All About PUR Binding

By on November 7th, 2013 in How to

As a publisher you might be hearing a lot these days about PUR binding.  And you may also be wondering whether it makes sense for your titles.

PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market
PUR binding is one of the strongest and most durable binding methods on the market

So what exactly is PUR? Polyurethane or “PUR adhesive” glue came along in the late 1980′s and was used in other industries such as furniture and automotive before being discovered as useful in book binding applications. Its main advantage, a lower freeze point and a higher melting point, has significant advantages, especially for publishers who ship books globally.

Today PUR adhesive is gaining traction in the marketplace as publishers and consumers desire books that will keep the pages bound together more securely over the life time usage of the book.  In fact, since installing its PUR binder over three years ago, PG now uses PUR adhesion for about 40% of its books — both hardcover and softcover.

Even fans of Smythe binding, in which the signatures of the book are sewn together, are recognizing PUR’s value, and are moving over to it.  According to an article in American Printer, (October, 2003), here are just a few benefits of PUR binding:

  1. Lie-flat qualities
    When applied at its recommended thickness

    Even large page count books can be PUR bound and maintain lie-flat quality
    Even large page count books like this textbook can be PUR- bound and maintain lie-flat quality

    — 0.01 inch — PUR is considerably more flexible than standard EVA hot melts. This ability to lie flat when open allows for hands-free reading.

  2. Heat and cold resistance
    PUR adhesive has a lower freeze point and a higher melting point than any other adhesive on the market. Books bound by PUR will not fail at extreme temperatures — even over 200°F or under -40°F. These properties were especially important to customers who send books globally where temperature extremes are commonplace.
  3. Less wrinkling of backbone
    Binding cross-grained paper with standard hot melt adhesives causes considerable wrinkling in the book’s gutter area. PUR’s lower operating temperature, however, doesn’t drive paper moisture away from the backbone. PUR is also somewhat malleable as it cures, allowing the paper fibers to return to their original orientation.
  4. Less “chip-out”
    Since PUR is applied at half the standard thickness of hot melt, there is much less chance for the material to build up on trimmer knives and nick the cover material during trimming.
  5. Square backbone
    Because only a small amount of PUR needs to be used for binding, less adhesive is squeezed out when the cover station and side clinchers attach the cover and form the back.
  6. Cost savings
    One of the most significant reasons for considering PUR adhesion is the cost savings. According to a study in Europe, binders can realize a cost savings of 30 percent to 40 percent by milling off the backbone of the folded signatures and then gluing them with PUR.*

*from American Printer, October, 2003

Simple Steps to Market Your Book

By on July 18th, 2013 in How to

Most authors would agree that after writing a book, the biggest challenge is how to market the book. Competing for publicity and media attention is difficult and time consuming, often with little to show for your efforts.

That’s NOT true in Sabrina Penn’s case!  Her efforts have yielded video reviews at two large metro TV stations.pam grier2

Sabrina Penn’s children’s book, “A Cowgirl Named Pammy” was just printed, and within a two week period, she landed two TV interviews.  Morning anchors at TV stations in Chicago and Denver promoted the book during their AM programs and provided information on where to purchase the book.

Illustrated by Michael Sein-Colon, “A Cowgirl Named Pammy” tells the story of Pam Grier, the first African-American woman super hero in Hollywood action movies.  Sabrina said, “The key to my success with the media was simple: I created a brief summary of my book and emailed it to select media outlets.  Since Pam Grier had lived in Colorado, I knew there would be some interest in that market, so I contacted the Denver area stations.”

She advised, “Let the media feel they are getting the first news out.  Offer a free copy of your book. Email them more than once.”  Sabrina even suggests taking out a few ads about your book, first locally, then in larger markets.

book 11In addition, utilizing social media is critical. Sabrina claims, “Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are important, along with finding blogs related to your subject area.”  She suggests: “Make appropriate comments on their blog posts and add links for your book in the comment section; I do this all day long!”

