Thinking Inside the Box

December 2000
by Curt Matthews, IPG/Chicago Review Press

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Everyone knows how to pack a box of books. You square up a carton you hope is the right size, tape the bottom, put in the books, add the packing, and tape the top. This takes about two minutes.If you have many cartons to send, however, there is a much better way. You stack up the books on a 12″ x 18″ piece of cardboard sitting on a 12″ wide section of a skate-wheel conveyor. You measure the height of the stack against a rule attached to the conveyor, and then choose the carton of the right depth. (You have three sizes, all 12″ wide and 18″ long, but 6″ or 8″ or 10″ deep.)Then you put the carton around the books. The skate-wheel conveyor has two slots and a pair of arms that make it easy to tuck up the bottom flaps by sliding the carton along the conveyor. Finally you add a little packing and push the carton through a machine that tapes the top and the bottom at the same time. This procedure takes longer than the first to describe, but much less time to do: about 20 seconds. It’s the same old box deployed somewhat differently.

The Book Box

A book is a sort of box-a package. What is the best way to fill that package?”No!” exclaim the publishing traditionalists. “You’re going at this backwards. You must start with the content and then create the one ‘package’ that is somehow just right for that content.”If we had world enough and time (and money), this is perhaps the best way to create a book; but publishers interested in producing a number of titles each season d…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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