What's a Blad in Publishing?

A special kind of sales book

Stack of hardcover books

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The term blad lives in the book publishing world and nowhere else, so don't feel bad if you've never heard it. A blad is a sample book section that is used by book publishers and their sales staffs to promote an upcoming book.

Blad Is Book Publisher Lingo

A blad is a booklet that consists of a few sample pages or chapters of a soon-to-be-released book with a color proof of the front and back covers or book jacket. A blad may be stapled, spiral bound, wire-bound, or (less often) bound in the same manner as the finished book will be bound. It serves as a preview of the book for promotional use, reviewers and advance sales. It is a particularly helpful sales tool when the book is non-fiction and filled with illustrations or images.

A book publisher doesn't need to wait for a writer to finish writing a book to make a blad for sales purposes. As long as the cover or book jacket art is approved and the first few chapters received, a blad can be produced.

Blads Motivate Writers

Some writers say that seeing blads for books they are still writing serves as a motivating factor to finish the book. Because the blad contains the artwork for the book jacket or covers, the writer is excited to see it. Not all publishers make blads and those that do don't make them for every book they release. The publisher decides if a blad is a suitable form of pre-publication sales material for upcoming books.

Origin of the Term

Many publishers and their sales staff assume blad is an acronym for Book Layout And Design. It is sometimes written in all caps as BLAD. However, the term more likely originated with blad as described in the Oxford English Dictionary as "a fragment, a portion or a portfolio."

A blad is similar to a galley proof although a galley proof is typically a low-cost version of the entire publication sent out to book reviewers, rather than just a sample.