How Books Are Made

Plates, paper, perfecting—print!

Even in our digital world, despite the insight of editors and the wonders of design, printing is really where the book-making magic culminates. In this episode, Arthur speaks to Mike Jason, a long-time book-printing expert.

Mike Jason is the director of Academic Press, which prints books for educational publishers across southern Africa.

He takes us through the book-printing process, and discusses the differences between offset and digital printing, where book paper comes from, and the economics of book printing. And he and Arthur revisit a magnificent art-book project from twenty years ago.

This episode was published on 9 November 2020.
Supported by Electric Book Works: publishing reinvented for the digital age.

Transcript

Arthur Attwell 0:04
Hello and welcome to How Books Are Made, a podcast about the art and science of making books. I’m Arthur Attwell.

Arthur Attwell 0:22
I’m finally getting to talk about printing. That really is how books are made. I mean, even in our digital world, even with all my admiration for editors and love of design, at the end of the day, the printing is where the book-making magic culminates. I have visited many printing shop floors over the years, and every time I return even more excited about the work I do. If you’re in book-making and haven’t had a chance to see book printing in action, get in touch with a printer near you to arrange a tour. Printers are invariably warm, welcoming people who love to share what they do, and you will be amazed.

Arthur Attwell 1:10
This week, I called up an old friend, Mike Jason. I met Mike 20 years ago, when he was hitting up production at Oxford University Press in South Africa. He ran training sessions for us young editors. I remember them like they were yesterday. He and I were at Pearson together too, and have both since started our own book-making companies. These days, Mike runs Academic Press, which prints books for educational publishers across southern Africa. I thought we should get Mike to talk us through the book printing process, find out about the economics of Book Printing and the rise of a digital printing, and I wanted to revisit a magnificent art book project that I watched him manage two decades ago.

Arthur Attwell 1:59
Mike, it is such a pleasure to have you on the podcast, thanks for joining me. You have a busy time running a few companies, so I especially appreciate your taking time for this.

Mike Jason 2:10
Yeah, cool, man, I’m excited to be part of it. Hopefully, I can add some value.

Arthur Attwell 2:15
Printing is, for me, the most magical part of book-making, partly because it doesn’t generally happen in front of me. It’s this magical thing that happens, I send a PDF, and I get back this piece of physical art, which is just amazing. I have spent enough time in printing on printing floors to know it’s a real thing that has pieces to the process and it’s super, super exciting for a nerd like me. I hope that you can talk me through a little bit.

Arthur Attwell 2:43
What I wanted to kick off with was just a brief overview of what happens from the moment that I email your team a print-ready PDF, to the moment that I hold a printed book in my hand. We can do that at fairly high level, and then we’ll drill down to the various bits.

Mike Jason 3:02
I like to refer to it as the manufacturing process. The total manufacturing process is basically made up of three main stages: pre-press, and then printing, and then post-press. So many people just refer to it as the printing of the book, you know, and this is where I try to get fancy with people and say, Actually, actually printing is just one part of it. But that’s actually just to be more specific. The pre-press part of it is you supply this PDF, as you call it, which is basically a composition of, of typesetting, design, graphic arts, you know, some image assembly, and then your file preparation.

Mike Jason 3:41
So we take that, and these are checked, and they run thoroughly through some software and we ensure its integrity. And of course, its readiness for the image transfer and what we call plate making, we’ll get to that soon. Before we even go to any sort of manufacturing part, all we’re doing is using software to check your file to ensure that what you deem to be your product actually comes out on paper. In essence, we then send you a proof of what you’ve given us, so that you can somehow sign off against it and say, I’m happy to go. Because you know, things happen. Fonts fall off the bus, and artwork corrupts, and those sort of, so we iron out all of those and ensure that what you see is what you get.

Arthur Attwell 4:28
That’s actually a paper proof that you send us, it’s actually a physical paper thing. Although I know that on-screen proofing happens too.

Mike Jason 4:33
Correct. By and large, I mean, and especially now, you know, COVID is going to affect just everybody’s life. Currently, we have a mix of clients that prefer still hardcopy proof – touch and feel. Then there are electronic proofs, you know, we just send off an image on different sort of platforms. You can either view it on our website, or we send you a normal PDF, but it’s important to note that it’s gone through our system, and is what we call post rip. Once that file is ripped, it’s the same file that will be sent to the plate maker, right? That’s important to know.

