Going to Press   1 comment

About noon on July 13, 2015, my layout artist, Steve Crompton (creator of Demi the Demoness) arrived to pick me up and take me with him when we visited the printer and the binder for Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. Exact details needed to be worked out. As author of the book, I went along just to observe. I took pictures, and served as navigator, because it’s my side of town, and I knew where these places are.

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The tour started when we met with Dennis Dunn, who seems to be the boss at Complete Print Shop, located at 3433 W. Earll Drive in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a large print shop and does most of the production work for my publisher, Flying Buffalo, Inc. Dennis not only helped Steve work out the details of getting the job done, but also gave us a tour of the printing plant.

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Mr. Dunn explains how things work to us.

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Steve Crompton is the man in the blue flowered shirt, and he’s explaining things like book size, and paper weight, and the number to be printed. I just stood back and observed. The guy at the computer is apparently the master printer for the plant, but I didn’t catch his name.

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This is a big printing job. They will make master copies of 16 pages at a time on giant signature sheets that look like this. My book will be 368 pages long plus covers and end pages.

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This is the biggest press machine in the plant, and probably the one they will print my book on. It was hard ar work when I took this shot.

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A workman always watches the press to make certain that nothing goes wrong while it is working. The press is moving at high speed, and printing and stacking huge sheets of paper faster than the eye can follow.

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This will give some idea of the scale of the room where the real work of printing gets done.

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When we see our books and newspapers, we really have no idea of how they are made. In this place mechanical magic is worked every day.

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Steve and Dennis did all the talking and planning here.

When we finished at the print shop, we drove over to Roswell Bindery, about a mile away. Paperback books are all done at the print shop, but when you want to produce a hardback, and we want 900 hardbacks of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls, you have to make separate arrangements to have those books bound.

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We’re now at the front door of Roswell Bookbinding. The entrance is hidden just off to the left in this picture. A lot of Arizona businesses do like to beautify the front of the shop with trees and flowers.

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Roswell has a big front office. I’m not sure why it needs to be so large. Maybe it’s just to provide them with wall space to hang all their awards. We had an appointment with a manager named Nancy. I did not get her last name, and she’s not this secretary/receptionist at the desk. This woman took us back to a big conference room lliterally crammed with hundreds of examples of work the bindery has done in the past.

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I thought at first that this was a massive tome, a book on a heroic scale, but no, this is the box that the massive tome lives inside. My book also has a book box. It looks like this:

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Heh! My box is a bit rougher than the beauty that Roswell has.

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This is the book that was actually inside their box. Fancy!

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Antique bookbinding machinery stored in the conference room . . . Somebody must know what this stuff was used for, but I have no clue.

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Here’s my mad genius production manager Steve Crompton. The yellow book in front of him is an underground comix price guide that he put together for another publisher. He told me it took nearly four years to do that one. We also wanted to talk about slipcases for the hardback editions of Deluxe, so he brought an example. All together we talked about binding materials, gold stamping, a ribbon book mark, end pages, and coloring the edges of the book pages so they’re not just white.  We may not do all of that, but we examined all the options.  Took about an hour. I chose the color and style of the hardback skins and stamping. It will be a rich gold on a scaly black leatherette surface. Sweet! In another month or so, I will have a finished product to show.

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After about two hours of technical book planning, Steve and I went to lunch. I had this delicious salad. He had a burger. Yum.

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If you’ve ever arranged to have a book printed or bound, why not leave a comment?

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One response to “Going to Press

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  1. My wife used to work at a printing place, back when they did the layout by hand. That was her job. Now they do it all with computers, so she isn’t in the business anymore. It’s too bad. She really enjoyed that work.

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