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Fall 1988 To Be Sure You Get What You Want, Send in a Spec Sheet

When a publisher asks for a quote, it's always best to send in a full specification sheet that is as accurate as you can make it. The same principle holds when you eventually send your copy in-only this time, all the specs should be final.

If we do not have all the specifications we need on your quote request, we will either call and ask for the missing information or, if it seems obvious, we'll make an assumption and then spell it out when we send the quote. When the copy comes in, you should reconfirm those earlier specifications and then clearly point out any changes that may have been made. Also, if you feel the price may be affected, it's not a bad idea to ask the printer to confirm the new price to you. They could call you with the price before proceeding or else start the job and confirm the new price in the mail. If you do ask for a price confirmation, it should be done by the printer the day the job arrives so it won't hold up production.

Sending the specification sheet with the order is good insurance that the printer will produce what you want. I have seen mistakes made when the publisher sent his copy in and assumed everything was clearly understood but didn't reconfirm what he wanted. Twice in the last year we have produced books in the wrong trim size because of changes the publisher thought we knew about.

As a further check to insure things get done properly, we send out a confirmation of specifications the day we start the job in production. This confirmation again lists all the specifications as we understand them. It tells you when we will send proofs if you requested them and also when we anticipate shipping the finished books.

It is always a good idea to read that confirmation over to be sure we interpreted everything properly. We have some customers who actually check each specification on the confirmation and mail it back to us saying all is well.

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Summer 1990 Writing Down Your Book's Trim Size

When you write down a book's trim size, the first number is the depth or width while the second number is the book's height. A 6 x 9" book is bound on the 9" side. If you show the trim size as 9 x 6", you're describing a book that is bound on the 6" side (oblong) and that is much more expensive to bind.

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Summer 1991 Standard Trim Sizes: Good and Not So Good

Sheet fed book printing has always d some efficiency limitations because of the press sizes that are available. The usual trim sizes that most sheet fed book printers can accommodate most effectively are 5-1/2 x 8- 1/2", 6 x 9", 7 x 10" and 8-1/2 x 11". Some printers also stock paper for a 5 x 7" size but in our case we would print that as though it Were 5-1/2 x 81/2" and just trim away the excess, thus it would not be a very efficient size to produce.

You could use 7 x I 0" stock for the 5 x 7" size and just cut it in two but then the grain would not be parallel to the spine.

Printing and binding against the grain is, we believe, unacceptable in case bound books and a bit questionable in perfect bound books. The spine of a book printed against the grain will not accept glues as well as it should and the binding will not be strong. In addition, the natural curl of the page will be across the page and this is the opposite of accepted manufacturing procedures.

One solution is, if you have an order that will use at least 4000 lbs. of paper, it can be ordered specially, with the correct grain, at an additional cost of just $.02/lb.

For trim sizes smaller than 5 x 7", the production difficulties escalate. There are several problems producing those small books.

The first of these is that the signatures can be too small to stand easily in the gathering machine and the jigs that hold them upright may have to be moved. Once they come out of the gatherer, they go on a conveyor belt and can go into the three knife trimmer cock-eyed. Finally, the three knife blades don't adjust easily to sizes smaller than 5 x 7" and the set up time here is much longer than normal. Thus ... 5 x 7" is not an efficient size but sizes smaller than 5 x 7" become very inefficient.

On the other end of the spectrum, 9 x 12" books are another size we do not stock paper for. For case bound books in that size, unless your book would require 4000 lbs. of paper so it could be obtained with a special order, we would likely decline to bid on it. If it is a perfect bound book, we could print that size against the grain, if that is what you wanted.

9x 12" is large enough that weakened perfect binding should not be a problem but there is still the inconvenience of a book that doesn't want to open as easily as it should and the natural curl runs opposite its normal direction.

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Spring 1992 Inflating the Cost of Manufacturing Your Book

If money is no problem, here are some other ways you can arrange to greatly inflate the cost of producing a book.
  1. Use chromalin proofs on two color covers or jackets instead of color keys. Color keys are much less expensive for two color ... usually about $25.00 vs $1 00.00 or more for the chromalin. However, for four color the chromalin is about the same as the color key.
  2. Publishing books that have page counts eight pages less than even 32s. i.e. 248, 312, 440, etc. Tbis is an old favorite of ours and is mentioned in almost every issue. Even 32s are about $100 lower in price than ending a book with a 24 page signature.
  3. Reinforcing the first and last signatures of low page count case bound books is another neat way to increase its price. We believe reinforcing is overkill on a low page count book and it adds about $. 1 0/copy to the price.
  4. Smyth sewing a soft bound book is another example of overkill ,especially with notch binding being available at the same price as perfect binding. Smyth sewing can add from $.1O/copy to $.50/copy to the binding cost of a soft bound book. The more pages, the more it adds.
  5. Using coated stock for the text of a non illustrated book is an excellent way to increase its cost. This is one of the biggest additional expenses that comes to mind. Coated paper usually more than doubles the paper cost for a book. The printer will probably have to print it one side at a time instead of running it on a perfector press where they print both sides simultaneously and, in perfect bound books with coated paper, the pages can fall out.
  6. Binding books on the short dimension i.e. binding on 6" side instead of the 9" side, is our last suggestion for raising the cost. You can usually double your binding cost by doing this and the folding accuracy decreases so your pages will jump up and down more than they should.

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Summer 1992 Bleeding Copy

If you furnish copy or negatives that must bleed off the sheet, we need 1/8" of copy to go beyond the trim edge for text pages and 1/4" for the edge of covers and jackets. For half tones we need about 1/16" of the photo to go behind the window on all four sides. As long as you don't need to have the entire photo reproduced this should pose no problem.

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Fall 1992 Identifying Your Copy

When you have your typesetter send copy directly to your printer, be sure to have them identify the publisher and also direct the package to your customer rep (if you know who it is) so it won't come in totally unidentified. Also, at or before that time, you should send a letter to the printer, along with your specification sheet or a copy of your quotation, and tell them the copy is coming in separately. Almost once a week we receive packages of copy from typesetters with no specifications or letter of instructions anywhere to be found. This is not a major problem but it does slow up our ability to put thejob into production.

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