Category: Production

The Production Channel

Supported by Typefi

ARTWORKING AND TYPESETTING   |  OPERATIONS   |  EBOOK & DIGITAL PRODUCTION |  WORKFLOW TOOLS


[adrotate group=”9″]


Operations Co-ordinator [JOB POSTING]

Job Title: Operations Co-ordinator

Job Location: London, UK

Nosy Crow is a small (but growing), multi-award-winning, independent children’s publishing company and our Operations team is expanding.

The Role:

You’ll be responsible for the logistics of our titles – from factory floor to final warehouse and customer delivery – and work closely with our Sales team to ensure any special fulfilment requirements are met.

You’ll be the first point of contact for our Australian distributor, supplying material, communicating schedules, and processing all incoming orders.

You’ll also be responsible for a whole range of other tasks – the role is varied!

You’ll be calm, can-do and above all organised with excellent Excel and strong numeracy. Ideally we’d like you to have some experience of providing administrative support, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in children’s publishing, but it is important to us that you have a strong interest in what we do. You’ll have the right to live and work in the UK.

The role is full-time and based in our crowded, but lively office in Borough.

To apply please send your CV and a covering letter to Imogen Blundell (imogen@nosycrow.com). The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 14th August and first interviews will take place on 23rd and 25th August.

Origins of the interactive book

Digital formats provide a wealth of opportunity to experiment with, and push the boundaries of, the traditional book. With much focus on what this can do to engage children in reading, here Jana Sukenikova takes a look at the origins of the interactive children’s book and why she used monsters as the topic of her most recent design project.

Monsters became very popular in this century, from Vampires to Werewolves to Dragons, Skeletons and many, many different kinds. When I was conducting research for my recent project, I was disappointed by the selection of books on the topic of monsters in the town library. Badly chosen fonts were fighting with weak and inappropriate illustrations, with everything looking ‘glued’ together rather than being well-designed. I passionately wanted to change this situation – by making a special monster book!

Book of Spooks and Jelly Monster
Book of Spooks and Jelly Monster

How monsters were born

This project was born from a coincidence when I was babysitting my little cousin. While we were draw­ing together I asked her “How do you imagine Monsters?“ I realised that her imagination of monsters is completely different to mine when I was her age. So I decided to put together a book, which will show adults and all children a completely new approach to a world of spooks.

I asked children in the local nursery school for help and the results were awesome! They produced around 100 illustrations to get started with and a third of these were bedsheet ghosts.

Skeleton by Simeon Vartik, and my illustration
Skeleton by Simeon Vartik, and my illustration

Make a toy from your book

Backgrounds, monsters and stories become a living, breathing thing by adding interactive elements. Interactive elements are the inspiration be­hind many of the books I found while researching. My Book is filled with pop-up monsters, stickers, monsters based on dress-up dolls, foils, mechanical parts, embossed illustrations, monsters base on coloring books etc.

POP-UP elements

Two dimensional objects are changed to 3D objects by folding paper mechanisms. These plastic models were used for the first time in the mid-19th century, when London publishing companies Dean & Son and Darton & Co added 3D parts into well known 2D scenes. Success came almost immediately. Pioneer of the best Pop Up books was the German illustrator and writer Lothar Meggendörfer (1847–1925) Some of his most famous books include Dolls House and Grand Cirque International.

set_3
Lothar Meggendörfer: Doll ?s House
Pop-Up HydraDragon from Books of Spooks
Pop-Up HydraDragon from Books of Spooks

Pieces of cardboard with interchangeable fashion costumes were popular in the rich classes for both men and women in Europe and America in the late 18th century.

The first manufactured paper doll was Little Fanny, produced by S & J Fuller in London 1810. Before Barbie doll was introduced to the world, paper dolls had a significant role in the lives of children.

Tom Tierney’s Paper Dolls
Depressive Monster from Book of Spooks

Moving Parts

In mid-1700 in France “Pantins” dolls were developed to rise against french upper class and royal courts. „Jumping Jacks“ figures were something between a marionette and Paper Doll and they were made to taunt society. Jack developed into a paper element in the books for children, where the base is an illustration and the body parts and head are movable with the help of rivets.

