Your book is almost ready to be published, but wait! Have you checked it for any sneaky typos or formatting errors? If not, it’s time for proofreading.

What is proofreading? 

There can be a lot of confusion around what proofreading is and isn’t, but in simple terms, it’s checking the final version of a file for typos and errors before it goes to print. The proofreader “marks up” the file to show the changes needed, which might be in PDF format or in Word using “tracked changes”.

Proofreading is ideal for you as an author if you: 

  • Have finished editing and just want final checks before publishing
  • Skipped copy editing and believe there may be typos in the book
  • Want a professional finish
  • Have spent money on coaching, critique, and editing, and don’t want to be let down by a book full of errors and typos

Editing vs. proofreading 

Proofreading is the last step in the pre-publishing process and is done after editing, and sometimes after design. It doesn’t involve making substantial changes or improving the wording of a document; it’s simply checking for typos, errors, formatting issues, etc. Think of your proofreader as the final sieve for errors.

Does proofreading mean there will be no typos? 

While it’s tempting to say that your book will be typo-free after proofreading, there’s probably not a book in the world without a typo or two. Even books published by Penguin that have been checked by several proofreaders will have the occasional error. Why? Because proofreaders are only human, and the human brain isn’t designed to pick up errors (you can find out why here) and machine attempts at proofreading (such as Grammarly) are even worse. However, experienced proofreaders eliminate numerous errors and typos, even if a few slip through the net.

What you’ll get after proofreading:  

Our expert proofreader can proof in Word or PDF, so you’ll get either:

  • A manuscript marked up using “tracked changes” in Word or
  • A manuscript marked up in PDF format for a designer to implement the changes

How do you know which to go for? If you think there are only a handful of errors, then PDF proofing is fine. But if there are likely to be changes on every page and tens or hundreds of errors, it’s often better to proof in Word, then do a final check of the PDF to catch any last-minute errors.*

Why? Because the designer has to make each change in the PDF, so PDF proofreading involves the proofreader’s time and the designer’s time, meaning it’s more expensive and time-consuming.

The service 

Proofing can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the book and the word count. The cost of proofreading also depends on the word count. The longer the book, the higher the cost. The cost for proofreading per £1000 words is:

  • Word: £15
  • PDF: £20

* If you opt for Word proofreading then need a few changes in the final PDF, less than 20 proofreading changes in the PDF are free.

Privacy and nondisclosure 

We take our authors’ privacy seriously, so rest assured we won’t share your documents, details, or the content of our discussions and recommendations with anyone. We delete all files after use. You can see our privacy policy here.

Our experience 

At The Book Shelf, we specialise in nonfiction books that make the world better. We empower our authors to write life-changing books for their readers. We’ve worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe — from first-timers to New York Times bestsellers, non-native speakers to TedTalkers, and everyone in between. If you want to change your readers’ lives, we want to help you achieve that.

Our specialist areas are:

  • Business: This might include entrepreneurship, leadership, getting out of the rat race, or building a business. It might relate to your particular business, teaching the reader a skill or sharing expertise on your subject matter (such as property development or animation).
  • Personal development: This generally includes books on how to make the reader’s life better, such as how to become happier. It might also mean teaching them individual skills such as goal-setting or nutrition. It often includes aspects of psychology, health, and wellbeing.
  • Philosophy: This could be any area of philosophy from ethical theories to philosophical approaches, metaphysics to morality. For example, the meaning of life, how to think independently, or what happiness is. It may be an analysis of traditional philosophy or proposing a new approach.


“Thank you to Ameesha and The Book Shelf for all your amazing help over the years — it’s always a delight working with you. Your comments are always very clear and your attention to detail in proofreading never fails to amaze me. You’ve been fantastic at turning work around in record time, especially when I’ve had a tight deadline.” – Graham Blackman 

“Can’t rave enough about how great Ameesha is on a professional and personal level! I always recommend The Book Shelf to my friends and business contacts for proofreading.” – Tori 

“There is no-one else I would trust to do my proof-reading. It is always done to an incredibly high standard, within the promised time scale. Very highly recommended.” – Lily