Book Builders of Boston
In many ways, Boston's publishing industry is a mirror on the iconic city. Though relatively small, the city and its publishing are known for history; for being a center for academics, thought and innovation; and for being a hub of independence and rebellion that triggers change. In these times of rapid transition in the industry, Boston just might be the place to see big changes happen in publishing.
The six major annual book design shows listed above continue to anchor our industry in its traditions of craft, even though painfully unadorned ebooks and cluttered multimedia platforms proceed apace, charting their own course. Whatever the wide range of book show presenting criteria, as shown in the survey that follows, ultimately the purpose of book design is to enhance the readability and message of the book itself.
Print will survive and thrive in those areas where it continues to fulfill that purpose. Where digital media prevail, irrepressible design aspirations will soon follow.
While some shows are beginning to provide digital edition categories (mostly fixed format and multi-media), print editions continue to be foundational platforms for book design and organization — at least for the time being. Leading edge designers are exploring ways to bring design criteria into the reflowable formats.
In part one of this discussion, I discussed how in the word “book,” and in the various ways we hyphenate it, we set the definition and expectation of how we view our work as professionals and how content will be developed.
Book-production management is, in many respects, an act of faith. For some, faith in the universality of Murphy’s Law—if something can go wrong, it will. Or, faith that virtue is its own reward—if you do everything right, things will always come out right. Old hands come to realize that “trust but verify” is probably the most prudent maxim to apply in managing workflow. Without systems in place and proven procedures, we’d have to reinvent the wheel every time. But without an occasional revisit to the last batch of XBIT transactions or Job Definition Format (JDF) specifications sent through, that error in the PMS color
As the founders of Bookbuilders of Boston decreed in their 1937 mission statement, the organization affords “an excellent opportunity to become informed about new materials and processes ... to become better acquainted with fellow associates in the trade of bookcraft, and finally, to aim toward an improvement in the making and appearance of books.” This quote was featured in the Letter from the President that was included in the award catalog for this year’s New England Book Show, highlighting the show’s purpose in fulfilling the Bookbuilders’ mission. Celebrating its 49th year, The New England Book Show was held on March 15 at the Fairmont