Vintage Jumping Jack
Vintage Jumping Jack
Hugging Monster from Book of Spooks
Hugging Monster from Book of Spooks

There are many ways to make a book more attractive and engaging for children or adults (both in print and digital). Just go to the library and have a look, you will find plenty of inspiration for your next print or digital project.

set_9

fanah shapeless janaJana Sukenikova aka Fanah Shapeless is a multi-disciplined graphic designer specialising in Book Design, Layout, Brand identity, Print and Digital Design, Boardgames, Illustrations. Check out more of her work here.

fonts

Typographic trends: Discover which fonts creatives love, and hate…

“I love fonts!” We hear it all the time. It’s common for creative professionals to obsess over their tools, and fonts are critical to any project that includes text.

At Extensis, we are font nerds ourselves, and I wear mine with a badge of honor.

Having worked with creative professionals for over 14 years, I love probing and discovering what creative pros are thinking. What do they love? What do they hate? What’s currently hot and what’s not…? So I decided to do something about it and surveyed them! It’s worth a read. Trust us.

More than 1,900 people responded, 57% were graphic designers by trade and most have been in their respective careers for over 25 years. If we wanted to find out which type styles are trending right now, where designers go to find new fonts and where all of this is headed, we sure got a good sample.

Most loved and most hated fonts

If you’ve been following recent design at all, it’s not surprising to discover that Slab Serifs came out on top as one of the most loved styles (30%).

On the other hand, Art Nouveau styles don’t seem to share the same enthusiasm, listed as the least favourite font style and registering the higher overall negative feeling among respondent (52%).

font 1 font 2

Free-flowing thoughts

It’s interesting to notice that professionals can have disparate reactions to the same typeface. Some expressed their unconditional love:

“These are great, and I have a feeling they will move into the field of classic fonts.”

Comment on: Museo Slab, by Jos Buivenga of exljbris

While others, absolute feelings of hate:

“Oh PLEASE destroy all of these. I cannot wait for the chalkboard phase to be over. It’s so overused and it’s rarely done well.”

Comment on: Chalkboard typefaces

Overall, each style will work differently for everyone, and will be dependent on the project at hand. And, whether you love them, hate them, aren’t so sure or “think it might work in some situations”, fonts “are to the designer as paints to the painter” (as I like to say).

Check out the entire breadth of research by downloading the report here. Share your font love, type hate, or general design obsessions below. We’d love to hear it.

JIM_7208_5xAs a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.

Startup Snapshot: Book Sprints

book sprintsAdam Hyde is the founder of the Book Sprints methodology, Co-Founder of the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, and a current Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. He also founded FLOSS Manuals, Booktype, Objavi, Lexicon, BookJS and PubSweet.

1. What exactly is Book Sprints?

Book Sprints, Ltd, is a team of facilitators, book-production professionals, and illustrators specialized in Book Sprint facilitation and rapid book production. Our organization developed the original methodology and has refined it since 2008 through the facilitation of more than 100 Book Sprints, in which a book is planned, written, and produced in five days or less. Topics have ranged from corporate documentation to industry guides, government policies, technical documentation, white papers, academic research papers, and activist manuals.

2. What problem does it solve?

A Book Sprint is a collaborative process where a book is produced from the ground up in just five days. But even more important, this collaborative process captures the knowledge of a group of subject-matter experts in a manner that would be nearly impossible using traditional processes. The result at the end of the Book Sprint is a high-quality finished book in digital and print-ready formats, ready for distribution.

3. Who is your target market?

Anyone that needs a book, fast! Having said that we seem to catch on very well with the Corporate Documentation sector and large NGOs who need to produce field guides and white papers. We have also produced a wide variety of books from OER textbooks, to fiction, to research outputs, as well as primary materials for PHD dissertations.

4. What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We would hope more people would come to understand that Book Sprints is not just about producing books quickly; it’s about immersive collaboration, learning from your peers, creating fast bonds with them, and building consensus and a common vision.

