Their Winning Ways
Have you tried any new technologies recently: CTP? PDF? Digital links to suppliers?
We have tried and continue to try some of the emerging technologies. Several of our book manufacturers are now using direct-to-plate systems for both one-color and four-color process work. We like this technology for several reasons. With the elimination of film, there is one less medium involved in putting ink on paper, and the result is a sharper dot and improved overall resolution. Most of our titles are now supplied as paged PDF files from the compositors to the book manufacturers. PDF files are cleaner and more stable than previous page-application-only files; they are preflighted and compressed, requiring less time to image direct to plate and providing greater assurance of file integrity and completeness.
Another reason for going to PDF files is the ability to capture the entire book in digital form, ready to be adapted for any current or future form of publication, be it a CD-ROM, a print-on-demand edition, or an electronic publication on our own Web site or on a Web site with which we have a licensing agreement. We are learning to retain these files with the halftones in various resolutions, as various applications require different resolutions to work satisfactorily--e.g., a 72-dpi resolution for on-screen viewing, compared with a 300 dpi resolution for eventual 150 line screen reproduction in print form.
The value of securing printer or compositor downloads of final documents is significant. Fast disappearing are the days when we could rely on stored film negatives at the book manufacturer's plant for reprints. Direct-to-plate technology means there is no film to access, and it eliminates film negative storage charges as well as the inherent danger of film deterioration. The PDF method also enables a publisher to go into the files and make changes for a revised or second edition. The challenge of this new technology will be updating as the best electronic media for digital storage change, as well as transferring data to evolving new media so that digital files will indeed work on whatever comes next.