Sabrina closed by saying, “Most importantly, believe that your book is as important to the media as it is to you, and you will succeed.”

“A Cowgirl Named Pammy” is available in the PG Bookstore.

PG Bookstore FAQs

By on May 3rd, 2013 in How to

It’s a great feeling when your book is finally written and printed. But what’s the next step?  How do you sell it or even let people know it’s available?

The first step is to let people know where to find and purchase your book.  That might mean creating a website to promote and sell the book.  But what if you don’t want to go to the trouble (and expense) of developing a website?Pubgraphics online bookstore

Publishers’ Graphics offers a virtual bookstore to help you do just that.  PG maintains the website, processes orders and credit card payments, and packs and ships your books. To help you list your book, here’s some FAQs from PG’s bookstore expert, Dale Lipp:

What is the PG Bookstore?  The PG Bookstore is a great resource for authors and publishers to sell their books online.  There is no additional charge to add your book to the store.  You can create a retail listing on the store for selling small quantities, and at the same time we can set up a wholesale listing for any wholesale customers you may have.

What are the advantages of using a third party to sell your book? Using a third party like PG frees you up to do what you do best: write!  No one becomes an author or publisher because they want to spend their time taking orders, processing credit cards, and shipping books.  That’s what we do best!

What are the steps to using this service?  There’s only a few:

  1. PG must print at least one copy of the book prior to listing the book.  This ensures that what we are listing on the bookstore meets your quality standards. Printing beforehand also works out any printing issues ahead of time.
  2. The next step is to register as a user at Publishersgraphicsbookstore.com
  3. Complete and return the listing agreement. This is a brief form that I can email to you.
  4. Write a short description of the book and also a short paragraph or two “About the Author.”

That’s it!  Within 48 hours or less, your listing will be live and ready for business.

What tools are available within the site to promote your book?

The site has numerous easy-to-use social media tools to help you showcase and build an audience for your book. Sharing links from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + and scores of others lets your friends, family, colleagues and potential customers where to purchase your book. The social media channels are a good starting point to market your book; the rest is up to you!

When Does POD Make Sense?

By on March 22nd, 2013 in How to

IMG_7It’s a common question: does it make sense to print your books offset or use print on demand (POD)? Both printing processes offer unique advantages that can make the decision difficult. Let’s take a look some of the factors to consider:

Print Quantity:

Size of the print run is the probably your most important consideration. Conventional offset printing is best suited for producing large print runs of 500 books or more. With relatively long lead-times and high press set up and make-ready costs, larger press runs are generally needed to make conventional offset printing cost-effective.

Smaller press runs of 100 or less are becoming increasingly common as a way to eliminate unused inventory and costly storage. If your quantity ranges between 300-500 books, your best bet is to quote both ways: offset and digital.

Short press runs do have advantages when it comes to testing the waters. Printing one or two books allows publishers to launch targeted, niche books that are generally not economical for conventional printing. Printing a small amount is a great way to test the market without breaking the budget.

Quality:

Most would argue that conventional printing produces a higher quality result. But today’s POD printers are pushing technology to the limit and producing bookstore-quality books. As equipment and technology improve, so too does digital printing.  Digital is closing the gap and now rivals that of offset printing to reproduce consistent tone, contrast, color and brightness, and sharp black text.

Options:

In general, conventional offset printing does offer more choices in terms of paper—color and weight—book sizes, and cover printing techniques such as embossing or foil-stamping. Some techniques such as varnishing or spot varnishing are performed in-line while other processes such as die-cutting and foil embossing are sent outside, regardless of which type of printer you select.

Book size and format influence the size of the press and which papers options are available for that press. Because of the small size of most digital presses, paper sheet sizes are generally limited to a maximum sheet size of 12 x 18, which limits your book size to 11 x 11 (with some exceptions).

Paper choices are also opening up for digital printing. As paper mills realize the vast potential of digital printing, weights, colors, and sheet sizes have all been expanded in the last few years.

