Tag: Ken Jones

digital publishing

The second coming of ebooks

I came away from The London Book Fair 2019 with a resounding feeling of hope (along with the usual sleep deprivation, sore throat and body odour).
 
Digital publishing as a whole and ebooks in general seem to be gaining momentum for a revival, a renaissance. A second coming.

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Public Speaking for Introverts

The business of accessibility: content that is more usable is more valuable

Guests at BookMacine

I have to finally accept that it’s too late to say ‘Happy New Year’, but we’re right on time to say ‘Happy new Unplugged series!’ The 2019 series of BookMachine Unplugged events kicked off on Wednesday 20 February at a new venue, The Century Club, with a focus on the theme of accessibility. BookMachine Editorial Board member Ken Jones, our Production specialist, and his panel Huw Alexander, Stacy Rowe and Alicia Wise provided important insights into why accessibility matters and what we need to be doing about it.

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creative cloud

Happy New CC 2019. Adobe updates its creative cloud software

Ken Jones runs Circular Software. He was Technical Production Manager and Publishing Software Trainer for Penguin and Dorling Kindersley for many years and now offers software, training and advice to publishers such as Parragon, Nosy Crow, Walker Books and Quarto on how to get the best from their print workflow.

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creative cloud

From here to Affinity?

Ken Jones runs Circular Software. He was Technical Production Manager and Publishing Software Trainer for Penguin and Dorling Kindersley for several years and now offers software, training and advice to publishers such as Parragon, Nosy Crow, Walker Books and Quarto on how to get the best from their print workflow.

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creative cloud

CMYK is not a colour

Ken Jones runs Circular Software. He was Technical Production Manager for Penguin and Dorling Kindersley for several years and has since advised publishers such as Parragon, Nosy Crow, Walker Books and Quarto on how to get the best from their print workflow.

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creative cloud

Your 300dpi images may be wrong for two reasons

This is post by Ken Jones – member of the BookMachine Editorial BoardKen specialises in writing workflow applications and offering training and consultancy for publishers on print and digital workflows. Ken’s company Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishers. Contact Ken on twitter @CircularKen on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kenjones or through the website circularsoftware.com 

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book buzz

The first Unplugged event of 2018: Talking Production

Abbie Headon is BookMachine’s Commissioning Editor and runs Abbie Headon Publishing Services. She champions fresh approaches to solving the industry’s challenges and can be found mingling at most publishing events.

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creative cloud

Smart, scalable and responsible print production [Ken Jones interview]

Ken Jones was Technical Production Manager for Penguin and Dorling Kindersley for several years and has since advised publishers such as Parragon, Nosy Crow, Walker Books and Quarto on how to get the best from their print workflow.

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publishing skills

Learn new publishing skills with BookMachine in 2017

After the huge success of Coding for publishers: half-day taster course (with Bibliocloud), BookMachine is back with more training for publishing professionals.

Publishing software expert Ken Jones has years of experience gained training hundreds of creative, production and marketing staff at the UK’s largest and smallest book publishers. He has put together two hands-on training days in Indesign and Photoshop exclusively for BookMachine. You need no previous experience to join in. Each training day is split into two sessions – a beginner level in the morning, followed by an intermediate course in the afternoon. Stay for both sessions to get the most out of the day and lunch included.

“Ken is a great trainer! He combines technical information and pro techniques with an approachable, relaxed and friendly style.” Neil Smith – Neil Smith Illustration

Click on the events tab above to read more about the courses and register. Places are limited. There is a 20% discount code available for BookMachine Members.

If you are waiting on the next Coding for publishers course, we will have 2017 dates soon.

Indesign conference

Ten things we learnt at the InDesign Conference

The InDesign Conference 2016 took place last week in Washington D.C. A three day conference for over 450 InDesign users, experts, consultants, speakers and trainers. Our man Ken Jones was there and reports back.

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The X factor. Adding the X to PDF/X

We all know PDFs. Here we are over a decade and a half into the 21st century and chances are you have probably already read one or more this week and are probably carrying a few around in your pocket right now. Not bad for a file format that originated in 1993!

The longevity of the PDF is down to the fact it still serves a useful purpose. The simple way that PDFs can be created and distributed really does live up to its full name of ‘Portable Document Format’.

PDFs retain the appearance of any designed page. Accurately positioned text, fonts, illustrations and images are embedded inside them so can be reproduced on-screen or in print wherever they go, even when offline. And all at a file size easy to download, email or share – even on the most sluggish connections.

In short, your mum and maybe even your granddad can handle a PDF.

