What's a Publisher to Do?
CTP Veterans Share Tips For Publishers Taking Their First Steps
By Tatyana Sinioukov
So what's a publisher to do when considering going CTP with four-color work?
Do your homework, first and foremost, insists Rick Wills, electronic prepress manager, Banta Book Group, Menasha, WI. Tom Carpenter, director of book development for the North American Outdoor Group (NAOG), Minnetonka, MN, agrees, suggesting visiting a publisher who is already using CTP as a first step. "We all know people at other publishing companies, and the technology isn't proprietary--I can't see where anyone would have a problem showing you what goes on, as a professional courtesy," he muses. "You can't understand the advantages until you see it in action."
If you're convinced it's worth a try, try it, suggests Carpenter. Before investing in the technology, hire a freelance designer with experience working in a digital environment, commit a certain percentage of your work--over a certain time period--to CTP; monitor cost and convenience, then judge the results.
Ivor Parker, vice president of production and manufacturing services at the New York City-based Henry Holt & Co., agrees: Set up an experiment, he cautions. Target only a few titles in the beginning--since taking a sudden plunge may prove dangerous. Gain experience first. Citing the practice of combining digital and traditional proofing at Henry Holt & Co. as an example, he says, "the approach is to understand the technology and avoid pitfalls."
Once the decision to try CTP is made, invest in training, as well as hardware and software associated with traditional desktop publishing; then visit the printer's manufacturing facilities to better understand the digital workflow, prepress capabilities and digital proofing, suggests Frank Ervin, vice president of training and technology at Phoenix Color, Hagerstown, MD, who has been running his company's training programs on CTP and color printing for publishers. "If using a service bureau, identify the extent of integration of digital file preparation and color management processes with your printer," he remarks. "CTP requires a true digital partnership with your printer."