Turn-a-round:

When lead times are critical, it’s hard to compete with digital. With faster set-up and make-ready times, POD books are ordered, printed and bound, and shipped all within a few days. Before choosing a printer, it’s always a good idea to check customer reviews and to contact other writers who used the service.

PG Author Christine Keleny, who just self-published her third book ROSE FROM THE ASHES, offers this advice: “Whatever option you choose, do your research. Read the fine print for issues such as rights and extra fees. But also take into account the time, effort, and money you realistically have to spend on printing your book. There are many small presses out there that are willing to help you if you don’t want to do much on your end, whether they are local or on the internet.”

Christine adds: “Join writers groups online or within your community. You can gain good information about what other people have already figured out. With my first book, I paid someone to tell me the steps to allow me to do it myself (finding an editor, learning how to format the book so it’s ready for the printer, finding a printer…), so now, by book three, it’s a lot easier and my cost is pared down.”books[1]

She concludes by saying: “Someone can help you make the outside look pretty, but if the story needs work, then you won’t get good reviews and you’ll lose future customers. So write, write, and rewrite!”

Cooking Up a Book of Recipes

By on March 1st, 2013 in How to

It seems everyone has a drawer full of family recipes with a plan to someday turn them into a book.  If that describes you, consider producing your own cookbook.  Besides being one of the hottest trends in POD these days, it’s a fun project that provides a lasting record of your favorite dishes.

It doesn’t have to be fancy either.  Many cookbooks are printed with a laminated four color cover and plain black text inside, and bound with wiro binding.  To inspire you, here’s a few examples of mouth-watering cookbooks printed recently at PG.

IMG_5754

IMG_5729

Seven Quick Tips

Photographing food is often the most challenging part of a cookbook project. But with practice, it’s easy to take photographs as tasty as the dishes themselves, especially with these quick tips from photographer, Cindy Roth:

1. Use real food, with the freshest ingredients possible. No special styling techniques.

2. Great lighting is essential. It helps pick up the details.

IMG_5722

3. Don’t shoot straight on; angles are more interesting!

4. Add accessories to enhance the photo, such as utensils, napkins, etc.

5. Set your camera ISO speed at 200 for highest quality image.

6. Get close to the food; most beginners shoot from too far away.

7. Don’t try a souffle’ unless you’re quick!

For more info, visit www.pubgraphics.com

For more photography hints, visit www.rothprint.com

Digital Paper Primer

By on February 27th, 2013 in How to

With more and more authors and editors choosing to print their books digitally, questions pertaining to digital printing and paper seem to crop up daily.   Advancements in digital technology give you more paper options than ever before, but with these changes, also comes some confusion—coated, uncoated, matte, caliper, C1s… all these terms can be confusing to those new to printing.

To make things even more confusing, every printer uses different terminology and stocks different paper grades,paper quote depending on their equipment and preferences.  If you’re quoting your project with PG, here are some terms you’ll likely see:

Covers:  for softcover books, we offer a few standard options for your book covers.   C1s refers to a heavier coated or glossy stock that is coated on one side.  We stock a 10 pt (point) and 12 pt, with a 12 pt slightly heavier and more durable.   Caliper is the measurement of the thickness of the paper. It is now listed on our site next along with the PPI.  PPI is the method used to calculate the spine thickness. 

Although not listed, we can also customize your book with specialty stocks.  The book pictured below has an uncoated 100# cover called Classic Columns, manufactured by Neenah Paper.   If you select your own stock, just be sure it is digitally compatible and guaranteed to work on a digital press.

Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.
Uncoated stocks with textured finishes must be digitally compatible.

Text:    50#, 60# or 70# weights are the most common options.  Anything under 50# is generally a newsprint grade and not suitable for digital printing due to its high dust content. If you’re looking to reduce costs, opt for a 50# weight, which will reduce the overall weight of the book and lower shipping costs.

