Proofreading is the last-chance effort to remove all typos and minor errors from book pages and upload files that have been converted to their final form (typeset and paginated). I make sure no errors appear—all cross-references are legitimate, page layout conforms to design, and nothing is missing or included by mistake.
I am careful to minimize the number of costly last-minute changes and resist the urge to cross into the copyeditor’s realm at this late stage!
An abbreviated list of proofreading tasks:
Proof for sense and egregious errors
Correct spelling errors
Check word breaks/end-of-line hyphenation
Check for proper application of design, style, and fonts
Check page numbers and running heads/feet
Check for proper placement and referencing of elements such as images, figures, tables
Check general page appearance
Check page spreads for alignment