Mike Jason 5:13
So you’ve okayed it, we now transfer the image onto a lithographic plate. This is still done in pre press. A lithographic plate is a huge sheet of metal. Our maximum size measures 795 by 1,040 millimetres. It’s a plate that is been prepared with a coating that when exposed, the light will accept the image area, right, and it’s burnt onto the plate, and then we wash away the non-image area. What you see on the plate is actually in right reading and is exactly as you’ve handed me on the PDF. The only difference is, we able to lay out multiple pages of your book on one big plate. That’s what we call section printing.

Mike Jason 5:57
Let’s say your book, and I’ll get to it later as well, let’s say your book was a A4 book, on our typical big press, we can get 16 of those pages on one plate, eight on the front, eight on the back. So that’s what we do. These lithographic plates, then, go to the press, and this is specific to offset lithography. The image is transferred from the plate to a rubber blanket and back onto the paper, all on the printing press. The printing is then done, and then post-press will involve mainly the binding process. In most cases, we have a cover and the text and the text is folded and collated and the cover is bound onto the book. Then we form a book as you would see it when you receive it in the post or for your advance copy as the publisher.

Arthur Attwell 6:51
You mentioned that that process is specific to offset lithography, offset printing. What is digital printing as opposed to offset?

Mike Jason 7:00
I’ll explain it this way. Offset printing works by first transferring the image, the image being your PDF now right, the metal plate I mentioned earlier, right. In the printing process, the metal plate is then inked up. The image area we spoke about attracts the ink, the non-image area will not attack the ink. So by then a series of cylinders, that image is transferred onto a rubber cylinder, which is called a blanket, funny name I know, and then that image which is now on the blanket, which is in wrong reading, is transferred onto the paper.

Arthur Attwell 7:42
Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this. The, the plate touches the blanket, and the blanket accepts what is effectively then a reverse image of what was on the plate and then the blanket rolls onto the paper. With the sort of soft, I like that, soft blanket, gently touching the plate, so the plate doesn’t get worn down too much, gently touching the paper so it’s evenly gently pressed onto the paper. So the paper receives the same edge that was on the plate through this kind of reverse blanket. It’s kind of a head scratcher. But it’s brilliant once you click.

Mike Jason 8:12
Absolutely, you got it spot on. And so and so therefore the term offset, so it’s not direct, it’s offset by the blanket. Previously, the printing process prior to the introduction of offset would have been something called like letterpress printing, right? So you see those old Heidelberg presses that used to chunk and chunk around. That, that image used to be wrong image, but it went directly onto the paper.

Arthur Attwell 8:39
Okay, that goes all the way back to Gutenberg, right? Because that essentially he, he was creating little metal letters and they would press onto the paper.

Mike Jason 8:47
But of course the quality and what you could do with it was, I mean, suitable for the day. In offset printing one of the biggest advantages is the variety, the variety of stocks, in other words, paper and substrate one is able to use. It’s, it’s more economical for larger print runs.

Arthur Attwell 9:06
We’re talking like 1,000 books and up.

Mike Jason 9:09
Got it, 1,000 books and up. We’ll get to that later as well, Arthur, because it’s become quite a tussle between digital printing and offset printing. What is that break even point? I think it largely depends on the number of pages in the book, because 1,000 books of only 16 pages could still be affordable in the digital format. So the setup costs are a bit higher because of what I’ve told you, you have to get the plate made, you have to get, put the plate on the machine, and get it up and run through a couple of sheets.

Arthur Attwell 9:39
Right, and it’s a big machine on a big factory floor.

Mike Jason 9:41
It is a big machine. But those higher costs are absorbed once the print run gets going. So it will almost dilute the unit cost if you were doing 1,000 copies. Now when you push it to 2,000 copies that unit cost becomes less because the quantity is absorbing the setup costs. That’s why the offset and lithographic method is useful for larger print runs. These machines also run at tremendous speeds. The new machines, really new machines can average at like 15,000 sheets an hour. When I did my apprenticeship fast was two and a half thousand sheets an hour. So it’s a blur, it’s a complete blur, the printing press at that speed is a blur. Today in today’s top press rooms those are standard.

Mike Jason 10:36
The other advantage of the offset presses, as we’ve mentioned earlier is the size of the press. Because I mean, obviously, the more pages you can impose on one big sheet, the more economical it is in terms of how many impressions have to go through the press. As I said earlier, typically an A4 book, let’s keep stick with A4, can be imposed on the large sheet, and that gives you eight pages on the front. Then we reverse that sheet and we put the other eight pages on the back. Now, almost all the presses that we have on our shop can do both sides of the sheet at the same time. So it goes through the press and does both sides, it’s, in printer stim that’s called perfecting.

