Our blog series on academic book publishing is chronicling each stage in the book production process. In this post, I discuss a process that happens near the end of production: reviewing page proofs. After a manuscript has been copyedited and typeset, authors will receive a set of page proofs—sometimes also called galleys—usually as a PDF of book pages. It’s an exciting and satisfying experience to see your manuscript all laid out and designed as a book! Authors will generally have around two weeks to review the page proofs.

PDF of pages 205-206 of The Power of Partnership, the beginning of chapter 14 "I've Seen You". Nine authors are listed on the first page, and the text starts on the next page.
Page proofs of Power of Partnership, edited by Mercer-Mapstone and Abbot

Last chance

The review of page proofs will be your final opportunity to make any edits to the book before it gets printed and/or finalized for distribution online. We encourage authors to take the time to do a close read of the book to identify any final typos or problems in the text. By this point, the book has been read by many people and gone through rigorous developmental and copy editing. So, hopefully there’s not much to catch! Once the book is printed or posted online, it’s unlikely that edits will be made quickly—some print books never make it to a second printing. While it’s normal to update eBooks, it requires quite a bit of labor so publishers will not do it often.

Make sure to follow all the instructions your publisher sends for how to respond to the page proofs. Sometimes you will be asked to respond to or create comments within the PDF or to send a list of your edits. Please be as clear as possible in your directions so that the publisher can quickly make these last edits.

Page proofs of Page 15 of "Mind the Gap" that show queries as PDF comments and highlighting
Page proofs for Mind the Gap, edited by Namaste and Sturgill, showing queries as PDF comments

Small edits only

It’s incredibly important at this point to only make absolutely necessary edits. This is not the time to decide that you need to add a new section or must rewrite several paragraphs. The text is already in the layout software (like Adobe InDesign), so text edits will be time-intensive to make. Also, making large edits creates a good possibility of introducing errors as the text reflows through the book, changing the pagination. The index is also concurrently being created, so changes in pagination could result in the index having to be redone.

If you must make large-scale edits, know that your publisher won’t be very happy with you (this is an understatement). It may also change the publishing timeline and possibly push back your publication date. Talk with your publisher as soon as possible if you think you will need to make extensive edits during the page proof stage.

What’s next?

Once you return your page proofs, your publisher will be making these final edits and organizing printing or creation of the final eBook files. Your work is done for the production of your book—it will be time to bend your mind toward your plans for promoting the book!


Goforth, Jennie. 2021, September 16. “Academic Publishing: Promoting Your Book” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/academic-publishing-promoting-your-book

Goforth, Jennie. 2020, July 21. “Academic Book Publishing: Typesetting” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/typesetting

Goforth, Jennie. 2020, February 6. What’s the process for publishing a (SoTL) book? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/copyediting/

Jennie Goforth is the Center for Engaged Learning’s Managing Editor. She works with authors to shepherd their work from proposal through production in the Center’s Open Access Book Series. She also manages production of book websites and supplemental materials for the Stylus Publishing/Center for Engaged Learning Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching.

How to cite this post

Goforth, Jennie. 2022. “Academic Publishing: Reviewing Page Proofs.” Center for Engaged Learning (blog), Elon University. February 1, 2022. http://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/academic-publishing-reviewing-page-proofs.