Getting Ready to Print

January 2002
by Karen Saunders

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If you’re new to the production process, five main steps will help you get through it smoothly.


Step #1. Getting Print Bids

Even before the design step, you should consult with several book printers before choosing one. Start with printers that specialize in books. Then, because pricing is based on what each printer’s presses can do, match your book’s trim size to your printer’s presses for the best pricing and service. Since pages are generally printed in 32-page signatures, it’s best to make your page count evenly divided by 32. Ask printers to quote prices based on the papers they stock in-house. Choosing their recommended paper can save you dollars. Look at paper samples and printed book samples to examine their quality, and remember that all the various paper colors, weights, and degrees of opacity and bulk may not be represented by the few samples a printer may show you. Also, talk to other publishers who have worked with these printers about their service.

Be sure to use the same specifications in each bid, including the title of the book, the quantity to be printed, the final trim size, and the number of colors on the cover. Also, specify the page count, stock (paper for cover and text pages), cover finish (UV coating or lamination), hard cover or soft cover, type of binding, packaging, and delivery destination. Let the printer know if you will provide files on disk or camera-ready art.

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