Publishing Mean and Lean
We've always known it's smart to collaborate. Now we're realizing it's stupid not to.
This is one of the profound effects of the digital publishing revolution. Before the digital era, it was easy to talk about cooperation and teamwork, and then go about our business much as we always had. Graphic designers didn't have to care about how an editor did their work. Editors didn't have to care about production technology.
The printer didn't care how the publisher created those stacks of repro, the publisher didn't care if the printer "fixed" mistakes found at the last minute. And those shadowy figures at the periphery of the process, the author and the marketer? Authors just had to write the stuff, marketers just had to sell it.
Nearly everyone in publishing today knows how much that scenario has changed in the world of production. Digital desktop publishing not only democratized the production of graphic content, it also shattered the walls between the "silos" people nested comfortably in.
The graphic designer no longer gets a stack of paper manuscripts, but electronic documents. How those files are created can halve or double the designer's work.
In book publishing, the difference can be dramatic. A fat 800-page reference book can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to typeset, depending on the kind and condition of the source files. The printer no longer gets repro, but Adobe PostScript or PDF files. And while only a handful of printers and publishers know what "certified PDF" means, ultimately that imbalance will change.
In general, the digital revolution in production is a done deal. Few people realize how much broader and deeper the ramifications of the digital revolution are for all aspects of publishing.