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How to Set Up Printing-on-demand: A Case History - The Basque Textbook Series at the University of Nevada

Gunnlaugur SE Briem.

Publishing is an assembly line. Every book passes through a few stages of work. Unless you make sure they fit together, they won't. Let's talk details.

Do the numbers. Print-on-demand is just right for short-run titles and slow sellers that must stay in print. All the equipment can be bought for less than $US 10,000. (That's a duplexing printer, scorer, binder and a paper knife.) The work can also be given to a good photocopy shop. The numbers still add up. Last year, the Center for Basque Studies in Reno put this to a test. I will tell you how it went.

Most of the tasks are best carried out by freelancing specialists.

A manuscript usually needs tidying. An editor does a double job. The words should read well. That's one part. The other is basic typography: pairing the quote marks and so on. When it's ready, markers are stuck into the text file. It goes to the Library of Congress for cataloging. When the data comes back, it goes on the copyright page. The edited text also goes to a designer. He lays out the book. Margins are decided, typefaces formatted. Tables are added, pictures, barcodes and suchlike.

At this stage, the we know what goes on which page. An index is made and added to the layout. The table of contents is updated. Then the book can go into production. It is printed up. The cover is scored for folding. The two are bound and trimmed. This makes a paperback. With heavier endpapers, the pages can also be stuck into hardcover boards.

These steps are simple enough. The devil is in the details. Let's talk details.


Gunnlaugur SE Briem  (United States)

  • Printing-on-demand

(Virtual Presentation, English)