Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Are Books Made?

I learned a bunch about printing this past week. All I really knew before was how much it was going to cost me to turn my digital files into a book, as well as how to prepare those files. I didn't actually understand how all of that happened.

Maybe you will find it interesting as well!

Presses vs Printers
Books are made on printing presses not printers. A "printer" denotes a digital printer and is basically a glorified inkjet. If you have a print job of less than 1000 units, a digital printer isn't a bad route to go. I went with a digital printer last summer when I was created Issue #0 of From the Dust. But presses are a completely different beast.

From the Dust #1 is of course being printed on a press because we have several thousand units (units = books). A printing press uses giant plates to "press" the pages of your book with the colors of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (also known as CMYK color). The combination of these 4 inks creates all the beautiful books in your book store.

The first thing I had to do was approve the color.



The plates used to "press" the ink to the paper are laser-etched.

Both the top and the bottom of the press has 4 of these rollers - one for each color of ink. There are constant warning beeps informing these workers to add more falling asleep at this job, folks.



Then it gets sent to the publisher, from the publisher to the distributor, from the distributor to the retailers and from the retailers to you!

Talk about complicated.

You'd think we'd have in the digital era some cool new way to deliver content to people that wasn't so complicated and expensive...

Oh wait...that's next week's post.


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