Before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, every book in existence needed to be scribed. It wasn’t until the 20th century that books have become widely accessible to the public. This is because, during this time, offset lithography, or offset printing, enabled faster and more cost-effective mass production of books.
So, how exactly does book printing work? To the everyday person, this question may be puzzling. UnitedGMG created this step by step guide to book printing to give you an inside look on how book printing works.
This is the first stage of book printing and is very important – after all, the design stage is where you create the blueprint of how every element of your book will be brought to life. During this stage, the author will work with the editor and printer to determine the overall design concept, as well as:
The next step in the book printing process is typesetting. The typesetting process will go as follows:
After thorough proofreading and editing, pages, also known as lasers, are created in the following order:
During the filming process of book printing, printers will adhere to the following steps:
Printed words are created in one shade of black. Photographs, however, can consist of many different shades. Printers convert the shades into black and white dots, resulting in a converted photo also known as a halftone. An additional negative is created for each color of ink used in the book. If a book consists of colored photos, four negatives are typically produced for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. As a result, books printed with more than one color tend to have a costlier production cost.
For the stripping process, printers will do the following:
The blueprinting process helps ensure that the book printing is going well at this point into the process. To do this, printers:
The next step of the book printing process is platemaking, which consists of these few steps:
During this stage, the plates are brought to the press. Books that are being printed in only one color will only need to pass through the press once. However, if the book is being printing in more than one color, the plates will need to pass through an extra time per color.
Binding is the last step of the book printing process and starts once the sheets are dry after printing. The binding process is usually automated and includes:
As it shows, book printing is an extensive process with many steps – each needing to be done accurately and with care. To learn more about book printing or for more information before starting your next project, contact our printing experts at United GMG. We have over 80 years of printing and use state-of-the-art equipment to bring your book to reality and exceed your expectations.