What's a Publisher to Do?
Once you reach a certain comfort level, make sure you have a robust infrastructure to be able to support it, says John Pecaric, director of R.R. Donnelley's division in Roanoke, VA. Don't just do it the way you did it with film, warns Craig Bauer, facilitator of information technology and digital prepress for Donnelley, but create new methods that can save you time and money.
To ensure successful partnership with the printer, preflight the files before you send them to the printer and educate yourself about what types of proofs the printer will be using, says Jerry Charlton, director of customer technical services at Quebecor, Kingsport, TN.
Whether you are just committing yourself to producing only a few four-color titles CTP or converting to a digital workflow once and for all, you must be aware of several factors, says Wills. First of all, try to realize that you're dealing with a completely digital workflow: no cut-ins, double burns and fewer last minute changes "because things move so fast." Also, be prepared to accept a non-contract, non-contact digital proof. What you see is what you get--no proofing of plates--so look carefully, he cautions, as "this may be your last chance." Finally, don't expect to see big cost savings right away. CTP is expensive and the returns are slow the first year, Wills explains, urging publishers to remember that, ultimately, the biggest advantages of converting to a CTP workflow are fast turnaround and high print quality.