Here's A Potpourri of Electronic Prepress News

It seems like there's a whole new world of electronic prepress information to write about every time Printer's Ink is due to come out again. There's just too much to cover anymore to let me concentrate on any single subject. So, just in case you already know a lot of this stuff and don’t want to be bothered looking at everything, here’s a list of what we’ll cover this time: $.30 Per Page Discount; “Pre-Qualified” Typesetter List; OPI and Halftone Discount; FlightCheck; EP Seminars; Miscellaneous.

$.30 Per Page Discount: All jobs that come to us on a disk instead of as camera- ready-copy have an opportunity to receive a discount of $.30 per page. To get the discount, you need to submit an error free disk. You will receive the discount whether or not it was mentioned on our quote to you so it will be sort of a bonus. There are two ways to qualify for the discount. If your file is created by someone on our list of “pre-qualified” typesetters you will automatically get the discount. Or, regardless of who prepares the file, if it comes to us in a format we can impose electronically (most formats will work but PC based Windows ’95 will not) and is free of errors, you will get the discount. So far, over half of all our EP jobs are receiving the discount and if you do not get it we will give you a full, written explanation of what went wrong and tell you how you can succeed next time.

Pre-qualified Typesetter List: This list is open to typesetters who demonstrate that they can provide PostScript (or application) files that we can electronically impose and who, if something does go awry, is willing to work with us directly to straighten it out...so the publisher does not have to get involved. If the typesetter is responsible for creating the problem, we would expect them to be responsible for the $.30 discount we give the publisher. We are qualifying these typesetters for their file creating abilities...not for the quality of the typesetting, their service or their pricing. We expect the publisher would do whatever checking you normally do to check out the typesetter on these areas. Our list, as of mid-May, includes the following typesetters who have demonstrated to us that they can successfully meet our criteria:

We have a full address and brief biography of each of these companies but it’s too long to include here. If you call or write we’ll be glad to send you the complete list.

OPI and Halftone Discount: In order to do halftones via OPI, the text copy must come in on a disk. When this happens, the scanned and digitized halftone can be stripped electronically by us or via the low res/high res system it can be cropped and stripped by the customer. In this latter case, we give an automatic $2.00 per halftone discount to the customer. Halftone stripping with OPI is so easy and so precise that we use it for virtually all of our halftones involved with disk jobs, whether or not we or the customer does the placement. OPI is not difficult or complicated but since it has been fairly thoroughly covered in the last several Printer’s Inks, I’ll not waste your time with it again. However, if you want to learn more about it, give Laurie Briegel (Laurie is our EP Customer Service Rep) a call or for that matter any of our customer contact people can help you with it.

FlightCheck: This is a “stand alone” software package that we recommend for publishers who are creating their own application files. When you’ve finished the file, you can put it through this program and it will check it out for 140 possible problems. It works, so I’m told, very easily. FlightCheck verifies all the elements, (fonts, images, colors, etc.) it collects them, checks out to be sure any halftones you scanned are at effective resolutions and then puts all the stuff in a single folder. It works well for PageMaker, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Freehand, and Quark Xpress. We use it ourselves on all jobs that come in as application files. It will help insure you will get the $.30 per page discount. The downside is it costs about $400.00. You can call them at 800-300-3532 or fax at 714-241-3874 if you’re interested. For PostScript files there’s a similar program that’s called Download Mechanic Pro which we also use and recommend. You can contact them at 800-482-1252. Be sure you ask about the upgraded version.

EP Seminars: T-S people have developed an excellent 1 day seminar that they have put on 3 different times in 3 different locations. Now we feel we’re ready to take it on the road. The seminar is aimed at making the entire EP process understandable and non-intimidating. The feedback we have received is that it works and we strongly recommend you consider attending one if EP holds any interest for you or your people.

Our tentative seminar schedule is Chicago in July followed by San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York State. The exact dates and locations are not pinned down yet but they will be shortly. We’ll make them available via fax if you ask for them...or via the Internet...or even on the phone or mail if you insist. The cost is set and that’s $50 per registrant, and this includes lunch. We aren’t doing this to make money...nor to lose money either. We hope you will be interested. If you like, we can give you references or you could call up the production manager of your nearest University Press. Most all of them have been exposed to the seminar. We also describe this seminar briefly on the back page of this Printer’s Ink.

