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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 149 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Understanding some printing terminology  (Read 4656 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« on: January 03, 2006, 12:10:46 PM »

Quote
Pick a cover...
—Color Cover, perfect bound, 12pt cover stock, laminated.............. $1.00
aaaaoptional: Interior cover, color or B&W....................................... .50¢
—Color Cover, Laminated, Hardbound/Casebound.......................... $6.00
optional: Interior end sheet printing, color or B&W................... $1.00


Pick a page size and page count...
—8.5”x11” or 6”x9”, 60# offset.................................................. 2¢ a page
—8.5”x11” or 6”x9”, 80# offset.................................................. 3¢ a page
—5.5”x8.5”, 60# offset.......................................................... 1.5¢ a page
—5.5”x8.5”, 60# offset.......................................................... 1.5¢ a page
—Color Interior, 80# offset or 60# offset.................................. 15¢ a page

Let's start here. There are some things I'd like explained, if that's possible:
-What is perfect bound? coil bound? comb bound?
            -Can someone give me examples of these?

-What do 60# and 80# offset mean?

if anyone else has questions to add to this thread, I'd love to know the answers to those too.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 12:22:18 PM »

perfect bound - think of most paperback books you've got, with a glued binding.
coil bound - think of a school notebook with a metal coil up the side.
comb bound - think of a small organization's phonebook (PTA, church directory), with that black plastic piece on the side that goes through square holes along the side of the pages.

60#, 80# - sixty-pound paper, eighty-pound paper.  The higher the number, the heavier the paper.  You'll also want to ask about finish (matte/semigloss/gloss).

offset - offset press, as opposed to a xerox machine or digital duplication; a higher quality print job.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2006, 12:25:36 PM »

By all means keep asking questions, but also take a look at Wikipedia's Bookbinding Entry.  That should explain lots of your options.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2006, 12:26:21 PM »

Joshua beat me to it; I'll repeat the data in my own words for better redundancy.

Perfect bound = pages glued onto the cover. Your typical soft-cover is perfect bound. For example any POD books from hereabouts are likely such, including The Shadow of Yesterday, The Mountain Witch, Elfs and Primetime Adventures, to mention the first few to pop to mind.

Coil bound = separate pages pound with wire. These are a bit rarer, but Jared Sorensen's octaNe and InSpectres used to use this, as well as Fastlane by Alexander Cherry.

Comb bound = similar to the above, but with a comb instead of wire. The main proponent has been Matt Snyder in his Dust Devils and Nine Worlds (which is, however, now available in sweet, sweet perfect bounty). I can't remember others off-hand, but there probably are.

60# and 80# offset - the numbers are paper weights, while offset refers to paper type used by offset printers. I won't go to the weights in depth, because for all I know an American printer could use coconuts as the unit of weight instead of grams per square meter, so I can't say for sure what those numbers signify exactly. If they're grams per square 60 will probably be too little for your average gaming book, which makes me suspect they probably aren't.
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Jennifer Rodgers
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2006, 12:28:16 PM »

Hello. Others have replied already, but I found some images with Yahoo Image Search that should help explain the different bindings.

Coil-bound:
http://www.muro.co.uk/assets/binding/new/plastic_coil/coil_binding_sample.jpg

Perfect-bound:
http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/reprographics/images/perfectBinding.gif

Comb-bound:
http://www.muro.co.uk/assets/binding/new/plastic_comb/plastic_comb_sample.jpg
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Jennifer Rodgers
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2006, 12:34:25 PM »

I won't go to the weights in depth, because for all I know an American printer could use coconuts as the unit of weight instead of grams per square meter, so I can't say for sure what those numbers signify exactly.

It's the weight of a ream of paper at C size -- which is what goes into a big press.  The number is almost useless to people who aren't pressmen.  If you need to compare, take a trip to Office Depot or a local print shop, who should have some samples available for you to feel.
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Veritas Games
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Posts: 171


« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2006, 02:30:48 PM »

If you look on my website at:

http://www.veritasgames.net/

in the Game Design section, there's a bunch of links in the glossary explaining things.  While these guys have pretty much covered the types of binding, if you check the entry for "pound", "basis weight", "GSM" you may get some info.  Also, there's a definition and some links on offset printing in general.

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Lee Valentine
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Veritas Games
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2006, 03:49:53 PM »

Quote

You know, pictures make everything so much easier. Thanks for that.

Okay, next onset of questions -
as far as matte/semigloss and gloss go, what are some examples?

Correct me if I'm wrong - printer paper is matte, my school textbooks are usually semigloss, and the d&d players handbook is gloss?
Is that about correct?


