The State of the Industry
Regarding technology applications such as electronic publications, has your role as a production manager changed?
My role … has changed in regard to professional development, in being open and receptive to new ways for designing, producing and manufacturing our books. We have and are experimenting with soft proofing, in trying alternative ways of digital proofing, transmission of files via FTP or allowing various suppliers, such as typesetters and book printers, to submit files back and forth on our behalf.
A reality today for a production manager … is to address the fact that print has company. Today's marketplace demands electronic methods of availability and distribution. … This often means sharing some of the production activity with IT, archiving and marketing colleagues in a manner of daily functioning that even a few years ago did not exist.
Are you currently exploring or implementing any new methods of production for improving workflow or book quality?
We are now working on methods of improving the workflow by using vendors' Web sites to create initial orders. Many of them have customized a portion of their Web sites to facilitate quick and complete initial ordering.
We have joined the GPI (Green Press Initiative) and participate in the recently formed [Association of American University Presses] Eco Task Force, which is focused on presses using more environmentally responsible and more recycled text papers and jacket/paperback cover materials. Our next step is to work with both domestic and offshore suppliers on an environmental audit of the supplier's plant, materials and methods for dealing with by-products.
Our current exploration is to try and locate one or more suppliers who can deliver acceptable-quality, high-end, four-color short-run reprints with 175-line screen images. Thus far, the print runs have been too high to achieve an acceptable short-run reprint for this category of book.