Miscellaneous: We have a new EP datasheet for covers & jackets. It’s version 2.0 and while it is not on our Web page as I’m writing this, it should be by the time you read this. It is also on our fax server. There is a lot of information on page 2 of the data sheet about how we’d like cover and jacket files prepared. The FlightCheck software we mentioned earlier will also work for covers and jackets. We would like to make the filling out of this data sheet a necessary part of doing electronic covers and jackets.

Our Impostrip software, which is designed to electronically impose PC application files, does not yet work with Windows ’95 files. It will, however, handle most other PC applications and should be able to do Windows ’95 by this Fall.

Lastly, while I’m afraid we’ve run out of room for “Trivia” in this issue, if we had had Trivia I would have mentioned that the University of Michigan won the 1996 NCAA Hockey Championship in April. I trust you’re excited and pleased to hear this.

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Chlorine Free Paper...What’s It All About

We have been getting a lot of questions about using text paper that is chlorine free. If you are not acquainted with this, here is a brief but hopefully accurate discussion of the subject.

Chlorine is used in paper production to bleach the pulp. Bleaching is part of the normal paper making process and is done in all paper making in order to get a common denominator for color. Unfortunately the chlorine residue in the paper making process combines with other elements to form a dioxin...and dioxins are extremely hazardous to the environment.

The biggest contributor to the making of these dioxins is “elemental chlorine”. Environmentalists and the government are both trying to get paper companies to clean up their act and get rid of elemental chlorine in their manufacturing process and about 1/2 the paper that is produced can now be designated as ECF or “elemental chlorine free”. All of our floor sheets, Supple Opaque, Joy white, and Thor, are ECF. Most other book papers (including most of Glatfelter’s other text sheets)are not ECF.

One mill has gone beyond ECF paper to make a sheet that is totally chlorine free or TCF. It is generally recognized that this is still better for the environment since ECF paper still uses some chlorine in the manufacturing process though it’s not the real bad elemental chlorine.

The Sierra Club has called for the elimination of chlorine in every form from paper making although they still do print their magazine on ECF paper. Paper making, by the way, is responsible for about 1% of the chlorine that is used in our economy so it is not the only culprit.

Lyons Falls Paper Company is the big player in TCF paper. It makes a sheet specifically for the book market and we are adding it to our paper inventory in 50 and 60 lb weights for the 6 x 9" trim size. It will be priced comparable to Glatfelter Supple Opaque. The rest of the paper industry appears to be making an effort to move toward ECF paper...though they aren’t doing this with a whole lot of enthusiasm...but there seems to be no new movement at all to go towards TCF paper and TCF does not appear as a practical or economically possible industrywide move at this point.

ECF vs. TCF is a very hot (and controversial) topic in paper making and environmental circles at the moment. There is no clear agreement on how much better TCF is although common sense would lead you to believe that total elimination of chlorine is better than partial...it’s just that it’s not possible for all companies to do it now. Incidentally, in Europe, over half the paper is now TCF and there is real pressure to move all of the manufacturing to TCF.

I believe we are the only book printer in America that is using ECF paper in all of our floor sheets. Two of those sheets, Supple and Thor, are also recycled. You cannot have a TCF recycled sheet. So...you pay your money and you take your choice. Hopefully this has shed more light than confusion on the subject of chlorine use in paper making. At any rate, T- S can now provide either so you literally can take your choice.

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Paper Pricing Update

Goodness only knows what the price of white paper will be when you read this but as I write it white paper prices are the lowest they have been in over a year. Since the last edition of Printer’s Ink, our white paper price went down a couple cents a pound, up 4 cents a pound then down 7 cents a pound. By June 1 the rumor is that it will go back up 4 cents and this would get it back close to where it was 3 months ago.

There are a couple big new white paper machines coming “on-stream” later this year and that usually puts downward pressure on prices for quite a while.

Natural paper prices, on the other hand, have not budged in about 6 months. At the moment natural is 23% above white while a year ago they were virtually the same. Traditionally, natural paper is 10 to 15% above white paper in price per pound. The natural paper is also more opaque and bulkier than most white sheets.

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Electronic Tips & Tricks

PageMaker and Target Printer Resolution: Did you ever wonder why we ask for the Target Printer Resolution (in Document Setup under the File menu) to be set to 2540 dpi? This is the final resolution at which we will output your job. PageMaker uses this information to correctly scale 1-bit bitmap images when you resize them using magic stretch. Using the “magic stretch” technique to resize your graphics causes the image to snap to sizes that are exact multiples of the target printer resolution. PageMaker also uses the information in Target Printer Resolution when you import an image from a Photo CD. The Kodak Photo CD import filter takes into account both the image size and the resolution you specified, then assigns the optimum default resolution.

