January 2006, V5#1: Production Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

Basic Paper Primer

Paper  weight is based on the basic size of a given paper as determined by a given mill.  For this reason, many weight notations one finds has at least 2 separate numbers.  This does not necessarily mean the weight fluctuates between the two.  Generally with printers and suppliers is not a range, but a definition from more than one source and may include more than one grade of paper (bond, text, etc.).  A 50/60# paper is ordered as 50# and as 60#.  However, when put through standardized testing, it is found that each sheet carries the same weight. All specifics supplied If in doubt, check with the business presenting the number information for formal explanation.  Gregath paper suppliers do recognize the standard variation in basis weight of + or – 5% as acceptable by industry standards.

Paper brightness affects the legibility and contrast of printing.  The brightness test measures the reluctance of paper under strict optimal conditions and related it to a white standard (Magnesium Oxide).  The test is mainly applicable to white paper grades.  Basic offset grades are usually in the 80% brightness range.  Aesthetic importance may also be given to the brighter papers.  However, if archival quality is a focus, one must be certain that it is not traded for the brightness.  White papers with 90+ brightness sometimes actually have a blue or colored cast due to additives. 

November 2003, V2#11: Design Saturday, Jan 17 2009 

Once you’ve decided to include photographs, check with your printer/publisher as to the procedure they want you to use.  This can be done before or after you choose the exact photos.  We request authors arrange pictures on each page for placement, and copy the page (to help make sure there are no mistakes later). Photos (or print outs) should remain unattached to the page (or to each other), with placement and page ID on reverse of the photo. Example: 3 photos on page 23 marked/IDed 23a, 23b, and 23c. Post-It notes are becoming popular for this type of identification. The manuscript page should have identical photo placement notations. All photos should be grouped and placed in the top of the manuscript box, before sending to the printer. If applicable, be sure to specify what is the most important subject when alterations are required. IF you are providing the half-tones, they should be trimmed and affixed to (or produced/saved as part of) the manuscript page, as a part of the camera ready manuscript,  to avoid additional expense.  

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This section is drawn from information online at http://www.gregathcompany.com/tips.html

November 2002: V1#3: Book Design Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind during time you are in preparation process (unless you are informed by your printer/publisher it is incorrect) is “what you see, is what you get”. For the best results use a smooth white paper.  Expensive “top of the line” computer paper is not necessary, a good “typing” copy machine or all purpose paper is fine.  Avoid colored (cream, gray, etc.), aged colored and textured (pebbled, linen finish, etc.) as well as ultra thin (onionskin, etc.) papers. Make sure that the print is clear, consistent and as dark as possible throughout. In the end, you will be much happier if the typewriter or (non laser or DeskJet) printer used contains a carbon film ribbon, is in good mechanical working order and has clean unbroken strikers. More and more people are acquiring laser or bubble jet/DeskJet printers and these make a very nice camera ready manuscript. In good faith, we can not recommend manual typewriters, fabric ribbons, dot matrix printers, or low quality DeskJet/bubble jet printers for a good finished product. Electric typewriters, daisy wheel or ball printers and laser or bubble jet/DeskJet printers (on high quality settings) can be borrowed or rented in most areas.

October 2002, V1#2: Book Design Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

If you are self-publishing (or vanity publishing) also sometimes known as desktop publishing, you may be keeping an eye on the bottom line.  Our company is always in search of the way to produce a great book while keeping costs down.  Because of this, when deciding on what size (finished dimensions – 6×9″, etc.) you may want to take into consideration how much information can fit on a page at what cost.  An example is that with our company a book that is 6×9″ and one that is 8½x11″ cost the same to produce, but the author can get much more text on the larger book page.  One argument is that the smaller book can have smaller margins, however when one diminishes the margins it disturbs the smoothness of the book.  White space is important to book design.  Additionally, almost every printer has some specification as to what margins he or she need and/or suggest.

September 2002, V1#1: Book Production Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

While the world in general accepts that there are several main ways to reproduce books (i.e. print or copy), very few methods to produce printed books are alike.  Each print shop can employ not only a variety of presses and methods, but there are so many steps that are possible that the term “printed” doesn’t really describe much once you start thinking about it. Due to the fact that a copied book production is so automated, once you determine the type of copier and quality of binding, you have a much better idea of what your book will look like.  In future issues, we will discuss our production methods.  We hope by doing this, you may have some idea of what actually goes into the production of a book.  Once you have grasped some of what is involved, you can go to any printer/publisher that wants to work with clients on a personal basis and ask for a tour or explanation of their processes in reference to your book project.