Maybe Greatness Is in the Genes
"Gone are many of the chemicals," he adds. "Hand bindery is rarely seen today, having long ago given way to the necessity of a fast bindery line that takes a printed book block and either makes it into a hardcover or paperback title—in a blink!"
With the perspective of how things used to be done—for centuries—and how books are manufactured today, Crouch suggests technological innovation can be a catch-22—helping to attain better, faster and cheaper print, while presenting new workflow challenges for publishers.
"Over the 40 years that I have spent in print and publishing, part of the challenge—as well as the excitement—has been trying to keep up with the endless pace of change," he suggests. "The new technologies have sped up the process, as well as [raised] expectations for faster and faster turnarounds."
Crouch predicts good things to come for the industry, particularly from solutions that will enable cost-effective, digitally printed four-color books and soft proofing. "The advantages of remote soft proofing are of increasing attraction," he explains. "Even slow adopters are starting to embrace [soft proofing] for its time and cost savings. We still work with the problems of calibration and profiling … but I foresee that challenge being met in the future."
Crouch would also like to see change in the way publishing impacts the environment. His passion for environmental preservation has driven him to action. "Similar to the efforts of 25 years ago to bring about acid-free papers for books, we are now facing the challenge of solving the very real, global environmental crisis," Crouch stresses. "At the University of California Press, we are constantly looking for both uncoated and coated papers, pulped without chlorine or its compounds, as well as papers that contain a high percentage of postconsumer-waste recycled content." The Press is also a member of the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit organization that helps publishers improve their ecological footprint.