5. What will be next for Book Sprints?

We have Book Sprints coming up soon with organizations like the World Bank, the U.S. Energy Association, Cisco, and F5. And we are in discussions about several education-related projects–a sector we are anxious to do more work in.

Adam Hyde has also worked with and advised Safari Books Online, PLoS, the World Bank, Google Summer of Code, University of California Press, Liturgical Press, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Cisco, F5, Cryptoparty, OpenStack, Open Oil, Sourcefabric, GIZ, USAID, Mozilla and the EC amongst others. For more information please see: http://www.adamhyde.net/projects/

book sprints

Startup snapshot: Exact Editions

exact editionsHaving spent the past decade turning complex consumer magazines into their precise digital doppelgangers, Exact Editions launched their new digital books service in May. Here we interviewed Adam Hodgkin, Chairman and Co-Founder of Exact Editions

1) What exactly is Exact Editions?

Exact Editions is a platform for publishing and licensing content on the web and through apps to individuals and institutions. Exact Editions helps publishers by delivering services which generate subscriptions.

2) What problem does it solve?

Exact Editions 2The Exact Editions platform ensures that digital publications look exactly the same as their print sisters; and it does this in a way which is efficient for searching and sharing.

Exact Editions uses PDF files to build a database for each publication on the platform. The service delivers a solution that looks exactly like the book or magazine in print, but it is an access solution not a file delivery protocol. So the access management side of the business is at least as important as the content management side.

We also provide customer support and statistics to our users since cross-platform solutions for users that range in size from the largest universities to the private individual will, from time to time, present new questions.

3) Who is your target market?

Exact Editions 3Exact Editions launched by focusing on the consumer magazine space and selling subscriptions direct to consumers and through app stores. We were among the first magazine solutions to deliver apps for the iPhone and then for the iPad. Never neglecting our roots in the web.

In the last 5 years a growing sector for us is the university, college and library market. Also selling site licenses for corporates.

Exact Editions is unusual among digital magazine solutions in providing access to complete archives (we work with magazines that have archives that stretch back to the 19th century). A concern with archives leads us to support the librarians’ requirement for perpetual access.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

Exact EditionsOnce Exact Editions was selling some magazines for perpetual access, it was clear that there is demand for a similar service for books. The Exact Editions platform works well for book publishers that have complex and rich page designs that are poorly served by the most commonly used ebook file formats. But equally important the Exact Editions service offers publishers the opportunity to sell books with a perpetual access to institutions that need to have a multi-user, site license for the campus or organisation.

We launched our book service three weeks ago and it seems that the multi-user, site license access management that we provide for book publishers is an important offering. Book publishers also get to set the price level for their individual titles on the Exact Editions platform, and they have ownership of their subscriber lists.

5) What will be next for Exact Editions?

Exact Editions is a platform, not a publisher, so we are keen to work with as many publishers as can use our services. We are primarily aimed at the library and institutional market, at this point mainly universities and colleges, but we can already see that there is a good market among schools and corporates for many of the books and magazines which are using our platform. Opening up these broader markets is on our wish list. We also have some very successful French magazines and we would like to add books and magazines from all the major European languages.

What’s your flavour?: Selecting the right XML for your content

This is a guest post from Emily Gibson and Nic Gibson. They are both directors of Corbas Consulting Ltd and each have over 20 years’ publishing experience, mostly in editorial, print and digital production.

Chocolate, vanilla, matcha and strawberry ice cream in the cone on old rustic wooden vintage background.

The other day we were contacted by a client who was really excited about the new digital publishing process they were putting into place, and they wanted some help getting things right. They had bought a database and needed to get their Word documents into the XML language that their database needed. However, the ‘flavour’ of XML that they had chosen wasn’t going to support the content that they were producing. That means that they aren’t going to get the best results and full value from their workflow system.

You see, publishing with XML is not just a matter of deciding to ‘have an XML workflow’. (For a basic description for editors, see, for example, this one in The Chicago Manual of Style.) There are many different ‘flavours’ of XML and you need to pick the one that fits your needs. These needs are defined by the type of content you are publishing and your workflow.