Arthur Attwell 11:20
As in finishing, yeah.

Mike Jason 11:22
So coming out of the other side of the press is a sheet printed both sides with 16 pages of your book now complete. Let’s say you had a book, Aurthurs’s Cookbook, and it was A4 and it was 160 pages. So the first 16 we would do and that would be called section number one. Once that’s done, we do the other nine sections to equal your 160 pages. In this case, you have 10 sections that you need to complete and depending on the quantity that you say I want 500 of these, we do 500 plus some overs of those in order to take all of that to the bindery process. The digital press works by, by transferring the image directly onto the paper. There are no plates, pkay. Think of your, your typical desktop printer. Except this is a high-end production pub machine.

Arthur Attwell 12:27
It’s like a massive laser printer.

Mike Jason 12:29
Typically the size of a queen size bed. There’s a myriad of functions. It’s really, they, these are super duper machines. The key difference, of course, is, if you recall, when we used to do photocopying, right, back in the old days, you needed to have used hardcopy. Digital means you don’t have to use hardcopy, you’re just using an original file in whatever format, right, it could be a PDF, it could be a Word doc, it could be an Excel. So you send that electronic file for full output, right? There’s very little intervention with pre-press, although there could be, there are no plates. The distinct difference, of course, is that it’s a much smaller machine. Our machines, and typically most common digital presses accommodate only an A3 size page.

Arthur Attwell 13:27
Okay. So no big sections.

Mike Jason 13:29
No big sections. Now think of it, now your 160 page book, one is only able to do four pages at a time. Two on the front, two on the back. Okay. So now, now your book, which was 10 sections in the litho, is now 40 sections in digital. So there’s a lot more time to go through the press.

Arthur Attwell 13:53
That’s interesting. Okay.

Mike Jason 13:54
However, the economies of scale would probably favor you if you wanted to do only 10 copies of your cookbook.

Arthur Attwell 14:03
Right. Because I don’t have to go through all the hassle of setting up the plates and the machine and everything.

Mike Jason 14:07
Absolutely. So it’s not cheaper. It’s, it’s more expensive per unit. But it’s cheaper in the overall cost.

Arthur Attwell 14:15
Gotcha. For those small runs, yeah.

Mike Jason 14:17
So typically, if, and I, it’s probably a bad example, but if you were doing that book litho offset, and you wanted 1,000 copies, I charge you R20 per book, okay. 1,000 copies, thats R20,000. But if you only wanted 10 copies, I’d probably be charging you R2,000 in total.

Arthur Attwell 14:39
Yeah, so that’s like R100 a copy.

Arthur Attwell 14:41
Correct. The difficulty of course, for a person like Arthur who now wants to sell that book is if we did it litho, his actual unit costs for producing the book is only R20. It just depends on the price point and at what point is digital, more cost effective for the publisher or in this case, the author.

Arthur Attwell 15:02
I know that one of the concerns of digital certainly in its early years was that the colour reproduction just wasn’t as good as lithographic. So you wouldn’t want to use it for a photography book or something where the pictures really matter. Is that still a concern? Is it something that’s changing?

Mike Jason 15:17
Digital print is, as we say, suited for shorter run publications, and currently, the strides made in technology is actually quickly closing the gap on offset. But the choices of paper is limited, and then as you rightly say, print quality is still one of the negatives, okay? Although there are strides being made at the moment, especially with what we call inkjet technology, whereby there is a catch up to offset, but certainly not for your high-end, as you say, coffee table photography type books. I certainly wouldn’t prescribe inkjet or digital for those sort of publications where they’re really high-end. The other advantage, of course, on digital is the added advantage of variable data. A typical example, I could print 200 wedding invitations for you and all of them could be personalized.

Arthur Attwell 16:14
Okay, so something is changing with every sheet.

Mike Jason 16:17
Every sheet going through and we don’t stop the press. It’s all pre-programmed, so when it comes out on the other side, each of the 200 wedding invitations could have your guest name, and a special message tailored for them only. Thinking about the offset and the life proceeds, that’s impossible to do, because you’d need to change the plate 200 times. Typically, if you needed to do those 10 cookbooks …

Arthur Attwell 16:43
Yeah, maybe you’ve got different sponsors, and each sponsor wants a different piece of the print run or something.

Mike Jason 16:48
There you go. And then of course, the turnaround times are much quicker, digitally.

