Spring 1997 Volume 13 Issue 1

Table of Contents:

  1. New Developments in EP Portend Very Significant Improvements Coming Some Time Soon
  2. You Can Add Case Binding to Your Order for the Library Market
  3. Web Page Enhancements
  4. PreQualified Typesetter Additions
  5. Miscellaneous, Unorganized Price References
  6. Paper Prices Are Churning Again
  7. Trivia
  8. New Binding Line Will Make Soft and Hard Bound Books Better Than Ever
  9. Management Succession at Thomson-Shore
  10. Printer' Ink Information

New Developments in EP Portend Very Significant Improvements Coming Some Time Soon

I am about as far out of my depth in this story as I've ever been but the folks who deal with it at T-S think it's going to be a big deal sometime soon ... so with the thought that this will be further evidence of the desirability of moving toward the creation of text copy electronically here goes ...

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a new delivery system being developed by Adobe for any document that is headed to print. Publishers can get PDF files from their file creators instead of asking for files in PostScript or in an application format.

While PDF has been around for some time (the documents on our T-S web site such as this issue of Printer's Ink are available as PDF files) it is only now being upgraded by Adobe to include high end features and that is why it is now beginning to be feasible, and desirable, as a future file of choice for book production.

The benefits of PDF files in printing are:

1- Very small file size. A PDF file will be somewhere between 1/10 and 1/100 the size of a conventional PostScript file. PDF files use compression algorithms to achieve this small size.

2- Fonts, images and graphics are all contained within the file or document. Like a PostScript file, everything is contained in the file but unlike PostScript, everything is both viewable and editable on screen ... and everything is in place.

3- PDF files are independent of the platform or operating system they run on and can be used equally well in Macintosh, Windows or Unix environments.

4- One consistent, predictable, and reliable format can be used for virtually any and all documents.

5- Because of the very small file size PDF files can be easily archived for later retrieval and use.

6- While incorporating the virtues of PostScript files, PDF is far less complicated.

Thomson-Shore's current imposition software is due to be upgraded to be PDF compatible some time this summer. The current version of PageMaker, version 6.5, is already PDF compatible. If a PageMaker file is converted to PDF there will be no need for PostScript conversion by the printer. The creation of PDF files would be much quicker than converting PostScript files. Currently we do not charge for PostScript conversion but it is a time consuming (about 90 minute per job) and troublesome process that frequently slows production down because the conversion is slow and the work station is tied up while the conversion is taking place.

PDF should soon be compatible with OPI so illustrated books with their large files will be excellent candidates for PDF files.

In addition to PageMaker, Adobe is also working on making Illustrator, FrameMaker and PhotoShop PDF compatible and when this happens, we would be able to accept and support PDF files on these platforms for Windows '95 as readily as for Mac files. Currently about 20% of our incoming text files are Windows (mostly 3.1) and this is slowly increasing. PDF compatibility will be a big help in this area.

While PageMaker 6.5 is likely going to be the first application that can take advantage of PDF files, others will be coming on later this year and within a year or so, PDF will probably be having a dramatic effect on graphic production of all kinds.

Virtually every major graphic software developer (except Quark) is on record as saying they are working on making their software compatible with this new PDF standard. How quickly this all comes about is anyone's guess but at this point it all seems inevitable.

At the moment, there's nothing a file creator can do to take advantage of PDF files but the opportunity should present itself before much longer. As soon as this is possible we will be converting application files that we receive from customers to PDF files instead of PostScript files. When we do this we'll be doing the file testing that's necessary for us to develop creation guidelines for others to use. We'll then pass these along to our customers so you can begin submitting PDF files that we can work with easily. In the meantime at least you can tell your friends you're acquainted with PDF.

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You Can Add Case Binding to Your Order for the Library Market

If libraries are a potential buyer of titles you publish but you miss that market because you only do soft bound books, there can be a way around this dilemma.

