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Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the rights to my book?

You do, at all times. 

Do I need to copyright my book before sending it to you?

No. Technically, your book is already your creative property, but copyrighting the material gives authors added legal security that is important. Typically, we submit the paperwork to the U.S. Copyright Office on your behalf, and you will be sent a certificate upon registration. However, if you’d feel more comfortable submitting your work for copyright yourself, you certainly may. 

Who is the publisher? Three Bean Press or me?

Three Bean Press is the publisher. However, our publishing contract is only valid for the life of the first print run, which means that once your designed and edited work is complete and printed and you’ve received the final electronic files, our relationship is over (sniff), unless you’ve elected for us to help sell your book. Should you choose to reprint your book, we hope you’ll consider Three Bean Press first—though you’re under no obligation to do so. If you reprint on your own or with a new publisher, you will need to purchase a new ISBN number, as the initial ISBN number reflects Three Bean Press as the publisher. 

What is an ISBN?

It stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s a 10- and/or 13-number book identifier that enables booksellers and libraries to bring up your book information, author, price and ordering information, among other things. New ISBNs are all 13 digits. You’ll need one of these to sell your title, and we’ll get it for you. 

What is a Bookland/EAN barcode?

A barcode that brings up ISBNs. Wholesalers and booksellers require having one on the back covers of the books they sell. When someone purchases your book, stores scan in this barcode at the register, and your book’s price and information is accessed from their computer database and transmitted to the register. As with an ISBN, we handle this process for you. 

What is an LCCN?

This stands for Library of Congress Control Number. Not to be confused with a copyright registration, an LCCN is a number created by the Library of Congress that identifies the library’s record for a given book. Librarians use this number to access the Library of Congress database and get bibliographic information on a select title. Again, don’t worry about this—we’ll get it for you.

I’ve finished my book! What does Three Bean Press need from me in order to publish my work?

We accept manuscript files in a Microsoft Word document or Rich Text document. Please don’t try and format your document, that’s our job. Images must be supplied either as high-resolution jpegs or tiff files and saved as CMYK. Full-page images should be a minimum of 8″x10″ at 300 dpi (dots per inch), while half-page images must be a minimum of 7″x5″ at 300 dpi. Get all the details at Get Started. 

Do you use digital or offset printing?

We use both. For print runs from 1-500 copies, we typically use digital printing, as it is the method of choice for low-volume printing. When printing higher volumes, we use offset lithography for its superior quality and because the unit price of the printed piece goes down as the quantity goes up. 

What are the advantages to each?

For digital printing, every print is identical, resulting in less waste, and there is a shorter turnaround time. For offset, the image quality is high, a variety of printing surfaces (i.e. cloth, rough paper, plastic, leather) may be used, and the overall look of the work generally appears more polished. Also, if you’re looking to match Pantone® colors, offset printing provides the best match, as it actually uses Pantone® ink. 

What kind of printing specifications, such as cover casing, paper stocks and trim sizes, do you offer?

Most often, our clients choose hardcover or paperback casing. But if your book calls for something unique, such as spiral binding, we’ll make it happen. Because we have relationships with many printers, authors are bound only by their imaginations; we can offer French flaps, cloth covers, onlays, dust jackets, cutouts, recycled paper, perforated pages…you get the idea. That’s the beauty of working with Three Bean Press—you’re never tied to a standard book format. To learn more about what we’ll need to gather pricing for your specific job, check out Get Started

Do you offer print-on-demand services?

The quick answer is yes, but it’s not what most of our clients choose. With Three Bean Press, you can choose to print as many or as few books as you’d like, but to get the best return on your investment, we don’t recommend printing on-demand. A good rule of thumb is to start with a minimum of 250 copies if you’re printing a standard black-and-white book, while a minimum of 1,500 copies is where the price begins to break for full-color books. 

Who keeps the files after my book is printed?

You do. You paid us to design and prepare your files for print, so it’s only fair that they are yours to keep at the project’s end. We’ll supply you with an electronic file of the completed work, and you’ll be able to print from these files in the future, if you decide to do a reprint. 

Why doesn’t Three Bean Press have a royalty program?

Because you pay us, initially, for our creative services and for readying your book for print, and because you foot the printing bill, all returns are yours—and rightly so! The only time Three Bean Press takes a small commission is when we sell your book to bookstores we’re affiliated with, sell it through our website, or fulfill orders placed by our distributors. These small percentages help offset the costs of shipping, packaging materials, warehousing, and distributor and web hosting fees. 

Will Three Bean Press help me sell my book?

Most of our clients choose to sell their books themselves to achieve the best return on their investment. However, if you want us to we’re happy to help! We’ll add your title to our online store and make it available on such sites as and, as well as to nationwide chains and independent bookstores through our distributors. Our commission structure is as follows: 0% of retail price for sales made on and fulfilled by client; 50% of retail price for sales made on and fulfilled by Three Bean Press; 15% of retail price for sales to stores; 6.75% of retail price for sales on online retailers like and and through our distributors. Payments for sales made through Three Bean Press are made to our clients quarterly. 

What if a large publishing house or literary agent contacts me and wants to buy the rights to my book?

They absolutely can. Since you own the rights to your book, that’s your call. In fact, many literary agents try to stay up on the self-publishing world’s new releases for precisely this reason. 

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