If you set the Target Printer Resolution to 2540 dpi when the document was originally created, prior to importing and scaling any 1-bit graphics, you don’t need to worry about it.

If you had to change the Target Printer Resolution after you’d imported and scaled any 1-bit graphics, you should resize them based on the new Target Printer Resolution value.

Adobe recommends that any document containing graphics, 1-bit or otherwise, has the Target Printer Resolution set for the final output resolution.

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T-S Installs New Software & Hardware For Copydotting & Rescreening Halftones

One of the few problems T-S has had doing halftones via OPI was the inability to be able to rescreen or copydot previously printed halftones using OPI. However, by the time you read this, that shortcoming should have gone away.

By the end of May, we will have installed new hardware and software in our camera room that is specifically designed to handle copydotting and rescreening. This stuff, designed and produced by IMagiTex, can look at an already printed image (black and white or color), change it to a digital image then create a scanned negative the same as it would for a regular halftone.

The samples the manufacturer has made were very high quality and I assume this will be the same in a factory setting...though no one anywhere has done it yet.

The copydotting technique will be used if the image to be reproduced is going to be the exact size as the original piece. This digital reproduction is almost an exact match for the original. The downside to this is that it is priced like a regular halftone that is shot and stripped in ... i.e. $11.00 each. A regular copydot, up ‘til now, was simply a line shot of the page and there was no additional charge. We can still do that instead of the new process but, as before, the quality is marginal. The new copydot is priced like a halftone and the quality will be as high.

For rescreens (the new name for this is actually “descreen,” not rescreen) the charge was and will be the same as a halftone. The advantage of the new descreen process is that the quality will be better than ever. Descreens will be used if you are changing the size of the original or if you want to retouch it or change it in some other way.

Both of these techniques are compatible with OPI so the $2.00 per halftone saving that we give to OPI halftones will be in effect for OPI half-tones, descreens or copydots.

Perhaps because of our increasing investment in equipment and training in halftone reproduction... or maybe just because of blind luck... the number of halftones we are doing is up 25% this year and is now averaging over 3500 per month. I suspect no book printer anywhere comes close to that number of halftones when you take the relative size of the printers into account.

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...And All The Cheerleaders Get To Cry

It seems to me that every day at work you should have the opportunity to do things that are “above and beyond”... things that can make you, as an individual, feel proud of what you’ve done. While virtually every corporate annual report will say that their company’s people are their most important asset, their actions don’t necessarily reflect that and I think this is a major weakness in the way a lot of businesses operate.

So, having made these two disjointed points I’ll try to bring them together to describe what, in my mind, provides the “spiritual” payoff that can come when your people are given the opportunity to do something extraordinary... and they do it. I’d like to think that our company environment provides every single employee dozens of such opportunities each and every day but to make my case, I’ll single out just two examples here.

The first... We are in the final steps of completing a consolidation of our business from two plants to one. Because of limits on available land area as well as financial resources, since 1990 we have been operating in two separate plants. We printed books in one plant and bound them in another.

For a company that makes a big deal out of togetherness and sort of being a family, this was a lousy situation, to say nothing of not being particularly economical. Now, however, instead of two plants that were each about 55,000 square feet, we have one that is over 140,000 square feet and we’re all together again.

This building project (we expanded one building from 55,000 square feet to 140,000 square feet) was designed, planned and carried out by our own people. One group of people decided how much space we were going to build (it took 6 meetings to accomplish this) and how it was going to be added to one of the existing buildings. Once that was decided, the departments that were going to move, (camera, layout, electronic prepress, plate and the entire pressroom and our warehouse) each planned their own areas within the new space. In their own department meetings every person had a hand in deciding how much new space they needed and how it was going to be laid out to accommodate them.

When we moved to the next step and got the building underway, our maintenance people acted as our own general contractor. We lined up all the outside contractors, set the schedules, got them all here on time and coordinated the timing of the entire project along with the arrival of our three new presses, as well as the disassembling, moving (with the help of an erector and a crane) and reassembling of 5 existing presses and all the equipment from the other departments that moved.

We moved the presses one at a time so we could keep up on our production schedules and the presses were each down just 48 hours. The people in the departments that moved, moved their own stuff all over whatever weekend they were scheduled to. They worked through Friday, moved, and began work in their new space on Monday.