To over-run some copies of a 6 x 9" perfect bound book, Smyth sew them, case them into B grade cloth with head and foot bands, matching end leaves, and spine stamping (this is a very acceptable binding for almost any library), the cost of the additional 200 case bound books (including the stamping die) would be approximately as follows:

200 add'l copies add'l copies each
192 pages $1140 $1.75
288 pages $1865 $2.13
384 pages $1390 $2.51
512 pages $1560 $3.00

These prices assume no dust jacket but this shouldn't cause a problem. Most split bound runs with a small quantity for libraries do not have a jacket.

Not being a publisher I can't offer any ideas about how you sell to libraries but I suspect you could get ideas at some of the industry meetings that go on. I can say that split binding is a growing part of our business so more and more publishers seem to be finding a way to sell to this market.

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Web Page Enhancements

Our Web Design Team recently regrouped to figure out how we can enhance our current web page. Some ideas that came from the meeting are:

  1. A section containing award winning books that we have printed along with ordering information and links to the publisher's web page.
  2. More links: Customer's web pages and publisher association web pages.
  3. A list of distributors.
  4. Printer's terms dictionary.

We are open to suggestions so let us know any other improvements you would like to see or ways we can help your business succeed.

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PreQualified Typesetter Additions

In Volume 12 Issue 3 of Printer's Ink we gave a complete list of the typesetters that have demonstrated to our satisfaction that they can produce trouble free electronic files. We added 2 more to the list in Volume 12, Issue 4 and here are the latest typesetters to be added to the "PreQualified" list:

Alvart Badalian
Arrow Graphics
36 Hazel Street
Watertown, MA 02172
Ph: (617) 926-8585
Fax: (617) 926-0982

Alice Bennett Dates
A. W. Bennett
RR1, Box 209, Poor Farm Road
Hartland, VT 05048
Ph: (802) 436-3033
Fax: Same

Ann Holmes
Business Graphics
3314 Bassar, N.E.
Alburquerque, NM 87107
Ph: (505) 884-2244
Fax: (505) 884-1668

Tom Angstadt
Keystone Typesetting
217 East Market Street
Orwigsburg, PA 17961
Ph: (717) 366-3844
Fax: (717) 366-3844

Christine Taylor
Wilsted & Taylor
430 40th Street
Oakland, CA 94609-2522
Ph: (510) 428-9087

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Miscellaneous, Unorganized Price References

In response to suggestions we've received for Printer's Ink articles, here are some miscellaneous pricing items that may help you in planning a publishing project.

PAPER: White is about (at least as I'm writing this) 10% less expensive than natural. We stock white in 50 & 60 pound weights and natural in 50, 55 & 60 pound weights. White is smoother (books will be thinner and halftones will look better) than natural and it is about 1% less opaque.

BINDING: Using "A" grade as a base, "B" grade cloths adds about $.015 per copy to the prince of a 6 x 9 book and Kivar 7 subtracts about $.12 per copy.

Wrapping jackets around the book adds about $.15 per copy plus the cost to print the jacket. Individual shrink wrapping will add about $.10 per copy and shrink wrapping in groups will add about $.03 per copy.

To Smyth sew a 1000 copy, 6 signature soft bound book in lieu of perfect binding it will add approximately $100 set-up plus $.21 per copy.

COVERS: A black ink only, laminated cover will be about $400 for 1000 copies plus $.10 for additionals. Black plus one color will add $165 and black plus two colors adds another $165. Substituting a PMS for black adds $38. Matte lamination (not layflat), is approximately the same price as layflat gloss lamination and both are about $30 set-up plus $.05 per copy more than regular press varnish.

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Paper Prices Are Churning Again

Since March of 1996, our natural floor sheet (Glatfelter's Supple Opaque) has had 3 price changes, one up and two down. It is currently about 4% below the price of a year ago.

White paper, on the other hand, has had 11 price changes since March '96, four up and seven down. It is now 9% below March of '96.

This volatility in white paper is, I think, unparalleled. However, at the moment stability seems to have returned and the word is that the prices will likely remain unchanged for a bit. We'll see.

