Interpreting Our Colophon
To the right is an example of the information contained in the colophon of one of our books. (This one is from the Second Edition of Highest on the Mountain.)
The first section listed on this page includes the copyright year(s) of the written work, followed by the name of the author or copyright holder, and any web or social-media contact information relative to the copyright holder.
This is followed, in smaller print, by any copyrights or acknowledgements of other works which have been used with permission or under license within this work. (There are none in this case.) Each such listing is separated from the main copyright by a blank line.
After the horizontal rule, we specify the edition of this copy of the book and the month and year of publication of this edition.
If this isn’t a first edition, we then specify the first edition’s publication month and year.
Next, we list our publishing house name, mailing address, and website, followed by any legal “fine print” notices. These notices are set in the same size as the additional copyrights and acknowledgements (if any) from the top section.
Finally, we include the month and year that this edition of the work was “printed,” followed optionally by the name of the printer or press we employed for this job. Since we do digital publishing, and often employ on-demand printing, we use the month and year in which this copy of the PDF file was digitized, not the date it was actually transferred to paper.
The final line is a Printer’s Key. It contains the name of this edition (again), followed by a countdown that looks like 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 D. The right-most remaining character indicates which “print run” of the work this is. D indicates a draft printing. Usually draft copies aren’t sold commercially, but if they prove to be relatively free from typographical errors, they may be sold until a revision is needed. Once we have verified the integrity of the work the D is typically removed for the next print run. If the same content is printed again (i.e., with a different cover, or through a different print shop), we would remove the number 1 as well, leaving 2 as the right-most count down number to indicate the second printing of this edition. In the old days of mechanical typesetting, these digits were filed off and removed from metal type slugs, allowing the same colophon page to be used for future printings without any mistakes about which edition is being made. We maintain the use of the Printer’s Key as a historical artifact, but we swap out that page of the PDF document electronically in order to make changes to it.
The colophon is printed on the verso (back) side of the title page. The lower part of the title page itself may contain the location and name of the publishing house, as well as the year of this edition of the book.