Where the PDF came from

Adobe founders John Warnock and Charles Geschke with Steve Jobs of Apple.
Adobe founders John Warnock and Charles Geschke with Steve Jobs of Apple.

Today Adobe lists 112 different products but back in the early 80s it started building its empire on the PostScript (PS). This was a clever way to package complex print instructions into a single file. But this file could never be visualised until it was printed. Extra tools were needed to let people create, view and edit them and the EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) followed soon after.

EPS was good. But it couldn’t handle much beyond the basics. The PDF was introduced as the replacement and was cleverly built in such a way that it could be developed and expanded upon over the years. Adobe Acrobat is their paid-for tool for creating, checking and manipulating PDFs. It now comes in Standard or Pro versions.

Where the PDF ended up

Each time Adobe brought in new features in Acrobat the version of PDF increased to keep up. PDF1.0 started with Acrobat 1.0 but rather confusingly as the version of Acrobat updated in whole number to 2.0, 3.0 etc. the PDF only updated in points so PDF1.1, PDF1.2 and so on. So in 2001 when Acrobat 5 brought in  transparency the PDF version that first supported transparency was PDF1.4. Simple huh?!

PDF1.7 was the 8th and final version before Adobe generously made PDF an open standard with ISO 32000-1.

A modern-day PDF is more like a folder which, as well as holding page content, can also contain multiple layers, security, interactive forms, embedded audio, video, 3D graphics, annotations and more.

InDesign offers lots of options for creating interactive PDFs.
InDesign offers lots of options for creating interactive PDFs.

Adobe’s vision for the PDF was for use in a ‘paperless office’ concept and I’m told to this day the largest user of PDF is actually the US tax office. The fact that we in the publishing industry latched on to the PDF and now send all files to print as ‘print ready PDF’ was not the reason for its conception.

You can’t print a sound effect

Of all the wonderful things that the later PDF versions expanded to include, many are just not applicable to print and publishing. For example:

  • Security has its place but not when it stops your print supplier opening your files.
  • Layers might be a nice idea but not when they might disappear or you print the wrong ones.
  • Audio and video don’t translate well to inked dots!

And here is the reason that PDF/X is so important…

 PDF/X is a subset and a required list

The X stands for ‘Exchange’ or more completely ‘Blind Exchange’ which is when a system can interpret what it is supplied ‘blindly’ – without the need for human interaction.

Supplying your ad this afternoon for tomorrow’s newspaper as a PDF/X means that it will print without a doubt.

PDF/X is an agreed list of what a PDF must contain and also what it must not contain in order to print.
For example the commonly used PDF/X-1a states:

  • Your PDF MUST contain all fonts.
  • All graphics MUST NOT be RGB.
  • Your PDF MUST contain a colour profile (info on how colours should appear)
  • Your PDF MUST NOT contain transparency.

Plus lots of other rules which are required for successful printing.

Different types of PDF/X

PDF/X started in 2001 and comes in different flavours. The latest version is PDF/X-5 of which, slightly confusingly, there are various types. An early incarnation was PDF/X-1a and that remains suitable more most print jobs but if you really want to know more about the differences check the excellent prepressure.com site for a good list.

InDesign now offers various PDF/X standards to choose from but not PDF/X-5.
InDesign now offers various PDF/X standards to choose from but not PDF/X-5.

Why a PDF/X is your starting point

Using PDF/X correctly avoids 100% of printing errors. Guaranteed.

But the fact that your PDF will print does not automatically mean that it will give you the results you want.

A simple example is image resolution. Printing a low res image is not an error. Recommended resolution will vary with print methods so what may be deemed a low res image in an illustrated book, may be perfectly normal for a newspaper.

There are no rules about image resolution in PDF/X. Think of  using PDF/X as a solid base that you can add other requirements on top of.

How to know whether a PDF is a PDF/X

The good news is you don’t need to know everything PDF/X contains. But if you create or deal with files going to print you should know what PDF/X is and know how to check if a file is a valid PDF/X.

Output using a well made PDF Preset in InDesign will make your PDFs into a perfect PDF/X every time.

Preflighting software such as Adobe Acrobat Pro can also be used to check PDFs against the PDF/X standards and by building PDF/X compliance into the PDF Preflight profiles you use you can achieve a smooth workflow that lets you know all the files you send to print will actually print as expected!

Ken Jones is a publishing software expert with over ten years experience as Technical Production Manager, software trainer and developer at DK and Penguin Group UK. Ken’s company ‘Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishing customers including Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Thames & Hudson and Nosy Crow. Contact Ken via twitter @circularken or www.circularsoftware.com

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.

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