Working with an architect and some outside building consultants, we designed the lighting, heating, and air conditioning for the entire project.

As you read this, the project is now over. We planned it and carried it out with, as far as I can tell, no customer ever feeling any negative impact from it. No jobs missed schedules because of this move. Practically nothing missed a beat and this was no small project. It was, I feel, a great example of what people can accomplish when they are in an environment that recognizes that each and every contributor is important. THERE ARE NO UNIMPORTANT PEOPLE.

The second example is more modest as far as the number of people involved but the accomplishment was still significant.

In conjunction with our company commitment to becoming an industry leader in the advancement and utilization of electronic prepress, we decided to develop and put on electronic prepress seminars around the country. The seminars would focus on easing publisher’s concerns about providing copy on disks and to help give them the skills and incentive to do this.

Our initial thought was to utilize an outside consultant to help us develop the content for the seminar and then also be the major speaker at the seminar.

As our people began the planning of this project, two young ladies in our electronic prepress area decided we did not need outside help here. They worked in electronic prepress, they knew what was needed, they talked to customers about this stuff every day and they decided they’d like to do this themselves.

They (Laurie Briegel and Sue Campbell) worked in their “spare” time and came up with the basic information they felt would best tell the electronic prepress story in an un-intimidating and understandable manner and they eventually put together a one day, 8 hour session that was ready for a trial. Their initial flight was on a Saturday in a church meeting room where they presented it to about 35 T-S employees including myself.

That session was designed to get feedback from our customer contact people and it led to the next session, in front of about 35 publishers from Michi-gan, and surrounding areas.

After receiving excellent feedback and very rewarding comments, their next stop was a compressed, 4 hour session in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they provided their seminar for 65 University Press production people and, once again, got a very positive response.

Now, they plan to again hit the road and visit various areas of the country putting on one day, 8 hour sessions, for anyone who cares to come. They are setting up the schedule now and we’ll be sending out mailings to people within a couple hundred miles of the sites they chose and we certainly encourage you to come if you can. We’ll shortly be finalizing those dates and locations but tentatively they are Chicago in July followed by San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York State between then and the end of the year. When they are finalized we’ll put them on our Web site (www.tshore.com) and send out a mailing to publishers in those areas.

My point here is not about wanting you to attend one of our seminars. It’s about the pleasure, or pride or confidence building that can result when people are in an environment that recognizes in individual effort and they respond with that effort. You’ve probably heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a truly bad dog”. Well I believe there’s no such thing as a bad employee...but there are companies...or situations...that can make them look bad. No one wants to fail. Everyone, I believe, will make the effort to do their best if they realize they are an important member of the team and that their best effort is needed by the rest of the team. And, when all of this happens and it results in some unique accomplishment...well it should almost be enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Ain’t that what success in business, or marriage, or sports or any endeavor should be all about? The group makes the effort, it wins, and all the cheerleaders get to cry.

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Internet Update

Our Web site is now approaching being 1 year old and it is still going strong. We are averaging over 600 “hits” a day, getting about 1 quote request a day (we recently quoted and won a book printing job from Australia and the whole thing was done over the Internet) and we answer about a dozen questions a day that come over the Internet.

We are in the process of updating most of the Internet photos of our customer contact people at T-S so if you wanted to know, or maybe just forgot, what we look like, you can see current pictures of each of us on the Internet. Our Internet Update own, personally written biographies are also there with the pictures.

Our Internet home page includes a “Plant Tour,” our order planning guidelines (the information our order planners need in order to make out a printing order for our plant), our EP guidelines, informational hot links with Apple, Desktop Publishers Resource Guide, the “Well Connected Mac,” etc., OPI information, and literally dozens of other items of interesting information. We had a large customer send us an e-mail message saying her people spent 2 very productive hours getting information from our Web site. She said nearly everyone in their organization had accessed our site and they all learned something useful.

You can download things like Adobe Acrobat if you need it as well as our Spine Bulk program, right off our Internet site.

If you do visit our site (http:// www.tshore.com) and have any particular reaction to it, let us know. We’re interested in knowing what you thought and what else you might like to have available at the site.

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Printer's Ink is a quarterly newsletter written by Ned Thomson, president of Thomson-Shore, Inc. A hardcopy version is sent out to approximately 20,000 addresses, world-wide. If you are interested in being added to our mailing list please contact us one of the following ways:

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