the paper texture for more realism too. Even then you must use your judgment to decide whether to present the paper tone and texture as it would have been when the book was relatively new or as it is in the aged copy you scanned from, which might be very toned and foxed. Many aesthetic judgments are involved, but the guiding principal is to render a graphical ebook that faithfully reproduces the feel of the printed original. While you don't need to preserve the aged characteristics of the particular volume you're digitizing, you should capture the original characteristics of the book's color, type, and so on.
Each printed page must be a separate image so that each printed book page becomes a single "page" in the PDF file. Do not make an entire spread of the printed book (facing left and right page) into a single "page" in the PDF file. The PDF file needs to have separate verso (left) and recto (right) pages just like the printed book. For example, readers need to be able to read your G-Book in facing pages format or in single page format, depending on their preference and the size of their computer display, tablet, or other device. If you create spreads of pages the reader will need to have a very large display or will have to scroll excessively to read your book.
Assemble the individual image files
into a PDF file. You can add text recognition on an
invisible back layer of the images if you want, but to
qualify as a G-Book it must be first and foremost a
graphical reading experience, i.e., an image-based reproduction of the printed book. If you do
add text using OCR, you will have to decide whether to spend
considerable time in manually proofreading and correcting the
or allowing the typical OCR errors to pass through
uncorrected. Adding a text layer increases the overall
file size, though in our experience it isn't usually
typical G-Book ranges from 50 to 100 MB, without a text layer.
This range is a factor of the dimensions and page count of the books, while
maintaining a 200 ppi minimum resolution. At the time of
this writing, we prefer performing our OCR in Adobe Acrobat
using the "Searchable Image (Exact)" setting with
books scanned at 300 ppi. After the OCR we might use
Acrobat's PDF Optimizer to downsample the page images
closer to 200 or 240 ppi to make smaller files. As broadband speeds and availability
continues to expand, larger file sizes will become less
of an issue. If you're sure you want to distribute your
graphical ebooks on CD or DVD rather than by download,
then file size is much less of a concern.
Important: If you add OCR, you must add it as a hidden layer behind the image for it to be certified as a G-Book. The image must always be the visible layer. For example, Acrobat's ClearScan OCR method is not acceptable, because it alters the type images on the image layer. It will actually change the image of a word to an incorrect word if it misreads the image, and distorting the accuracy of the text is not acceptable for a G-Book.)
Number the pages in the PDF file to match the printed book's pages as closely as possible. For example, if the book starts numbering in Arabic numbers on the eleventh bound page of the book, set the corresponding page number in the PDF file to Arabic "1" and use perhaps lowercase roman numerals for the book's preceding pages. Follow the convention of odd numbers for recto pages and even for verso pages. Download our G-Book sample to see how we sequence and number a typical book.
Add bookmarks for the major divisions of your printed book, so readers can jump to major sections of your book: beginning of the dust jacket pages, the binding covers (boards), frontispiece, title page, contents page, each part and/or chapter opening, back matter, index, etc. Open our G-Book sample and open the Bookmarks pane in Reader for an example.
Overall quality appearance. This requirement can't be quantified, but beyond your meeting the explicit requirements listed so far, we will be opening and paging through your graphical ebook to decide if all the required elements have come together to produce a book of overall good to excellent quality. Are the pages lining up, is the text clearly readable against the background paper color, is the text horizontal and nicely aligned, is the text area consistently centered on the pages, are the pages numbered accurately in the file, are the bookmarks accurate and sufficient to easily navigate the book, etc. If you've carefully followed the preceding steps it's likely your graphical ebook will pass this final step.
That's about it! If your book passes the certification, you'll receive a G-books.com registration number for the book and you'll be permitted to use the "G-Book" designation (with registered trademark symbol) and the Authentic G-Book seal in the G-Book file as well as in your promotional materials for the G-Book.
If the graphical ebook doesn't meet our standards, we'll let you know why and give you the opportunity to submit a revised version, at no additional cost. (If your second submission doesn't make it, additional revised submissions will be charged $25 each). Of course you can always distribute your graphical ebook without the G-Book designation or logo.
These procedures are complex and involved. You might want to consider having us produce the G-Book for you. On the other hand, you're encouraged to give it a try and help preserve and make vintage books available to new generations of readers.
For information about listing and selling your authentic G-Book on our G-Book website store, click here.