15 Ways to Save Time and Money in Book Production
Smart book production and manufacturing departments routinely evaluate their workflows and look for new and creative ways to streamline their processes, with a keen eye toward trimming both time and costs. Today, as the book publishing industry finds itself struggling in the same challenging economic environment as the rest of the United States, working efficiently is even more critical to preserving the bottom line.
“We try to [evaluate our workflow] as frequently as we dare, only because technology can only bring you so far in terms of change,” says John Walsh, associate director for design and production, Harvard University Press. “You really have to want to change the systems yourself. … We decided that we’re going to be doing more books either with the same number of people or … with a fewer number of people, depending upon the economic environment, and, in order to do that, something’s got to give.”
Here, Walsh and other book production and manufacturing professionals offer their best strategies for how to successfully “do more with less” without sacrificing quality.
The Proof Is in the Savings
Many production departments have overhauled their proofing processes, often transitioning from hard to soft proofing or eliminating proofing stages altogether.
“The most dramatic savings [we have experienced] has been in severely reducing the physical proofs we review,” says Neil Litt, director of editing, design and production, Princeton University Press. “Author proofs, in-house proofs, printer proofs for jackets and covers—all [have been] replaced by soft proofs.”
Proving that sometimes you have to spend money to save money, Harvard University Press recently invested in an in-house ink-jet proofing device. “We’re going to a PDF workflow, and we want to be able to hand an ink-jet proof and a PDF file to our printer,” says Walsh, noting that the press anticipates that in the long run, this process will save it “a tremendous amount” of prepress costs.