12 Profitable Book-Production Tips for Publishers and Printers
9. “Make sure the files you send to the printer are built properly.” The most common mistakes that hold up a job are missing fonts or images required in order to move smoothly through preflight to press.
The Uptons emphasize the concept of partnership. With this comes mutual trust and confidence, and efficiencies in time and expense. “Most of the time on a job is spent during the process of printer selection and getting to press,” the Uptons point out. The more handling back and forth, the more time expended. “The least amount of time is spent from plate to shipment, because there is the least amount of customer and printer human intervention.”
They advocate strongly for soft proofs instead of hard proofs and, eventually, no further proof inspection after preflight signoff. “From the printer’s standpoint, each proofing stage is an opportunity for editors and designers to take ‘one more look’ and introduce another correction cycle that would interrupt workflow. This uncertainty factor leads to plant inefficiencies by creating the need to have a larger backlog of jobs in the pipeline to ensure that presses don’t go idle, and larger backlogs translate directly into longer cycle times,” they say.
Regarding the use of electronic order and job specifications, Dave Booth, Malloy’s IT manager, reports, “We anticipate using the JDF job ticket and Job Messaging Format (JMF) in the future. As we move toward linking job tickets, preflight and other downstream departments, these are likely to be part of our solution. This will make it straightforward for publishers to initiate transactions with us for orders, quotes, packing/shipping specs, etc. Our prepress department is also looking at prep systems that incorporate aspects of JDF.
“As for XBITs, we’ve been using it daily with one of the major publishers for several years to report usage and receipts in their paper inventory,” Booth continues. “Up until about a year ago, another publisher was having us use it to report drop-shipping information; however, that publisher has implemented new systems that no longer rely on this information.”
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.