One caution:  If you have imagery or heavy solid ink coverage, be aware of opacity or “show-through” with lighter weight sheets.  When you have image content, be safe and go with a 70# or 80# weight.   Heavier weight paper also offers a tactileness and substance to your book that contributes to its overall aesthetic appeal.

If your project is a textbook or workbook, select the heavier 70# or 80# weight so they stand up to continual wear and page-turning.

Colored papers are good options as well.  In addition to several shades of white, we offer a subtle off-white or natural color that can help warm up your book.  Alternatively, a white coated or glossy sheet has a harder surface which makes color photography pop on the page.

Color, texture, and weight of paper all communicate subtle messages to the reader.  If possible, always try to consider your paper choices early in the design process.  Remember that paper can dramatically affect not only the budget, but the overall aesthetic of your book.  As always, give us a call or “chat” with us online if you have questions.

For more information, visit www.pubgraphics.com

Find Your Voice in Writing

By on February 25th, 2013 in How to

For many professionals, writing  is a daunting task.  It evokes images of staring hypnotically at a flashing cursor. It’s a catalyst for procrastination.  It causes nervous waves to course through your body as a deadline draws near. But according to Rochelle Groskreutz of Words for Sale, many professionals fear writing because they haven’t found their voice.  I asked her to share some thoughts on how to write more and fear less…

Writing is another form of communication.  The voice you speak with is the voice you write with. Approach writing like a conversation.typewriter  But the added benefit of writing is that you can review and revise “what you said” before it’s communicated.

When you approach writing, remember the saying “less is more.” If you have to say something and make an impact, you’ll choose your words wisely, right?  Writing is no different.  Rambling on is not only unnecessary; it’s boring to your readers.  Every word has a purpose: to keep your audience’s attention and ultimately educate or inspire action (learn more, call today, buy now, etc.)

So how can you say more with less?  Start by getting all your words and thoughts down.  Don’t worry about misspellings, bad sentence structure, grammar rules, etc…

Once the content is there, think of it as a lump of clay you’re going to shape into something meaningful. Read and re-read, looking for ways to “carve out” extra words, tighten up sentences and get to the point of your key message.  Now re-read your message aloud to see if there are any additional cuts you can make.  Once your message is clear and concise, your masterpiece should be complete.

Your voice in writing is what’s underneath all those layers of extra words.  Peeling back those layers is a skill that develops with practice and time. Don’t get discouraged; writing is an evolving process for novices and experts alike. Remember these wise words I once read: “Writers write; professionals revise.”

Adding the Wow Factor to Your Book

By on May 8th, 2012 in How to

With literally hundreds of titles hitting the market every day, your book needs as much attention as it can capture to spark interest and sales.  Before any design, layout, or clever phrase, it is color that catches people’s attention first.

Color is not just for book covers. The good news is that color can be added anywhere within a book printed by PG.    Whether a single page or a dozen, a color insert is a great way to inject a jolt of energy into your book.

Consider these research findings on color:

  1. When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7% of total respondents think that color accounts for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products.                                    Source:  Seoul International Color Expo
  2.  Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.                                                Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research
  3. Research by the Henley Centre suggests 73% of purchasing decisions are now made in-store.

Reactions to individual colors and palettes may vary from person to person, but few doubt its power to influence sales.  Consequently, catching the shopper’s eye and conveying information effectively are critical to successful sales.

To help inspire you, we’ve collected some of our recent books printed with lots of color:

Great artwork teamed with bright colors
Food subjects are a natural for a colorful cover
Red/Orange pallette conveys warmth
Solid blocks of color can be challenging to print
Interior color insert pages

So be bold in your designs.  Make good color combinations.  Make sure your book strikes the right note of drawing attention and conveying a clear message.

And tell us your experiences with color…..  Has color influenced sales of your book?