Arthur Attwell 16:53
Right, because there’s no, not all that pre-press set up, you can get it in and out pretty quickly.

Mike Jason 16:57
Absolutely. So you know, in a nutshell, those are the, in essence, the differences. The ones just the big machine that runs the longer runs, and the other one is in a smaller room. Think of as I call it, the big fancy production photocopy machine.

Arthur Attwell 17:15
The holy grail, of course of digital printing is a single copy at a reasonable price. I know that that’s something that in a smaller market, like South Africa, no one can really pull off yet, but in the biggest centres, the UK and the US, obviously, and some other places, companies like Lightning Source have managed to get that single copy digital price really, really low so that you can get true print-on-demand, which is where the customer orders the book on, say, Amazon, and Amazon orders the book kind of directly from the printer and the printer prints a single copy. But obviously, you’ve got to get massive economies of scale, get a huge number of books moving through your presses to make that possible. Do you imagine that something that could happen in South Africa? Or are we just going to be too small for that to be reasonable?

Mike Jason 18:02
Yeah, at the moment, and it’s not new. It’s certainly not in its infancy in South Africa, but let’s call it five years old, okay, since, since introduction of this inkjet technology, which is being used far more effectively than straight old digital printing. The old digital printing as you and I know it is still toner based, okay? Where they literally plonk this big fat cartridge into the machine and it and it literally prints from this toner-based ink. So the ink is actually in a liquid form and the ink is sprayed by via these minute jets onto the substrate. Now, I’m getting to your point, but this technology costs, and it is prohibitively expensive. I mean, to go the full hog on a full inkjet line, which is being utilized by these international players, as you mentioned, is prohibitive. So the barrier to entry is only for the big boys. If you need to justify this sort of investment, you need this thing running 24/7, and that’s what would bring the price points down.

Arthur Attwell 19:19
I remember a conversation with someone at Lightning Source saying that, I hope I’m not misquoting them, that they needed a million books a year to justify one line.

Mike Jason 19:30
I’m absolutely absolutely convinced of it. Companies who have invested in that now, it’s not a case of let me built it and see who knocks on the door. You’ve got to have contractual obligations in place in order to justify this sort of investment because it literally has to be running 24/7. The other downside to it is that most companies who have invested in South Africa only have one line. When I say lines, the printing and the finishing is all in line. Literally, the book pops out on the other side of this, this manufacturing process.

Arthur Attwell 20:11
Right. And by line it’s literally like, machines all in a line on the floor. You can stand at one end of the line and see a book come out.

Mike Jason 20:18
Absolutely. But once you have a jam, or breakdown, or any sort of technical glitch, you holding back a million books, as you say, in the back of the queue, and you have no other alternative. I’ve got three other places I can run to, if I do have a breakdown of some sort. I see us still behind in terms of the more advanced economies of the world, but it will come. It will come. There are customers of ours right now, who have programs which they call print-on-demand. The numbers are may not, maybe not as small as you’ve suggested earlier. But instead of, instead of them, and let me give you a typical example. Instead of them having to justify a minimum print run of let’s say, 500 of a teacher guide. They now do 50 books, but they can do it 10 times a year, and so the focus there is not purely on cost only, Arthur. It’s also on stock holding and inventory. They’d rather have that money sitting elsewhere and invested elsewhere as opposed to just dead stock sitting in the well, and they wait for the full year or two years to sell 500 copies.

Arthur Attwell 21:34
Yeah. Interesting. One of the things that’s interested me is where book paper actually comes from. Because I know that as a publisher, we get to choose between a certain number of papers, and it’s influenced by availability. What does availability mean? Where do you get your papers, and how does one, how does one choose?

Mike Jason 21:53
The customers we do 80% of our work for choose mainly what you and I know as bond paper. It’s a strikingly white wood-free paper.

Arthur Attwell 22:06
That kind of thing we put in our home printers.

Mike Jason 22:08
Correct. Now, I mean, just generally speaking, the world’s largest producer of paper is China, outright, China produces the most paper out of any of the countries in the world. The Asia Pacific region dominates the sector for the globe. As I said, China, Japan, South Korea, India to a degree, the USA, Brazil, also key players, we in fact, have some improved supplies coming out of the Middle East now. So that whole Emirates area is doing quite well because they’ve got more money than anybody can understand. The European players are still key, but they supply mainly the high-end stuff like the real coated papers and the specialist papers that you see in some publications, or some of the art books and some of as you said earlier the photographic books where, you know, this highly specialized.

