Publisher Spotlight: Dr. Bernie Unrau

By on October 28th, 2015 in Publisher Spotlight

Dr. Bernie Unrau is a dentist, inventor, teacher, author, and screenwriter. He’s also one of PG’s most prolific authors and self-publishers, churning out an astonishing 32 novels and screenplays!  His main character, Dr. Gum, appears in many of his books, whose adventures as a gumshoe dental detective are modeled on Bernie’s vast dentistry knowledge.

Bernie’s first books were tapped out on an old typewriter before the advent of modern laptops, Google or the internet.  We wondered, with his busy dental practice, how does he write, design and produce cover artwork, promote, and market his books? Here are his replies:

 book itWhere do you get your ideas for your books?

It’s an interesting albeit perplexing process. I may find inspiration in a song, something I read or saw.  I begin to investigate, see if there’s a story there, and usually dispel hundreds of ideas. The title or a scene may arise first, then I’ll craft a story around it. I usually let an idea simmer for a while. For “Lacryma Christi,” I got the idea from an article I read last year about a doctor who’d been given a clean bill of health after working in Ebola infected areas of Africa.  Later it was discovered that he harbored the virus in one of his eyes causing a bizarre discoloration like wearing a contact lens.  Eureka! I thought what if the virus was unleashed or used as a bioweapon? How many people are potentially exposed? What’s the worst case scenario? I began to research the disease and the horrific tale slowly came together.

With your busy dental practice, how do you find time to write books? Do you have a daily or consistent creativity process?  

I learned ages ago, from the “father of the medical thriller,” Robin Cook, takes time off his practice and cocoons himself in his condo in Naples FL, for about six weeks each summer. I use a similar recipe, isolate myself in my operatory /writing office in Calgary for about six weeks and focus intensely. I begin to write early say 7 AM, continue until noon, a quick bite, and then continue oft into the evening. I average about 13-15 pages/day or up to 5000 words when I’m in high gear much like Michael Crichton did. Steven King said he averaged about 2200 words/day. The rest of the day I read voraciously, planning, researching the next scenes/locations. The story comes together in about six weeks I’ve found.  Then the arduous task of re-writing begins.

What’s your best advice for writers just starting out?

The best advice to young writers is learn to focus, which I learned from spending many years studying medicine, dentistry, eventually post-graduate implantology. A lot of time management. Find time to set aside in earnest to truly focus on your craft, even if it’s only an hour or two a day. In my case, I’d spent many a summer doing medical research, so I was accustomed to the long grueling hours of delving into a topic deeply. You need to focus, concentrate. Make up your mind, believe you can achieve your goal and you will. Never, never, give up. Where the creativity came from, God only knows. Besides how much golf or tennis can you endure in one summer?

 Who does your compelling cover artwork?

I actually design my own covers. It may be a photo from my collection or usually an interesting image comes to mind that ties the story together or may actually inspire the tall tale. I have a computer program for that. Once the cover art is complete I proceed to design the entire book, front and back, with another program. It may take a couple of days. For example, “Terra Vista” was a signed photo given to me by one of the astronauts, Dr. Georgi Grecko, also the designer of MIR, the former Russian space station after a lecture of his I attended.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Do you ever experience writers’ block, and, if so, how do you overcome it?

I rarely encounter writer’s block, because the story is meticulously researched and outlined, the characters, genre, locations mapped out, real street names and places. I oft joke about the logo for Caltex Press, an old mariner’s globe, if I spin the globe and point to a location on Earth; I’ve probably penned a book or screenplay about it. Once I begin, the actors take over, show me where to go, what they’re doing, they take me on an incredible journey each time. The story unravels in front of me much like a movie. It’s an intense process and experience because I’m so focused. I’ve had nightmares or near heart attacks while dreaming up the next scenes or waiting for an answer.

You can visit to learn more about Dr. Unrau’s titles.

PG Direct, our new direct to consumer bookstore launches!