A well styled Word document, for example, can be transformed into a decent XML file. Once you have an XML file, you could simply apply scripts to it to create your output (PDF, HTML for your website, EPUB) – if you have a Word document for your novel, for example, that had Word Styles consistently applied, you can simply run a program to get whatever output you need.

On the other hand, if you have a bunch of journal articles, you could save the files into an XML-aware database and apply those scripts to all your content at once to produce a collection. Whichever system you choose is partly driven by the degree of automation that fits your publishing needs. If you are publishing fifteen monographs a year, there’s not a lot of benefit to an all-singing and all-dancing XML database. If you are publishing several hundred articles a year then there are some big benefits.

The first step is to decide how you are going to go from manuscript to XML and then you need to decide what systems you are going to use to manipulate and transform it.

You need to think about both the structure and the content of your manuscripts when you decide on which flavour of XML you are going to choose. The different flavours of XML are very different in their structure and their expressiveness. The only thing you can be fairly sure of is that there is already one which will meet most of your needs (you don’t need to write it from scratch).

There are different tag sets (the set of elements in an XML language, a.k.a. what’s inside the pointy brackets) that suit different kinds of content, and there are different tools to suit them, too. In the same way that ice cream and sausages are both delicious, but you wouldn’t want them together, not every flavour of XML goes with every kind of content.

Match the content you publish with the appropriate XML language. For example:

Simple Narrative
Pedagogical
Legal
Encyclopedic
Journals

If your content doesn’t have specialised semantics (e.g. legal, programming), the XML variant of HTML5, XHTML (as used in EPUB) is perfectly suitable for a lot of narrative (e.g. novels) and monograph material for EPUB, print and web outputs. The XML variant of HTML5 has the advantage of a smaller, simpler tag set, which makes it easier to work with for simpler content.

XML can help publishers tackle managerial as well as technical challenges. It provides ways to manage the workflow, the interaction between content and people, and the publishing processes, as well as the documents themselves. The features of XML ensure that information and its structure can be controlled and managed.

It can be a complex topic, but many publishing professionals find that knowing about XML – even if they don’t use it every day – is immensely useful. There are a number of places that you can learn about XML, but the XML Summer School, held each year in September, is the best and most comprehensive. It presents a range of XML techniques and applications in workflow, change management, QA, linked data, and document structure control to help publishers manage their content effectively.

The Hands-on Digital Publishing course provides hands-on material and helpful contacts in the world of publishing and XML. This course is chaired by Peter Flynn and taught by Nic GibsonNorm WalshTomos Hillman, and Tony Graham.

For more information, see: http://xmlsummerschool.com/curriculum-2016/xml-in-publishing-2016/

typesetting

Learning from Snapshots III: 8 typesetting tips for beginners

BookMachine have been busy with the next blook in the Snapshots series, Snapshots III, BookMachine on Publishing: The Next 5 Years. For the third year in a row, we’ve teamed up with Kingston University Press who have appointed a production team of students from Kingston’s Publishing MA course to design, typeset and proofread a selection of our best posts. Here Dania Zara, who designed and typeset the book, shares her top tips for beginners.

1) Get your master pages ready

Well laid out master pages will save you a lot of time. If your book contains multiple layouts that are to be used repeatedly, create a master page for each layout for easy application and to ensure consistency.

2) Plan your hierarchy

Evaluate the text and create a visual hierarchy that represents its structure. Possibilities are endless, from the standard bold and italic to changing the colour or font. It is advisable that each level of the hierarchy should be indicated by no more than three formatting styles.

Pro tip: Always remember to start with the longest heading or the longest title.

3) Create styles for formatting

To facilitate efficiency and consistency, create proper styles for headings, body text and their variations, instead of manual formatting. It will also make exporting the file to an ePub much easier.

4) Let the text breathe

Work with the line length, leading and tracking to assist readability and create a pleasing design. It is preferable to have no less than 40 and no more than 70 characters on a line. Experiment with type size and leading to get the combination that suits your publication. A common guideline for body text is that the leading should be 115% or 120% of the point size.