Arthur Attwell 23:06
A coated paper is a paper that has essentially got a, some kind of coat on it, I assume its some kind of varnish, that means that the ink sits right on the paper, it doesn’t sink in and so we get a sharper line, is that a fair description?

Mike Jason 23:20
The paper has a base and you’re quite right, it’s coated or what we call calendared. It has this, it looks like a sheen to you and I, what then happens is and I’ll, and I’ll try and explain to you the difference between that and an uncoated paper. The uncoated paper, think of typically as you say that the copy paper we put in our machines, which has no coating, and because when the ink is applied, the ink is still wet, on the uncoated stock, it will be absorbed to a degree. So it will actually filter into the grains of paper. But on a coated stock, it literally sits on top. That’s why when you look at it too it looks classy, it looks more quality, because there’s no absorption. It looks absolutely crystal clear in terms of the image.

Mike Jason 24:05
Of course it costs more and less of it is made it around the world because the demand is less and that’s why it’s quite pricey. In essence, there’s the difference between the two. You get various grades of those as well. That is not to say that uncoated paper is cheap. Think of a typical bestselling novel at the moment that is typically printed on quite a bulky, off-white paper. Right? The papers got a grain and it looks really classy, and, but that stuffs expensive, its uncoated, but it’s prohibitively expensive. I mean, it could be one and a half to double the price of ordinary old woodbury.

Arthur Attwell 24:45
Which is why textbooks generally aren’t printed on that kind of paper. Textbooks go for bargain basement bond or, or something cheap, even cheaper.

Mike Jason 24:53
Yes. We also have to ensure that our paper is ethically sourced. We get certification from the makers and the resellers that our papers are, are ethically sourced and that we look after the planet. That comes at a cost. For any sort of literary work, it’s about opacity as well, I mean, who wants any sort of book where you can see it right through. Those quality issues need to be addressed when, when we, when we source paper.

Mike Jason 25:23
Price of course, is, is important. There are also, the two local suppliers of paper and makers, which is Sappi and Mondi. Sappi have largely, they largely have gone to the export market, so not a lot of their locally-made paper is available to us, but Mondi is a big player. The problem we have that companies of our size, we have very limited access to their bulk manufacturer, because they prescribe certain minimum orders per month.

Arthur Attwell 25:55
Okay, you’ve got to buy x tons of paper for them to be interested.

Mike Jason 25:59
Absolutely. Their paper we would generally then get from local suppliers, or retailers who would then sell on to us, they take the risk and the warehousing and give us a good enough deal, so we buy locally. We do however source a smaller percentage of our paper directly from the mills in China and in the Middle East. But of course, there we are just, we just at the mercy of the exchange rate. So you know, asking me to do a budget, or in fact, trying to sit down with my customers to predict what paper is going to cost me in six months time is just a thumbsuck of notes. If I haven’t pegged my purchase, in terms of a dollar rate at the time, I’m stuffed. But you know, we don’t, we don’t speculate. Once we’ve deemed to have got a good price we buy and, and get on with it.

Arthur Attwell 27:00
Who does all these calculations? When I ask as a publisher for a quote, someone’s got to figure out what’s the paper gonna cost, what is the ink gonna cost, how much machine time am I going to need? Now that role is usually called an estimator, they must be juggling a hell of a lot.

Mike Jason 27:17
It’s actually a formal qualification that one goes through. The estimator, I mean, it’s quite self-explanatory, plays a critical role in business, right, in that it is and that person’s responsibility is to just churn out these quotations. The quote, as you see, it an outcome of an estimate. The estimator mainly nowadays, they use software. Note, when I started out, everything was done by hand.

Mike Jason 27:48
You know, today, if I were recruiting for an estimator, you don’t need to be an Einstein. You need to be, I mean, speed is just non-negotiable, right? Speed is non-negotiable. You have to be fast, you have to be thorough. Orderliness is the, is the order of the day. You can’t jump around. A quote needs to be done in a specific way, and it needs to be done that way every time.

Mike Jason 28:16
I mean, I was a half-decent estimator, I think, and I was useless at math. But I think, you know, when you logical, and you thorough, and you do it right the first time, those are the qualities of a damn good estimator. Riding on that is the technical knowledge one has to have of all the processes that go into, for example, in our case, now, book-making. You have to have the technical knowledge, you have to have been on the print floor. None of this can be done with just a theoretical training, it’s impossible.

