Just finished reading the printing article. FASCINATING. The technology embodied in that job looks QUITE impressive - that plant must have invested a tidy sum.
As I said in the article, the press I was on was MAN 3, they had two other presses running that day as well. I saw some interesting stuff coming out of the other presses and a lot of other books in various stages of assembly, but part of the deal with them letting me shoots was that I only shoot MY stuff and keep what else was in-plant confidential. I will say that other Peachpit books are printed there...Courier is Peachpit's premier book printer.
Do you know how long the printing job took from start to finish of the first run? Also interesting - one gets the impression that there isn't really a very large number of staff.
Well, I was there for the entire print run (ok, I slipped out midway through form 9, the last form because I had to drive back to Chicago that note). The total time for the print run was under 13 hrs, but I'm precluded from stating what the actual press run count was (Peachpit didn't want to let any other publishers know how they buy print runs).
For the main printing, there were three pressmen and two catchers binding the printed signatures. We also had the press manager stop by during the day and a few others showed up from time to time. Total number of people at the plant was, of course, much higher. There were many people working in the bindery and they have an entire plate making department (that was hidden behind doors I wasn't allowed to go through because they keep it in a "dust free" environment.
Then, of course, there are a lot of office workers up front. I think total at Kendallville is 475 employees. So, it's a bigger company than it looks from the shots. The press guide said something about the Kendallville plant doing 40,000 tons of printing making up 50 million books in 2005.
But that was before they got their third LITHOMAN press so I suspect they could do more now. Their expansion in 2006 cost about $21 million–don't know what part the presses played–I never could get a straight answer to what the press costs–I'm not sure anybody knows what just the press costs there as there is a lot more to a "press" than the press; inks systems, paper handling, heater/dryer/folder, chopper, etc.
It actually was a really fun field trip, but in the grand scheme of things, by the time the book got on press, there really wasn't much left to chance. They already had nailed color even before I got there that morning. Every time I found a registration thingie to mention Vinnie or Kurt were already working on it. So, I was pretty much just there for the ride.
Now, I'm also planning on doing a story on how we did profiles for the book. That's an interesting story too. But I have to get permission from Martin to disclose a method he used that I picked up for doing double seps and then assembling them to use dual GCR settings within an image. I do know that Peachpit was impressed with the way I ended up doing all the CMYK separations and the same technique is being used by Conrad Chavaz for Real World Photoshop as well. I'll also admit I had the help of three top color geeks working with me; Andrew Rodney, Karl Lang and Chris Murphy who ended up making my profiles for me based on the SWOP 2006 spectral data. Chris was Bruce's co-author of Real World Color Management and Karl Lang did the ColorMatch RGB color space as well as designing the Sony Artisan. So, I had a lot of help (sometimes too much help in the beginning).
But the whole process of writing and producing the book was actually enjoyable. Yes, it was a lot of work...it's how I spent June-August of this year working every day like it was a real job. But it will be very gratifying if the revision is well received. I've already started thinking about the next edition...I already know a lot of stuff Thomas and Zalman want to put in Camera Raw 5.0 and I'll tell ya, the next version will have to be even longer. This time we went from 304 to 384 pages and it was real work to keep the page count that low. But all the effort is really dedicated to the memory of Bruce...I'm just batting the cleanup unfortunately.