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When we started our Customer Satisfaction Survey in 1996, we said after one year we'd put the names of everyone who returned a questionnaire into a drawing and come up with a winner for the "Great Dexter Adventure." Well the year is up, the winner has been drawn and she is ... Donna Cohen of the Printing Network.

Donna, her husband, and two kids, will be coming to Michigan June 6 and 7. Their stay will include a T-S plant tour plus time to tour the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and visit with family in the Detroit area.

* * * * *

T-S has a new Customer Service Representative to handle the Western region of the U.S. The new person is Dawn Britt and she comes to us with nine years experience in book manufacturing and customer service work. Dawn started at T-S in March and went through a six week training program to learn our methods and procedures and getting to know our people. She began actually dealing directly with customers in early May. Lee Broat who has been our customer service assistant for the Western region for several years will be working with Dawn.

* * * * *

When we receive new jobs via electronic files we do not archive the text files. If you have a title with halftones that we will scan and you would like to have the scans archived for possible later use, if you send us a removable media file we'd be glad to archive those scans on it and return it to you to keep. There is no charge for this. We do routinely archive cover and jacket files, however.

* * * * *

We have mentioned that we are stocking a TCF (totally chlorine free) sheet of natural text stock called Turin Book. Initially we only stocked it in rolls for runs of 2000 or more but now we are also stocking it in sheets. This paper is approximately the same price as the Supple Opaque sheet which we stock and, like Supple Opaque, it is a natural shade. Let us know if you are interested in this TCF sheet or would like to see a sample of it.

* * * * *

In the OPI process, graphics should be sized before sending them in to us. If you get low res OPI files back and then you size them, enlarging the illustration would create a coarser screen than intended and this would adversly effect the quality of the image. Reducing the graphic wil not effect the screen but it could add output time if the reduction is very great.

* * * * *

This summer MicroSoft wil be dropping support for Windows 3.1. That means no more new applications or upgrades for current applications. Most of our Windows files are 3.1 but this will likely be changing to Mac or Windows 95.

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New Binding Line Will Make Soft and Hard Bound Books Better Than Ever

In July, Thomson-Shore will be installing a complete, newly designed Kolbus KM 2000 computerized make-ready binding line that is specifically designed to handle short run book binding.

This machine is a new generation binder that is in-line from gathering folded signatures through three knife trimming. It will be used for virtually all our perfect and notch bound soft bound books as well as notch bound, case bound books.

Currently when we produce a notch bound case bound book we endsheet the first and last signatures of the book off-line then the endsheeted book is run through our perfect binding line applying a soft cover. The cover is then removed and the "glued bound" book is ready for the casing in-line. The new line will end sheet in-line and run the book through the binding operation at a speed of up to 10,000 books per hour (vs. a maximum of 6000 on our current machine). The new line applies a-crash reinforcement which the old line couldn't do and it delivers trimmed book blocks ready to go through the "casing-in" process. All told, this will cut the direct labor time for this process by more than half and deliver a stronger bound book.

For soft bound (notch or perfect bound) books the 10,000 per hour speed will still hold, and an additional advantage is that the make-ready on the machine is done by a computer and one job can be set up while the previous job is being run. If the new machine "misses" (fails to pick up a signature) it automatically ejects that book and keeps on running. In our current machine a miss causes the machine to stop while the operator goes down the line and physically has to remover the bad book by hand then go back and start the machine again.

Additionally, the KM 2000 has better spine preparation for either soft or hard bound books and this will provide a stronger book, it has 2 nipping stations instead of one to provide a tighter, less spongy binding ... so overall, it will produce better bound books quicker and less expensively.

Since the new design was introduced at the Drupa printing and binding show in 1996, there have been six of them installed in the U.S., but none of them have gone to printers that compete with T-S.

Our machine, which will be 150 feet long, should be up and operating in our plant by the first of August. A last item about this machine is that it is fully capable of producing lay-flat (Otabound) books and we will add that feature if it appears there is demand for it.

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Management Succession at Thomson-Shore

As far as I know, no one at T-S is thinking of retiring in the near future ... however there is now a plan in place at T-S that provides for the gradual relinquishing of the reins by Ned and Harry. I will be 66 in September and Harry is much older than me, so it seemed appropriate that the company should address what will happen when we feel it's time to leave. How this "addressing" took place is, I believe, an interesting story. At any rate, here it is ....

