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Re: Bad luck?
I whole-heartedly agree with Cathy Atwood and her description of her
run-in with the result of shoddy binding practices, but having visited
http://www.tshore.com/ recently (its a printing/binding plant somewhere
in the US) I have learned that in the "Hot Melt" process, which my faulty
book and Ms. Atwood's faulty were produced via, a machine can never
gauge what the human eye can, and in so saying let me add that if someone
doesn't check their work (and by this I mean the individual pressman,
folder, binder) then an entire run of books can be assembled erroneously, and
this seems to be the case that Ms. Atwood encountered. Mine however would
appear to be the result of a fluke or "hic-up" in the folding process,
one sheet gone dreadfully awry.
That said, what is really lacking in the dilemma that Ms. Atwood
and I faced is the fact that no quality control personnel were employed,
or they were on their break, when my/her book(s) came off the line. Now
seeing that Ballantine is a big publisher and they probably do their own
printing/binding, one would think (price::cost) that if a book can be
produced at one fifth its cover price, why oh why can't they (the press)
ensure quality control when four fifths are being realized as profit?
To line the coffers of the corporate big-wigs probably (I mean do you
think Ruppert Murdock cares about quality control?) Therefore what can
be done to improve the rapid hot melt process? As a novice binder who
loves to sew, I say, chuck it! but practicality intervenes to say
that ALL a PRESS need do is to assert a little pride in their work by
employing QA inspectors at the start and finish of each step, and it
really does seem to me that the personnel already doing the job at the
front and end of the process can be a QA person in addition to their
regular duties, because all that's really needed is for people to check
on what the machine has done, because we all should know by now that
machines, even the most sophisticated, aren't infalible, and neither is
the Pope, so if "man" and machine can't coordinate their efforts to
create a product they can be proud of, then the industrial/automated
age will have ground to a halt, and that doesn't seem likely.
There shouldn't be any "monday" or "friday" presumption, if a
crafts-person/worker has pride in what they are doing/producing then
if they aren't doing their best possible job they should be re-evaluated
and let someone willing to give her/his all (and it doesn't have to be the
proverbial 110% either) do the job, and do it right and with pride.
That's all I ask, that the industry become conscious of what they are
doing and to stop wasting resources by producing lousy, un-readable
books, because they only go into the heap, maybe to be recycled, but
probably to burn or rot away in a dump or incinerator.
The book that cannot be read suffers ignominiously when it is
deemed "sub-standard" because of some assembly error, for ultimately
I am reminded of the "island of misfit toys" from Rankin/Bass' of
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and as hokey as it might sound,
I cry everytime I see that part of the show because I too know what its
like to be deemed a "misfit." So my heart cries out that everybook
that is printed and bound should be read-able and should be read, and
no book should be so poorly made so as to call it a misfit!
Cheers all! and Thanks for your support!
Rommel John Miller