Arthur Attwell 28:57
Those that are on the front floor minding those machines, what does it take to become a machine minder, someone who actually runs the big press?

Mike Jason 29:05
In the past, it took three years of an apprenticeship, which consisted of theoretical training via an accredited institution, and that would result in a diploma. But that then run, ran concurrent with practical training and guidance in the press room.

Mike Jason 29:26
Typically, you would work with a qualified machine minder for that three-year period and while you’re doing your practical and theories, you apply all of that. Then you have to do a formal trade test. It’s still required nowadays and is normally conducted by an independent specialist. That person would, on behalf a recognized Industry Association. In our case its Printing SA. The person goes through this formal apprenticeship and then they say, Okay, you ready for your trade test and you need to pass that pass it well. Then you get this accreditation that your’re a machine minder. Machine minders nowadays, let’s say give you five years from passing your trade test. Five years of thorough press room experience. These are very well-paid individuals and good machine minders are sought after in our industry. They’re not roaming the streets.

Arthur Attwell 30:26
It’s clearly an art, having watched a few at work.

Mike Jason 30:30
They are the envy of the greater printing environment. They work hard and obviously shifts are required in certain cases. But they’re are well, well, well rewarded.

Arthur Attwell 30:41
Fascinating. Casting my mind back, I remember many years ago, you and I worked, well I wasn’t directly involved, mostly I watched you work on a photography book by David Goldblatt called The Structure of Things Then. I’m sure you started going grey during that project, because that was, that was high-end art printing. I seem to believe that printing was done in Italy, but you were overseeing the production process. Do you remember that? I just learned a lot from you.

Mike Jason 31:09
Yes. How could I? How could I forget? What an experience. Actually it was printed locally.

Arthur Attwell 31:14
Oh right, okay. Oh yes there, there was I think there was a co-edition in Italy. That was, that’s what I was thinking of, something like that.

Mike Jason 31:19
Yeah, it was printed locally. Only in hindsight, I mean, imagine managing a photographic publication of a man who had an individual exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. I mean, this is mind-blowing stuff. And, and you are ultimately responsible for putting this damn thing into a publication. David, I mean David Goldblatt, as you may know, he was, he was the probably the ultimate master of black and white photography. That should have made the book easy to do. But actually, it wasn’t. I’m not sure, Russell Jones of The Scan Shop, I’m still friendly with him today. He did the repro. This was high-end stuff, and David insisted that all the makeup and all the pictures will be done in two colors. In some cases, we even had two blacks. Plus this colour, and I forget the name, but it was a specially made-up ink. It was a kind of greeny-grey. All his, all the pictures were made up in black-black, and this stony grey. It was magnificent in terms of the finish. But of course, managing that on the press was an absolute nightmare. Luckily, you know, David was very dedicated to this book. He colour-passed every single page and section on the press.

Arthur Attwell 32:51
Amazing. So he’s standing there as the paper is coming off the press.

Mike Jason 32:55
Whilst I had a day job, I was with him as well, and sometimes throughout the night. I remember it was done at ABC Press, who did a really good job. I remember it well. I mean, I had a three year old and my wife was pregnant, and David Goldblatt on the other side. He was a hard taskmaster. I mean it, look it was his baby. I mean, it gives me immense pride to have been involved. I mean, I think I may have fallen short of some of his required standards at the time. David was, of course kind enough to acknowledge me in the book, I have a copy at home. But that was high-end stuff, it was high-end stuff. Once in a lifetime, probably that one gets to be involved in a project of that nature. As for going grey, I don’t think I had any hair left after that.

Arthur Attwell 33:55
Mike there’s so much we could have gone into that we haven’t had time to so I hope maybe we can have another conversation that at some stage. I’d love to talk more about binding and finishing, get more into the nerdy detail of the actual printing process whilst standing there at the press, what is happening. Hopefully you and I can chat again on the podcast before too long.

Mike Jason 34:14
Absolutely, I look forward to it. Hopefully by that time not too much has changed and we have to change the story.

Arthur Attwell 34:22
Thanks, Mike.

Mike Jason 34:23
Cheers Arthur. Bye.

Arthur Attwell 34:25
Thank you for listening. Please subscribe, and it would be such a help if it tell a friend about the show. Also, don’t forget to send us your own book-making topics and conundrums at howbooksaremade.com where I’ll also post links to things we talked about today.

Arthur Attwell 34:42
How Books Are Made is supported by Electric Book Works, where my team and I make books, all day, every day in sunny Cape Town, South Africa.