By on September 18th, 2015 in News and announcements

snip of logoWe’ve launched!  Our new e-commerce platform, PG Direct, is now live!

So what exactly is PG Direct?  What can it do for you?  Imagine sending your book files to your printer, who could process and print your titles, and THEN market and sell your title through an e-commerce bookselling platform…all with one easy seamless process.  Well, that’s the beauty of PG Direct!  We’ve made bookprinting and selling far more efficient…. and simpler than ever with an all-in-one solution.

Why did we develop it?  You probably realize that the bookselling environment is rapidly changing and becoming even more competitive. Today it’s not enough to be “just a printer,” we must also be a logistics expert that delivers content, no matter the format.

You might say we reinvented our own supply chain. Behind the scenes, we already had a nimble manufacturing platform in place, so it was a matter of leveraging our technology expertise to create a user friendly shopping experience for readers and consumers.  As PG president, Nick Lewis, explained,  “It was not a huge leap for us to add e-commerce functions to our capabilities, and as far as we know, we’re one of the first US printers to offer this bold, new sales model to our publishers.”

This new sales channel simplifies– even disrupts– the supply chain; in short, we’re bypassing the middleman – like Amazon, for example. Each of our customer segments—publisher, consumer, libraries and others  —will likely benefit by working with us directly through time and cost savings.

Bypassing the middleman results in a streamlined, more profitable cycle for publishers.
Bypassing the middleman results in a streamlined, more profitable book creation process

What are the advantages?  It’s a unique opportunity to reach a broader audience. Publishers will experience more exposure and visibility for their titles, while readers will enjoy perks like discounted retail pricing, free USPS shipping (for purchases over $30) and fast production times. Our streamlined process cuts out unnecessary expenses like overprinting, transportation, and storage costs, and we handle all the clerical tasks too. No more administrative time-consuming jobs like taking orders, processing credit cards and shipping books.              

There’s an environmental bonus as well. Kathleen Lewis, Vice President of Publishers’ Graphics, noted, “Consumers will recognize that our process helps save energy while keeping the printed book beautiful and affordable. With a direct to consumer supply chain, we are reducing waste, saving energy and resources– resulting in a very small carbon footprint. It’s the complete package and an earth-friendly solution that we think consumers will appreciate.”     


PG Direct Publishers and About US BannersFull circle with PG Direct.  It all comes back to creating great looking books. Ones that you’re proud to sell and distribute. By skipping the middleman, the savings are passed on to the end-consumer so both you and your readers benefit.  It’s a full-circle, full-service solution with mighty benefits. 

Visit PG Direct and learn how we can help you sell and distribute your titles.   Or call us at 630-221-1850. 










New Direct to Consumer Bookstore Site Launched by Publishers’ Graphics

By on August 25th, 2015 in News and announcements

[August 25,  2015; Carol Stream, IL]: Publishers’ Graphics, a leading manufacturer and distributor of short-run and print-on-demand books with locations in Chicago, St. Louis, and Kentucky, today announced the launch of its new e-commerce website, PG Direct. PG Direct ( is an online bookstore that reimagines the supply chain by selling books directly to consumers.

“With a dynamic, nimble manufacturing platform already in place, we are in a great position to further optimize our supply chain with an e-commerce site,” explained Nick Lewis, President of Publishers’ Graphics. “PG Direct features a streamlined process that eliminates multiple steps in the distribution process. It was not a huge leap for us to add e-commerce functions to our capabilities, and as far as we know, we’re one of the first US printers to offer this bold, new sales model to our publishers.”

The site features a well-designed shopping experience with highly crafted hardcover and softcover books, a 72-hour production timeline, and free shipping. Complemented by a robust search engine, PG’s comprehensive book catalog—nearly a quarter million titles strong— is searchable by ISBN number, title, publisher, author and subject.

Kathleen Lewis, Vice President of Publishers’ Graphics, noted, “Consumers will recognize that our process helps save energy while keeping the printed book beautiful and affordable. With a direct to consumer supply chain, we are reducing waste, saving energy and resources– resulting in a very small carbon footprint. It’s the complete package and an earth-friendly solution that we think consumers will appreciate.”