And - what's an example of 60# weight and 80# weight?
Is the average book 60#? Is the d&d core manuals, for example, 80# weight?
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2006, 04:34:57 PM »

There are actually lots of different finish options, but loosely put, you have matte and semigloss right; full gloss would be like a Cosmo magazine.  The thing about finish is that, in addition to making it look 'better' or 'more professional' or whatever, it makes the pages like ten times stronger.  This is why textbooks have a semigloss finish (and a metal wire stitched binding) -- to withstand the depredations of students and backpacks.  For similar reasons I'd like to print with a finish for my own products, but it's pricey.

As far as paper weights go, I really can't reliably give you examples, cause an 'average' book can run anywhere from 20# (your good old family bible) through 80# or even higher.  Additionally, different printings of some books (like the D&D manuals) may be different paper weights.  If you have a package of printer paper handy, it's usually labelled on the paper wrapping so you can at least get one example; a trip to a print shop can supply you with more.
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Chris Passeno
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2006, 01:47:52 PM »

What do 60# and 80# offset mean?
Joshua BishopRoby is correct.  Don't try to understand the weights.  Most people get all blurry-eyed when I explain it.  Just take a trip to a printer and ask to see a paper swatch book.  We don't bite, honest.  If you are a glutton for punishment, I can explain it, but only if someone really wants to know.  Just keep in mind that 60# text is more common in the industry for inside pages.  But some POD printers may offer 20#, which is regular copy paper.  In my opinion, 80# text is a bit overkill for a book, unless you are trying to pad the guts of the book to make a larger spine.

What does Offset mean?
In laymans terms it means that the finish or surface of the paper has a tiny bit of tooth to it.  Unless you are a printer, just think of it as the same surface as regular copy paper.  It also is a little bit sturdier than normal paper.  It was originally termed because printers needed a little tougher paper to send through their "offset" presses multiple times without falling apart.

What does Matte, semi-gloss, and gloss mean?
Just what it says.  I liken it to paint.  Think of the surface of a wall that has gloss paint on it.  Now one that has a matte paint.  All these are called finishes.  When it comes to paper it means that the paper is a coated paper with a surface that matches the description.  It's a different animal than offset and tends to be a bit thinner on equal poundages, so don't compare the two.  For book applications, most pages printed in full color are put on a coated paper, cause it makes the image look snazzier.  More commonly, you hear it used for the Covers of a book.

Seriously, though.  Visit a local printer.  Don't visit a Kinko's, Office Max, or Staples, who tend to have proprietary paper.  They take paper and change the name to thier own brand.

Describing these things is a lot like explaining the color red to a blind person.  You really need to look and feel some papers in order to decide if you like it or not.

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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2006, 02:39:56 PM »

Thanks guys,
I will stop by a printers the next time I'm out of town!
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2006, 06:49:09 AM »

You can buy 28 pound copy paper which is roughly the equivalent of 60# offset paper. I believe the difference is in the size of the paper at that point. 20 or 28 pound copy paper comes in 8.5x11, 8.5x14 and 11x17 sizes. Offset paper is usually 19x26 or 26x32 inches.

Smaller offset presses are sheet fed but larger presses are web fed (ie a big roll of paper - like newspapers) Offset printing is only really economical when done in large numbers. POD books are more likely photocopied. If you want good glossy books offset works. photo copys just aren't that good at shiny.

If you have your game ready to sell first sell it as a PDF. It's a no cost to you way to go. If you want some hard copies you can go to a POD printer and get 10 or 20 made as you need them. Whe you go this route the binding is not as critical.

Comb binding tends to cut your pages up and do not open well over time but is very inexpensive.
Coil binding opens flat and is pretty durable but ugly as sin and hard to sell.
Saddle stapled books are VERY durable and open flat. They don't look too bad and can sell when laid on a table at a con. Much harder to sell to stores though.

Perfect binding looks good but with use the pages start falling out. Stores like selling them, go figure!

You didn't mention sewn books. Smyth sewing makes a durable attractive book - most hardbacks are made this way. Of course hand sewn books are the most durable but who can afford them?

At this point I've effectively set up a small printing business. I've got a Smyth National Sewing machine and a thousand pound paper cutter. I do short run sewn hardback books so that binding method is not out of reach of gamers (it really only costs me 25 cents more in materials to make a hardback over a paperback).

What you need to be mindful of is giving the printer enough margin around you text block for trimming. I had to reduce a book I'm now working on because of that.

If you ever have any questions about printing I'd be glad to help.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games



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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
Chris Passeno
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Print Geek


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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2006, 04:31:47 AM »

20# = 50#
24# = 60#
28# = 70#
32# = 80#

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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2006, 06:55:50 AM »

Interesting, I didn't know these correlates. I know 28 lb paper does run through computer printers well and feels nice and thick, where as 24 lb paper just doesn't feel thick enough. There is an odd psychologocal piece, cross the threshold and something seems more real.

20 lb copy paper is actually quite good. Most is not acidic, so it doesn't deteriorate like Science Fiction paperbacks do. Sad it doesn't have the same umph as heavier paper.

Chris Engle
Hamste Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
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