In our previous post we went through the process of book publishing and briefly mentioned printing as one of the processes. In this post, we would like to delve a little bit into what exactly the printing process entails.
Here is a breakdown of the 4 steps involved when printing a book.
#1 Preparation of the plates
Once the text and illustrations to be used in a book have gone through final editing and proofreading, it’s now ready for printing. This process begins by preparation of plates. These are basically thin sheets of aluminum metal where the text and illustrations to be printed are burnt onto. Every part of the plate that contains illustrations and text is treated using a chemical designed to attract ink. This is what ensures that the illustrations and text will be printed when on the press. Generally, different printing presses will have different specifications on the number of pages that can be contained on a single plate.
#2 The actual printing
Because publishers will often opt to use different paper types for different books, the printer will load a reel of paper that is as per the publisher’s specifications that is type, color, weight and width, and so on. The reel of paper will then go through the print units, where the plates which have ink sprayed on them will press against the reel of paper thereby pasting the text and illustrations onto it.Once this process is through, the paper reel will be cut depending on the size of the pages of the book, folded, and stacked in sequence.
#3 Preparation of the book cover
Book covers will often be printed by a different printer because on most occasions they will require more specialized printing because of the material to be used, the type of finishing and so on. In many cases, the printing of the book cover will be going on simultaneously with the printing of the book or it will even be done earlier so that biding can take place as soon as possible.
#4 Binding of the book
We mentioned after the printing process that the paper reel is cut, folded and stacked. Essentially at this point, you have the book ready just awaiting the book cover and binding to be done. This process is usually automated therefore each stack will be picked, merged with a book cover and bound mostly using glue. The machine will also trim the books to ensure they all come out with a perfect uniform shape and size.
Once these processes are completed, your book should be ready to hit the shelves.
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