The PG Direct website appeals to readers, publishers and booklovers alike who will enjoy its singular focus on books, free of distractions from unrelated products and content. Publishers will especially benefit with an additional sales channel that offers more exposure and visibility for their titles.

As a leader in POD and short-run printing for publishers, Publishers’ Graphics brings innovative procedures and workflows to book creation. Providing customized solutions to its customers has made PG a go-to resource for publishers around the world.  Headquartered in Carol Stream, IL, PG has an in-plant satellite operation in Florence, Kentucky, as well as manufacturing and warehouse facilities in St. Louis, Missouri. Publishers’ Graphics distributes globally by printing its products locally on three continents through strategic partnerships.

For more information, please visit or Gets a Makeover

By on August 5th, 2015 in News and announcements

We just completed our latest rendition of the PG website. This is the third update we’ve done in as many years, and by far the most ambitious and expansive. The most significant change for our customers is how you’ll log into your account. We’ve centralized this information into one page aptly named Client Log-In.

A new log-in area for customers
A new log-in area for customers


Once there, you’ll find three separate log-in areas. Most customers will use either the Instant Quote log-in or the Reprint Center, explained below:

  1. INSTANT QUOTE customers can log-in to review online print quotes, start a new quote, order and track shipments. Keep in mind, you can still log in at Instant Quote page on the main navigation bar.
  2. REPORTS: this is exclusively for large publishers.
  3. REPRINT CENTER: this is our new customer portal for former PG Bookstore customers. You’ll recognize it as the old PG Bookstore page. You can quickly log-in, view your titles and order, all with a few clicks of your mouse.

Besides these functional changes in site navigation and organization, we gave Pub Graphics a much-needed facelift.  Out with the orange and in with blue!  Viewers will probably notice that the site is packed with more information, fresh imagery, and new reference tools.

A new FAQ section
A new FAQ section

We’ve also enhanced several areas of the site: The Products area has grown with more descriptions and imagery, plus we’ve added a Resources section with FAQ’s, charts for trim sizes and paper selections and weights, and a Publisher Resource area. The site is fully responsive on all devices allowing you to check in on your smart phone or tablet.

Product icons for quick navigation.
Product icons for quick navigation

Yes, even though change can be difficult for some, we’re certain you’ll find the site more efficient, user-friendly and informational.  Stay tuned, because there’s much more to come with the launch of our new e-commerce site PG Direct.

PG Bookstore Changes

By on July 28th, 2015 in News and announcements

Within a few weeks, Publishers’ Graphics will be launching a new bookselling website called PG Direct.  This e-commerce site replaces the existing PG Bookstore and will have a new domain.

PG Direct is a new sales channel that features a well-designed shopping experience aimed at the consumer. By eliminating multiple steps in the book printing and selling process, we’ve simplified the supply chain, making it easier to order, print and distribute your book. PG will offer discounted retail pricing, free USPS shipping, and fast production and delivery times for titles in this proprietary catalog.

With its singular focus on books, PG Direct offers an attractive alternative without distractions from unrelated products and content. Publishers will especially benefit with an additional sales channel that provides more exposure and visibility for their titles.

What does this mean for my book? The PG Bookstore ( will no longer exist as of late July. If you are a current retail or wholesale bookstore customer, you have an opportunity to include your book in this new sales channel. Just like before, each title will consist of a personal storefront with book image, description and a retail price established by you. There’s no cost to list your book, and we’ll handle all the transition details.

Personalized storefront for your titles
Personalized storefront for your titles

What’s in it for me? It’s a unique opportunity for you to reach a broader audience. Along with a fresh, up-to-date look, the new site is considerably more powerful than our current bookstore with robust search capabilities. Plus, we’re investing in online search engine marketing so that more customers can discover, purchase and enjoy your titles. In addition, advertising and promotional opportunities will be available to feature your books.

