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The Book Printing Process: From Printing to Binding

Booking printing is a fairly long and complex process. Usually when a book has been written, submitted to a publisher and approved for publication, the manuscript is sent to the printing presses for printing. From there, the book goes through these stages.

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Stage One 

First, the book is sent to a typesetter, who adjusts the manuscript to the correct dimensions as set out by the publisher. Format generally includes such details as the page size, the font, the font size and the page numbering. In the past this all had to be done rather meticulously by adjusting the printing presses by hand, but today the process is simplified through the use of word processors on computers. These can adjust all aspects of a potential book page within a few minutes, painlessly and easily. Another aspect of this stage of book printing is proof-reading. That’s effectively the process of checking a manuscript for mistakes, such as spelling errors, typos or grammatical mistakes. These are edited out before being submitted for print.

Stage Two

 Depending on the type of book, shortly before the actual printing process an illustrator may be contacted and commissioned to produce artwork for the novel, or a photographer visual content. A series of pictures from a variety of artists may be submitted for review to the publisher, and the final pictures will be fitted into the final manuscript.

Stage Three

 Once the typesetting is completed, the next process of book printing begins. The printer creates several negative copies of the book pages, called flats, and fits them into the printing press. When exposed to flight, these flats help transfer the image of the book onto the metal plates of the printing press. The press is then given ink and the actual printing off the book begins. First, on each sheet of paper, several pages of the book are printed and funnelled along the machine from the printing press to the cutter. Each individual page is then cut from the paper, trimmed, folded together and fed along to be sorted by yet another machine into the correct page order. All this is managed by computer, with a few human overseers and operators to step in should an error or malfunction occur.

 Stage Four

After that, the books are glued and bound together, and then glued and bound to their cover. A final check is undertaken to ensure there are no major errors with the books, such as pages being printed upside down, pages becoming misaligned, colours formatting incorrectly or page orders going out of sequence. If the book printing appears to be without error, the books are sent off to be packaged and distributed.

If your looking to get a book printed, find out more at the Orbital Print website here.

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