5) Don’t use the space bar to create that indent!

Not only will your indents be inconsistent but, if you plan on exporting your file into an ePub, things will get messy. Create indents using the paragraph settings. Similarly, page breaks should be made by inserting a page break character.

It is also useful to display hidden characters (Type> Show Hidden Characters). It will show those indents made by space bars that need to be replaced by proper formatting.

6) Orphans and widows will make you beg for mercy

It took me an hour to typeset a spread with three levels of headings, images and a widow that refused to be resolved. It made me realise typesetting can only be enjoyed (and endured) by those who love the nitty gritty of typography.

In my opinion, adjusting widows and orphans takes a bit of creative problem solving and depends on your layout. It can be done by: modifying the leading, kerning or tracking; fine-tuning the justification and hyphenation settings; sometimes removing a word can do the trick.

7) Proofread blind and against the manuscript after typesetting

You’d be surprised how many mistakes get through the cracks. Typesetting can make you blind to the text since you’re focusing on the format and style. If you’re working solo on a project, it is advisable to either get someone else to do it or take a break and return to the text with fresh eyes.

8) Books have odd pages on the right

I did not know that until a few months ago. Never even noticed it.

Grab your free ticket for the launch of Snapshots III here. For tips on editorial process, read this: Blook your blog: How to turn your blog posts into a book.

Dania Zafar is a MA Publishing student at Kingston University. She’s also a graphic designer and was a part of the BookMachine’s Snapshots III production team. Her mission is to create inter-cultural dialogue and promote cultural understanding through publishing.

indexes

The lost art of indexes in ebooks

When was the last time you used an index in an ebook? Maybe the better question is this: Have you ever used an index in an ebook? One of the challenges here is that most ebooks don’t have indexes, the result of the misguided notion that text search is a better solution.

Every so often I come across an ebook with an index. More often than not it’s just the print index at the end of the book, sometimes with nothing more than the physical page references that offer almost no value in a reflowable e-format.

Fiction represents a large chunk of ebook sales and those books generally don’t benefit from an index. The same is true for some types of non-fiction books. But for pure reference guides, in-depth how-to’s and other works, an index can be pretty useful.

If you’re relying exclusively on text search in an ebook you have to know exactly what you’re looking for. More importantly, why do we settle for such a lame text search solution when we’re spoiled every day with powerful, relevance-ranked search tools like Google?

When you search for a phrase in an ebook the results are shown in chronological order. You see all the occurrences from the beginning of the book to the end. Imagine if Google worked that way. So when you type in a phrase Google tells you the first (oldest) site to use that phrase, then the next oldest site that used it, etc. Users would laugh and reject it, yet that’s exactly what we’re forced to accept in ebook search.

What I really want is relevance-based results. Show me the location in the book with the highest density of that phrase and prioritize occurrences of it in a heading over occurrences in body text. I’m sure there are other attributes that could be rolled into an effective ebook search algorithm but I’ll take just those two features for starters.

The other problem with relying on search instead of an index is that you lose the benefit of synonyms and related terms. An indexer takes all that into consideration so you’re much more likely to find everything you’re looking for with a good index than a simple text search.

I’m not lobbying for back-of-book indexes in ebooks like they appear in print books. That’s another aspect that needs to change when you go digital. I want to see index functionality right there on the page I’m reading. The trick here is to offer it in a manner that’s not disruptive for the reader.

Remember that article I wrote a few weeks ago with the video showing a vision for auto-enriched ebooks? The same UI approach described there could be used here. The content is initially presented in as clean a manner as ebooks are today. But when you tap the screen on your tablet all the phrases that are indexed magically change colour or are denoted with some other UI effect (e.g., underline). Just tap the phrase you’re interested in and a pop-up appears with relevance-ranked index results. These would be presented in a scrollable list with each entry having a preview of the text from that location in the ebook. Make it easy for me to bookmark those entries right in the pop-up. The net result is a way to quickly and easily access a smarter index without having to leave your current location.

