"People don't plan as far ahead," says Mark Romer, a prep supervisor with C.J. Krehbiel Co., a book manufacturer in Cincinnati, which implemented CtP technology about four years ago. "They can always be late, so [the schedule] all closes up."
But the time savings CtP brings to the publisher can't be denied. "It's taken about a week off [the manufacturing process], though it depends upon your job and where you place it," says Jenny Collins, a production manager with North Atlantic Books and Frog Ltd. in Berkeley, Calif., which prints about 60 new titles a year.
FLEXING YOUR CtP MUSCLE
In addition to fast turnarounds, a CtP workflow gives publishers a sense of flexibility in where they can take their business. Outside of contractual obligations, a CtP workflow allows a publisher to move its job among several printers more easily, based on a given situation.
"We're not as locked in to a printer, particularly on reprints and revisions," says Steve Johnston, purchasing manager for The National Underwriter Co., publisher of insurance books, in Erlanger, Ky. "It gives us much more flexibility on second printings or version changes."
Why? There's no film. "That whole [film] expense is gone, and changes just become much easier, either with a given printer or in transporting the file from one printer to another."
With his job on disk, Johnston shops more effectively to find a more appropriate printer for a reprint of 1,500, when the initial run was 10,000, without loading up a few boxes with film and transporting them to another printer.
"It's definitely easier [to move CtP files from one printer to another]," says North Atlantic's Collins. "It's not something we do a lot, but certainly without physically moving the film, it seems easier."
The flexibility of CtP benefits the printer as well, says C.J. Krehbiel's Romer, in that publishers can take their jobs anywhere they want and still get a first-generation plate.