A Starter Guide for Printing Your First Book

By on May 2nd, 2012 in How to

The world of digital printing and book publishing can seem daunting to those producing their first book.  To help make sense of it all, we compiled six quick tips from our customer service and pre-press departments to help guide you through the complexities of the process.

Tip #1:   Let’s start with the basics: what software program should you make your book in?  Several common programs can be used for your files, including Word (for text), Publisher, Photoshop (for covers), Quark, and Adobe InDesign.  Which software generally doesn’t work?  Designing in Power Point is not a good option for book production as it is not a very flexible program to manipulate and make changes in.

Tip #2:  Now that you’ve completed your files, you’ll need to convert them to PDF (Portable Document Format) files.  PDF files have become the industry-standard for printing books, and virtually all book printers require them today. You can create (or convert to) your own PDF files using popular programs such as Adobe Acrobat Writer.

Make certain that the editing of your book is completed before either the PDF conversion process or the printing and physical proof process are initiated otherwise significant additional charges may be incurred.

Tip #3:  Two separate files are needed—one file for the cover and one for the interior (text pages) of the book.  The page size should be the final trim size of the book, so for example:  a 6 x 9 book will have a  6 x 9 page size.   Proper pagination (page order and layout) is vital to a professional looking book. To ensure the best quality for your book, make sure odd pages fall on the right. Page 1 should be on the first odd numbered after the front matter. Make sure your odd page numbers are on the right, evens on the left, or centered at the bottom of the page.

Tip #4:  Cover artwork is generally where most challenges arise in the book production process and so we’ve included a simplified cover layout:

Cover layout for a softcover book

The cover file should include only the front and back covers of the book with the back cover on left side and the front cover on the right side.   A spine must also be included in the artwork, and it must be wide enough to hold the page count of the book.   The spine width will vary depending on the number of pages in the book and the weight and caliper of the paper selected for the job.  It is calculated using PPI, which stands for “pages per inch.”  Every printer has their own preferred house sheets, so PPI will vary from printer to printer and from paper to paper.

There’s a simple formula which determines that width:  Simply take the number of pages in your book and divide that figure by your text paper’s PPI (pages per inch). Where do you get the PPI?  It depends on what kind of paper you’re using.  Here’s an example using one our most common sheets: Let’s say your book has 250 pages and you are printing it on a 50# natural uncoated paper which has a PPI of 500. Then the width of your book’s spine will be 250 ÷ 500 = .50 or half an inch.  That’s for a paperback.  For a hard cover book, you have to add the thickness of the boards.   Once you know the PPI of the paper, you can use our templates to plug in your book dimensions.  Both soft-cover and hard-cover templates along with a dust jacket version are available on our website.

Tip #5:  When your design features a mix of photography and text, make sure your images are 300 DPI (dots per inch).  Remember large, high-quality JPEGs will produce the best results for photography. Also be sure you’ve accounted for the ‘bleed’ in your design, filling this area with any background colors or image.   Allow for an additional ¼” around your image to ensure all important parts of your design are kept within the safe area.

Tip #6:  One last step remains before submitting your files:  Pre-flighting.  This important step verifies that all files are complete, fonts are not corrupt, and all image files are in the correct format.   When pre-flighting a document make sure to embed all fonts into the file. This includes even common fonts (Tahoma, Times New Roman, etc.).   In some programs (Microsoft Word 2010 comes to mind) there is a box that is checked by default “Do not Embed Common Fonts” which can sometimes cause problems with printing.

Lastly, be sure to call us if you have any questions and talk with either our pre-press or customer service departments!   A little time spent on the front end will save you hours of time later!

Please visit pubgraphics.com for more information.

How writing a book positions you as an expert in your field

By on April 25th, 2012 in How to

Carolyn Ash turned her passion for skin care and education into a popular first book entitled Timeless Skin: Healthy Skin for a Lifetime.  After being discovered through the publicity from Timeless Skin, Carolyn has enjoyed educating people all over the country.  Her writing efforts have gotten her notoriety in Dallas, Chicago, and in her current hometown, Boulder, Colorado.  Her 2nd book, Skin Care from A to Z,  printed at Publishers’ Graphics, answered reader’s questions and featured case studies of clients from her salons.   