This feature doesn’t exist today because we’re still stuck in the print-under-glass era of ebooks. I’m optimistic that one or two of the popular reading applications will eventually add such a capability though and help us get beyond today’s model where we’re consuming so much dumb content on all these smart devices.

 

Joe WikertJoe Wikert is director of strategy and business development at Olive Software. This post was originally published on his blog, ‘Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies‘, where he writes opinion pieces on the rich content future of publishing.

Why design matters: a photo/twitter blog

On Wednesday night EMC Design kicked off their 25th birthday celebrations in style by partnering with BookMachine to host our event ‘Why design matters: collaborating with your design team’. Our speakers for the night were David Pearson (cover designer behind some of Penguin’s most beautifully designed covers), Dan Franklin (digital publisher at Penguin Random House UK) and Ken Jones (founder of Circular Software).

Here’s a round up of this sell-out night through tweets and pics:

Head over to our Facebook page for more photos of the event.

Reading aloud: merging audio and text just got a lot easier

You may know that the modern EPUB3 standard has an inbuilt ability to hold audio and video, but one of the most intriguing aspects of EPUB3 that you may have overlooked is ‘Read-aloud’. This technique, sometimes called ‘media overlays’, combines a spoken audio track with accurate timing information usually used to highlight words on the page in time with the spoken audio.

Continue reading

On outsourcing and adapting to changes in Academic publishing

To celebrate Academic Book Week, we’re running a series of posts on Academic Publishing. This is a guest post by Zeba Talkhani who works for production and editorial project management agency, Out of House Publishing. Out of House help publishers produce the best possible print and digital content in the education and academic market, and was set up to fill the gap in the industry by providing effective production assistance to busy publishers.

Continue reading

Books Production Manager in Hertfordshire [JOB POSTING]

Are you an experienced and pro-active Books Production professional, looking for a different challenge, more responsibility and the opportunity to manage a small production team (2-3 in total)?  Would you like the opportunity to work in a not so traditional production environment, and be involved in technical/digital and some traditional production processes?

Continue reading

membership economy

Picturing the future of the book

This is a guest post from Alison Jones. Alison is a business and executive coach, content consultant and publisher. After a 23-year career in trade and scholarly publishing working with major publishers such as Oxford University Press and Macmillan, during which she pioneered digital publishing, she set up Alison Jones Business Services and the Practical Inspiration Publishing imprint in 2014.

Taking a picture with a camera used to be a tightly constrained process. Only the photographer, with the benefit of the viewfinder, could see what it might look like. Once the shutter clicked the picture was taken, for better or worse, and when it was developed and printed – and there was a cost, an entire industry associated with that process – the act of creation was complete. At that point it entered the pre-internet social ecosystem – tucked into a proud granny’s purse to show to strangers on a bus, framed on a mantelpiece, sent off to distant relatives, archived in an album, duplicated, enlarged maybe, but ultimately always defined by its physical constraints.

Continue reading

XML

Five things they know about XML that you don’t

This is a guest post from Emily and Nic Gibson. They are both directors of Corbas Consulting Ltd and each have over 15 years’ publishing experience, mostly in editorial, print and digital production.

XML
Credit: Thinkstock/BrAt_PiKaChU

Knowledge is everything they say. To help you get ahead, here are the five things they know about XML that you don’t.

1. You are using XML every day

Continue reading

ONIX

How to create a catalogue automatically using ONIX and InDesign

This is a guest post from Emma Barnes. Emma is co-founder of General Products, and indie publisher Snowbooks. General Products is the company behind FutureBook-award-winning Bibliocloud, the web-based all-in-one publishing management system.

Did you go into publishing so that you could spend your days copying and pasting ever-changing metadata from spreadsheets, emails and databases into InDesign? You did? Great. No need to read on.

Continue reading

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox

Account


+44 207 183 2399

Incubation at Ravensbourne | 6 Penrose Way | Greenwich Peninsula | SE10 0EW

© 2019 BookMachine We love your books