For the last couple years our people have voiced concern about what will happen after Ned and Harry leave. Our culture is unusual enough that there was no obvious scenario that would provide for its automatic continuation. And, most everyone did want it to continue.

About a year ago after a couple false starts we formed a "Succession Committee" and gave it the charge to use their own ideas plus the input from any or all of the 300 plus T-S employees, to create what they felt was the ideal way to handle the shifting of the leadership of the company from Ned and Harry to some other "body" with priority given to maintaining the current culture while improving on the quality of leadership.

This 7 person (4 males and 3 females) committee met weekly for 6 months, working with an outside consultant, reading all sorts of stuff about succession, management styles, etc., interviewing many people (including my wife) and in January made their recommendation. It went first to Ned and Harry for their approval (we were not on the committee) then after that approval (with virtually no alterations) it was given to the balance of the employees for comment but at this point it was no longer in need of approval. Our theory on this is that the committee's charge is to investigate all the options, get input from all interested parties and when they reach consensus their recommendation is generally approved as it stands. If someone strongly disagreed with a conclusion they should have made their thoughts known to the committee during the investigation process.

At any rate, their final proposal which is in the form of a pretty complete written document as well as a visual presentation, contained the following steps:

Ned and Harry will form a T-S Advisory Board that will be made up of the two of them plus 3 people from outside the company. This group's primary function will be to serve as business advisors to the new management team as well as all the T-S department managers.

This Advisory Board's First task will be to come up with a "Leadership Team" of approximately three persons and this team's function will be to take over as the new C.E.O. ... i.e. we'll be managed by a team, not a single person. This is consistent with our tradition (Ned and Harry oversaw the company as a two person team) and our culture.

Once this team is selected, Ned and Harry will be involved with training the team and when this is deemed complete ... likely this Fall, they will step aside and go directly to part-time, advisory status, two days a week.

Day to day management and planning will be carried out by this new team along with the managers of these seven functions; manufacturing, customer service, marketing, estimating, information processing, human resources and finance.

Ned and Harry will hang around to observe how this is working and to be sure our company culture is not threatened by these changes but after a period of a year or so, they will go into complete retirement from T-S. In the meantime I will continue to write Printer's Ink, attend more trade shows and industry meetings than before, spend more time in customer contact than I've been spending and spend a lot less time directly involved in estimating.

This is a brief description of the highlights of this management transition plan. Running in conjunction with this is a second plan that will transfer majority ownership of the company to the employees.

T-S company stock is currently 40% in the hands of an ESOP, 34% in the hands of Ned and Harry and their families and 26% in the hands of outside shareholders. The ESOP is an "Employee Stock Ownership Plan" where stock is held in trust for all the full-time employees of the company. The purpose of an ESOP is to bring about a company that is owned by its employees and that has been our intent since we created the ESOP in 1984.

An offer will shortly be made to all the non-ESOP shareholders to sell their outstanding stock to the ESOP. We anticipate that the ESOP will own at least 70% of the company stock when this is finished, and perhaps all 100% of it, so the employees will truly be the masters of their own fate.

We are probably plowing new ground with these plans for passing on the "mantle of leadership" but there is no model for us to observe. T-S has always operated in an unconventional manner so there are no precedents for us to observe. We believe the steps we are taking and the tremendous amount of planning and effort we're putting into this process will give us the best possible opportunity to do this successfully. And, we believe that doing it successfully means not only do we not lose any strengths which we have had in the past, but we will add strengths that we have never had. The thoughts and ideas of all 320 people at T-S will be heard louder and more clearly than ever. The customers should be major beneficiaries of the improvements this can bring about and our people will end up with a bigger voice, more opportunity for personal gratification in the job they perform and a stronger company than we could achieve any other way. We intend to make this a situation where everyone is a winner and that, I believe, is what the goal of every enterprise in a free society should be all about.

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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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