Carolyn says, “Over the years I have met numerous people who have a book in their head and a dream to ‘one day’ write it and have it published. I was that person 10 years ago. Now two publications later, I have to say that writing books has been a wonderful way to promote my business as well as position myself as an expert in my profession.”

We think Carolyn’s words of encouragement will inspire you to consider writing and publishing a book.  Here are her great tips for getting started…

1. Writing a book can help people. Writing about what you know offers people the ability to learn from your years of experience. I’m in a personal service industry, and prior to my first book coming out I was basically helping one person at a time. Now through my books, I can help people who may not be able to come to my office, yet they are able to absorb the knowledge I am imparting through the written word.

2. Writing establishes you as an expert in your field. As I mentioned, many people want to write a book, but few actually do the work. Holding up a book you have written helps to elevate you as an expert in your field like no other. Become a trusted resource with a published book!

3. If you want to reach a wider audience, write a book. Perhaps you’re a coach, a consultant, you own a small business or are in the personal services arena. By writing even a short book, you can enlarge your area of influence. You’ll not only reach your target audience, but your book may spill over into an even wider group of new followers. Reaching a larger audience equals more credibility for you and can translate into more clients for your business.

4. Writing a book brings self-gratification. I love to write, so publishing books is a wonderful way for me to get information out to the public while giving me a huge amount of self-satisfaction. I love the entire process, from the initial outline to opening a newly printed book. Writing a book will give you the confidence to excel in your chosen field. There’s nothing better than accomplishing a long-standing goal!

5. Writing puts you in the media’s headlights. If you have a published book you are more likely to be approached by the media for quotes and interviews. After all—you’re the expert! You have taken the time and trouble to write down what you know, and the media is always looking for new ideas or even a new angle on an old story. They need content, so provide it for them! 

6. Writing a book can and will drive traffic to your website. If you are looking for a great way to get people to your website, then get that book out into the world! Within the pages of any book you write, you have endless possibilities to promote yourself. With an About the Author page you can add information to drive people to your website, other books you’ve written; the list goes on. However you want to promote yourself—include it in your book! 

7. Increase your revenue with the written word. Counter to what many people think, writing a book doesn’t necessarily make you a millionaire (unless you’re JK Rowling!). But having one or more products (books) out on the market can bring in extra revenue year after year. This is especially true if you write about an evergreen subject (something that doesn’t go out of style), then you can sell books forever!

8. A published book is the best business card ever! I think of my books as a marketing tool for my business. Yes, they are information books and have helped a lot of people. But they are also the best marketing tool I have at my fingertips. Put two experts side by side: One has written one or more books, the other has not. Who would you choose as your go-to expert? I would pick the author over the other expert every time. And so will your prospective clients. 

9. You have a large knowledge base, why not write it down? I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s best (and perhaps easiest) to write about what you know—and it’s true! The subject you are well-versed in is the best one to write about. Even if you’re just an expert in your own mind, writing and publishing a book will establish you as an expert in everyone else’s minds too. When you write about what you know, you may find you have so much to say;  the pages just write themselves! 

10. Don’t be afraid to write a book! Perhaps you can come up with many reasons not to write a book, but my suggestion is to acknowledge the fear and publish anyway. Even if there are already 10 books on the subject you want to write about, you may have a different angle that hasn’t been explored or you have something entirely new to say. Write about the subject you know well and are passionate about, and don’t let fear be your guide.

Carolyn wraps up her tips by saying:  “Publishing a book helped to establish me as an industry leader and an expert in my field. The rewards you will experience far outweigh any apprehension you may have about starting the process. So—write!  You’ll be so happy you (finally) did.”

Learn more about Carolyn at www.carolynash.com

Visit www.pubgraphics.com for more information.