Before a book goes to print, a proof is created as a preliminary version. Its purpose is to check for errors, verify the layout, and review the cover design. Proofs can vary in completeness, ranging from early drafts to nearly final versions.
Proofs are bound copies of the book made before publication. They are tools for correcting, validating correct pagination, and reviewing text accuracy. Galley proofs are single-sided, narrow sheets used specifically for text corrections. Page proofs are more polished with double-sided printing and are typically bound into books.
Proofs are often produced using dedicated software programs that enable authors or publishers to make text changes before printing occurs. After approval of the proof, it is sent to the printer, who then creates the final version of the work.
Typically sent to authors or editors beforehand, proofs may also be distributed to reviewers, printers, or others involved in the publishing process. The term “proof” can also refer to checking for errors within the text—an aspect handled by meticulous proofreaders.
The importance of proofs in books and publishing lies in several factors: Firstly, they help ensure an error-free product meets publisher standards. Secondly, they contribute towards marketability by catering to reader preferences. Furthermore, well-executed proofs increase the likelihood of success post-publication while fostering trust between authors and publishers—ultimately establishing positive relationships.