How will I get paid when my book sells? Our model offers a competitive pricing program. Here are a few examples:

B/W Softcover                                                                   B/W Hardcover

6 x9, 200 pages                                                                  8.5 x 11, 200 pages, with dust jacket

List price:                         $14.95                                        List price:                    $34.95

PG printing:                      $2.41                                          PG printing:                  $7.48

PG commission (25%):    $3.74                                         PG commission (25%):    $8.74

Customer makes:         $8.80                                           Customer makes:      $18.73

What if I don’t want to participate? That’s okay; you’ll still be able to easily order your titles via our customer portal on the PG website. Our new Reprint Center enables you to quickly log-in, view your titles and order, all with a few clicks of your mouse.

When will this happen? Very soon! We hope to go live with the new site within a week or so.

What are the next steps?  If you wish to participate, there are some easy forms to fill out. Give us a call and we’ll email  them to you. If you have questions, please email:: or call 630.221.1850.




PG Welcomes Two New Employees

By on June 22nd, 2015 in News and announcements

We’re excited to introduce two new PG employees: William Hendrickson and Darin Morgan. Short run book printing, POD

Our new Bindery/Print Manager William Hendrickson will be based in our Florence, Kentucky facility.  William has 23 years’ experience in the printing industry.  He has a successful track record of staff leadership and training, color/quality management, budget administration and operational efficiency.

William’s most recent position was with Hennegan, an RR Donnelley company, where he was a Quality Assurance Manager. There he demonstrated strong leadership, superior communication abilities and provided direction and strategies for customers in the printing/mailing industry.

William has kept abreast with rapidly evolving technology and has Xerox repair training along with education from the University of Kentucky, in Bowling Green. We look forward to working closely with William as he leads our production team in our Florence, Kentucky operations.

Also joining PG is Darin Morgan. Darin is our new Direct Mail Account Representative based in the St. Louis area.

Darin has spent most of his career helping hearing aid companies with their direct mail campaigns.  From brainstorming creative ideas to targeting new audiences, his passion and knowledge of the hearing aid industry is readily apparent.

Darin possesses an abundance of energy and willingness to go the extra mile to assist his customers. In fact, he admits to taking a 24/7 approach, routinely fielding phone calls from clients in the late evening just to discuss a creative idea or two. Armed with creativity, enthusiasm and a successful track record, Darin is ready to take on your next direct mail challenge.

Color Basics: CMYK

By on April 30th, 2015 in How to

Here in the Midwest, we’re happy to see some COLOR finally reappear in the landscape. Color outside makes us think about color in books. Lately,  we’ve been printing a lot of great color in our books, and we do get loads of questions about this topic.

By now you’ve figured out that there’s lots of lingo to know in printing. Let’s start with the basics. One phrase you have probably heard more than once is 4 color process. The four color printing process is universally used in the graphic arts and commercial printing industry for the reproduction of color images and text.

Four-color process simply means that the four colors combine: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, or CMYK for short. The K is Black. You can think of CMYK as building blocks because most of the color spectrum can be reproduced with just the four process ink colors.


CMYK, the building blocks of color printing.
CMYK, the building blocks of 4-color printing.

These four colors combine during the printing process to create the full color butterfly image, pictured to the right. Formerly, this was achieved with photographic film on a graphic arts camera, but it is usually done digitally with software now.Look at the detail view of the wing. It’s really just dots of CMYK, using filters and screens and combined, forming the final 4-color image.

So now you know what CMYK is and you’re ready to quote. You’re most likely going to run into some letter/number combinations that are confusing. Here are a few shortcuts you’re likely to see:

4/0:  It means:  4 color process on side 1, no color on side 2

4/4:  It means:  4 color process on side 1 and side 2

4/K:  It means: 4 color process on side 1, Black (K) on side 2

Color is one of our specialties at PG. It’s not just for covers; more and more, we’re seeing it used within text pages and insert sections.  We’re always happy to help you understand it and  utilize it in your titles.  To help you get inspired,  here are a few images of color books recently printed.