Question, “What’s a bleed?” Alright, who knows…I’ve been in the printing business for 40 years. Who knows where that term came from but what it is, if the printing goes off the edge of the sheet of paper, right? The image goes off the edge of sheet of paper, that’s called “bleed”, OK? And they talk about…you know, “We need an 1/8-inch bleed.” What that is, it’s to compensate for the equipment, OK, at the printing company that they’re…they can vary,
Chapter 8: The Printing Process
Offset printing, you know, again, a word a lot of people have heard, OK? It’s traditional printing, OK? It is what I started at in like 1969, offset printing. The idea behind offset printing is that the first book is very expensive but they get real cheap after that, OK? So the first book is a make ready.
How about if my books are late? Can I get money back? OK, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that question over the years. The answer’s no, OK? There’s no…the government used to try to do that years ago when I first started out.
The question is about what happens if I don’t catch an error on a proof, a printing proof and the answer is…I mean you’re the publisher.
Question I get a lot is, “What kind of proof am I going to see and how close are you going to…is the final going to match the proof?” And again, I’ve been doing this, you know, 40 years and this is another evolving, changing thing. In general, your proofs today are significantly better than what they were even 10 years ago and the press that it’s going to finally print on comes very close to matching the proof, OK
Digital printing. I talked a little bit about POD, that print-on-demand a little while ago. Digital printing, really, what it does, it images one book at a time, OK? And the digital press…unlike the offset press where you have that big make ready and your amortizing over, you know, a bunch of books, the digital press, every single book that comes off that press can either be the same or is…or can be different.
OK, people ask, you know, “What cover paper should I use?” OK, generally speaking, I say, you know, we try to stick with the standard. The standard is 10 point. Remember what I was talking before about 50 pound. What’s 10 point? OK, 10 point is…it’s a caliber.
What kind of binding should I use? OK, normally, with a, you know, traditional publisher that come out…you know, the rule of thumb is they come out with a hardcover book first, let it run then come out with a paperback and then, you know, whatever.
Four color process, OK, that’s a term you hear for…to describe how the printing…you know, printing of covers and you also hear it as, you know, children’s books, OK, illustrated children’s book that they’re printing four color and people say, “Oh, I got a lot more colors than that.” Generally, you know, everything is printed up out of four colors and the four colors are all CMYK, OK?
I get asked a lot about the quality difference between digital printing and offset printing and this is something that’s come…I can’t tell you how far it’s come over the last like 10, 15 years. I mean there used to be a big difference, OK, and you’d have a lot of decisions, you know, do I dare print digital? Because it basically look like glorified copy shop.
I get asked the question, “Why am I paying for…” You know, “I bought 1,000 books and you delivered 1,050. You know, why do I have to pay for the extras?” Well, that, you know, is back…again, you flip the sheet over that they’ll trade customs on the printer and you’re signing the contract…
Is white a color? It is a tricky one, yeah. No, white’s not a color, OK? It’s…generally, people, you know, they think of the paper, right? As, you know, being part of the image and making up, you know, a color. It’s not, OK? You don’t count that at all. “I got five colors. OK, it’s really got this, you know, and white’s one of them.” White…actually, if you have, say, a black page with reverse type word, it’s white. That’s not white ink. That’s the white of the paper shining through the black ink. OK, so, you know, long story short, white, no, it’s not a color.
Question I get a lot is, “What kind of proof am I going to see and how close are you going to…is the final going to match the proof?” And again, I’ve been doing this, you know, 40 years and this is another evolving, changing thing. In general, your proofs today are significantly better than what they were even 10 years ago and the press that it’s going to finally print on comes very close to matching the proof, OK?
Text paper, now, that’s something…if I live to be 100 years old, I won’t understand exactly why we do what we do here in the US as far as paper’s concerned.
How many books should I print? Now that’s a question I’m asked like all the time and first, I mean, you know, the obvious question is, you know…you want to print as many…you want to print one less than you can sell, right? But the problem is you have no idea how many you’re going to sell, OK.
Let’s talk a little bit about Trade Customs, OK? It’s come down to, you know, you’re to print buying, all part of that process now, OK? Any printer that gives you a price, if you flip the quote over, it’s going to be a whole list of Trade Customs.
What is print-on-demand? Everybody, that’s a word that’s been bantered about for the last probably, what, 10, 15 years, so print-on-demand.
I get asked a lot, “Why can’t I just go ahead and do this first run at the local printer? You know, I got a guy like down the street,” and generally speaking, I mean there’s like 35,000…I think it maybe even be down to 25,000 printers in the United States.
Ron Pramschufer: This is Ron Pramschufer and welcome to Publishing Basics Radio where weekly we try to help you navigate the self-publishing mind field. Now Kirby, I’ve never seen so much confusion over a simple phrase, “print on demand.”