President’s Column:
Loving Books

September 2001
by Linda Ligon

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The other day, one of my employees, who’s not from the publishing world, inadvertently revealed that she is, in fact, a born publisher. A beautiful book arrived at our office, devoted to subject matter that she is deeply interested in. She picked it up eagerly. However, instead of going to the Table of Contents or doing that maddening thing of exploring content by flipping pages back to front, she headed right for the copyright page to see where it was printed. Then she held it up by the boards to check the soundness of the binding. Then she smelled it. It reminded me of a horse fancier feeling hocks or checking teeth. She was judging, appreciating, loving that book as a thing.
We talk about, pay tribute to, defend with passion, the First Amendment and all it means to our chosen profession. Yet what many of us get weak in the knees over is paper. Or color reproduction. Or type. Type! I have seen book publishers yammer about x-heights, serifs, and leading–right down to 1/72 of an inch–the way wine snobs go on about… whatever they go on about. I have done it myself, at length. We embrace the concept of Print on Demand and all its economic benefits, but then balk at the look of a Print on Demand book. The way the ink (or toner) sits on the paper. The kerning. The way the grain runs. And e-books? Don’t get me going.
Maybe I’m overgeneralizing; maybe you’re a more pragmatic sort who truly just wants to get the content out…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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