I've been using the createspace.sty to build a PDF using pdflatex / memoir.sty that's compatible with CreateSpace for a book. Now I'd like to do the same sort of thing for Ingramspark.

The Ingramspark POD service has more rigorous specifications for PDF. Does anyone know of anything to make life easier? The specifications I'm following come from here:

  • Must be PDF/X 2001 or 2003
  • Must use the SWOP coated profile
  • Must be Grayscale color mode for interiors, CMYK for covers
  • Must be 300 dpi for images and 106 lpi for text
  • Should turn off ICC Color Profiles
  • Must be set to 240% TAC/TIC
  • All fonts must be embedded
  • Margins must be set to Ingram specifications

I've been using only open source tools, and I'd like to continue that (meaning no Adobe to fix things at the end). Does an ingramspark.sty exist? If not, any advice on how to achieve this?

  • 2
    fonts are embedded by default anyway and margins etc you can set as required, for icc profiles see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/407662/… and for pdf/x see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/576/… I have no idea what TAC/TIC means in this context Apr 15, 2018 at 22:21
  • 7
    Close voters: I don't see that this is off topic at all.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 15, 2018 at 22:23
  • 4
    I use Lightning Source (which is also part of the Ingram group) and I always run my PDF through jmakepdfx (which internally uses ghostscript) before uploading. So far I haven't had any major problems (just occasional warnings about image resolution being too low). I don't know if LS requirements are significantly different from IngramSpark, but I would imagine they're fairly close. Apr 15, 2018 at 23:16
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    @DavidCarlisle TAC = total area coverage, also known as ink limit. It is a term of art in CMYK printing, and is very important in commercial production. Each channel ink can do 100%, so 400% total. But the printer and paper usually cannot hold that much ink. Also there are issues with drying and scratching and cover lamination. So there is an ink limit (TAC). For the process used in print-on-demand, it may be as low as 240%. So, the artwork must be pre-processed to CMYK layers, where no portion (except spekles) exceeds the TAC limit.
    – user139954
    Apr 16, 2018 at 0:33
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    The 106lpi for text is a misunderstanding. I think what they mean is that interior grayscale images (if any) will be halftoned using a 106lpi screen. To the best of my knowledge, you the writer does not do the halftoning; it is done at the printer. They are merely warning you what to expect. I could be wrong.
    – user139954
    Apr 16, 2018 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


Yes, there IS a correlation with LaTeX!

Have a look at the novel document class package. There, you will learn how to convert a cover image into CMYK at 240% ink limit. For that part, you do not yet need LaTeX.

Then, if you have LuaLaTeX, you can use the novel document class to convert the above CMYK image into PDF/X-1a:2001 with Output Intent "US Web Coated SWOP v2" (or some other choices).

That's what Ingram Spark wants. That's what you get.

Absurdly detailed instructions in HTML format, in the document class package. Also contains some useful support files.

EDIT: This document class has been successfully used, more than once, for this purpose. Although the printer wasn't Ingram Spark, it was a similar print service using the same technology.

The novel class can do two different things: (1) It can create the book text block (not in color, no bleed) using LuaLaTeX technology. It is pre-set for the most popular requirements of American softcover books, but you can easily change things using understandable commands. The result will be PDF/X-1a:2001 unless you tell it not to do that. Verified using Adobe Acrobat pro. (2) With auxiliary free software (Windows, Linux, Mac), and scripts that make it all no-brainer, it can convert a color cover image to CMYK at 240% ink limit, then covert to PDF/X-1a:2001. This is independent of how you do the book block. So, you can write your book using a different document class, then just use novel for the cover, if you wish.

Visualize this as a much larger (cover size at 300dpi) RGB image. I created it in GIMP. It is sized to include bleed:

original RGB image, downsized for here

Then, after processing via novel instructions, here is a screenshot of the PDF/X compliance report from Adobe Acrobat Pro:

screenshot of compliance

The above report does not mention ink limit, but that can be separately investigated in Adobe Acrobat Pro, and I assure you that it complies. The color specification "DeviceCMYK" indicates that no ICC profile is attached to the image. None is attached to the PDF, either. For grayscale interior, it is "DeviceGray" instead.

One other thing: novel does NOT do e-books. Never will. Print only.


I gave up on the createspace.sty. Instead, I used the regular memoir template and set the size manually:


After generating, I post-process the XeTeX output with Ghostscript to create a PDF/A:

$ xelatex my-book.tex
$ gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -r300x300 -dPDFA -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dSAFER \\
-sOutputFile=ingram.pdf -sICCProfilesDir=/usr/share/color/icc/ghostscript/ \\
-dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dColorConversionStrategy=/Gray \\

For the cover, I used GIMP and exported as a PDF. IngramSpark was happy to use that.

This is all for print books - eBooks are still out of my reach for now.

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