Is Ingram rejecting your print files? Here’s the Mac fix.

Horrified stone face on castle decoration

To publish a print edition of a book, both IngramSpark and Amazon ask for a print quality PDF that is “flattened” and includes “embedded fonts”.​

Here’s how you do this with Scrivener3 and LibreOffice. (I think Windows computers may be able to create a print quality PDF a different way. These directions are for Mac.) If you want to know more, here’s why Scrivener can’t create the file you need directly with the Mac.

Note: Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo can create print quality PDFs for your cover images.

How to format the interior file for a print book with LibreOffice

1. Create a .docx file in Scrivener with Compile (or in your wordprocessor of choice including LibreOffice).
2. Download LibreOffice. LibreOffice is free, open-source software. I downloaded it because the Apple forum recommends it for producing the PDF/A print ready format you need for publishing.
3. Open .docx file in LibreOffice:
Right click on .docx file and open it in LibreOffice. Check formatting to make sure file looks good.
I always check my Table of Contents when I open a Scrivener-generated docx file in LibreOffice—it deleted my Roman numerals.
4. Embed fonts.
File—properties—Font tab
X embed fonts in the document
screenshot of LibreOffice dropdown menu Properties
5. “Flatten file” is what KDP Print Dashboard calls it. I think it means get rid of transparencies.
screenshot LibreOffice menu Preferences
6. Select the following options:
X print to file
X reduce transparency
X no transparency
X convert colors to grayscale (IngramSpark asks for this.)
Xreduce bitmaps
XHigh print quality
XReduce bitmaps
XResolution 600DPI
Note: Print resolution is probably fine at 300 DPI for IngramSpark, but I haven’t had trouble with this setting.
screenshot LibreOffice menu Print to File
7. Export as PDF
X Archive PDF/A-1a(ISO 19005-1)
X Lossless compression
Uncheck Export bookmarks
Reduce Image resolution to 600 DPI—raised this to 600 for Ingram
X Export automatically inserted blank pages (otherwise your carefully inserted pages will vanish.)
X View PDF after Export
screenshot LibreOffice menu Export as PDF
screenshot LibreOffice menu PDF Options

The Apple forum explanation for why you can't create a print file IngramSpark likes:

Here are some PDF/A, and PDF/X output solutions for macOS Sierra:
LibreOffice Writer
◦ Export to PDF provides PDF/A-1a option
◦ Does not use Apple PDFKit
• Serif Labs Affinity Designer (Mac App Store, free trial)
◦ Open existing single, or multipage PDF, edit, and export as:
▪ PDF/X-1a
▪ PDF/X-3
▪ PDF/X-4
◦ Crop, bleed, registration marks, and color bar options
◦ Uses third-party PDFLib+PDI 9.0.5-i Library
• Scribus v1.5.2 (Open Source DTP)
◦ Open existing PDF
◦ PDF Preflight VerifierPDF v1.3, v1.4, v1.5, X-1a, X-3, X-4

◦ PDF Save As:PDF v1.3, v1.4, v1.5, X-1a, X-3, X4, Postscript

◦ Crop, bleed, registration marks, and color bar options.
◦ Uses Scribus PDF Library

Apple’s Preview is based on PDFKit, which is still mired in the PDF v1.3 specification. Open PDF/A-1a, and PDF/X standard documents in Preview, and 1) it will display them, but is completely ignorant of these standards requiring newer v1.4 or later PDF specs, and 2) will autosave any annotations, overwriting these documents with PDF v1.3 – thus damaging their standards functionality.

Strictly use Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for best PDF/A, and PDF/X standard viewing. Acrobat Reader will present a pale blue banner for a PDF/A standard document, and a thin, red display border around X/3 documents. Its properties custom tab will not show the PDF/A version, but will for PDF/X series PDF.
Posted on Mar 23, 2017 2:04 PM


Why Scrivener doesn't make the file you need:

  1. Ingram wants embedded fonts and Scrivener doesn’t allow that.
  2.  Scrivener can’t create a print quality PDF on a Mac because of Mac limitations. (See explanation on right.)