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Re: questions

"Book" at Black Magic Technologies, Inc. asked about a major project

I was going to respond to your query off-list as I didn't want to embarass
myself in front of some very knowledgeable people if I am way off the mark.
But it struck me that perhaps some of the following might be helpful to
others planning less grand but equally complex projects. It has been a
while since I was involved in this kind of planning so my figures are just
"ballpark". You may well get much more accurate information than I can give
but, then again...

The first thing that strikes me is the leather. If the size of the book is
1 by 1.5 feet (with 200 pages of "good" paper -- and I assume you'd want
handmade if you're going to go to the expense of the rest of the project),
you'd need a piece of leather approximately 14 inches wide by 40 inches
long for each book (again, assuming you want one piece of leather wrapped
around front, spine and back covers, which is the proper way to do it.)
Generally, this means one skin per book which you should be able to price
accurately enough through a supplier but roughly would be $150 each.

Similarly, the size of each leaf of paper would be 12 inches by 36 inches.
If you found a sheet 24 x 36 you'd get 2 leaves per sheet, so you'd need 50
sheets per book plus some for "wastage" -- maybe 20 percent -- or 60
sheets. Depending on the paper about $10 each, or $600 per book.

The binding would run about $200 each without the sculpture or the precious
metal (with, it might run $500 each). The CDs you could probably get
"burned" for $10 each; maybe less in quantity.

Typesetting the text (you said reference manual) would cost about $50 per
page (though not all pages might have text). You also mention colour
images: if colour accuracy is important you have to add in good colour
separations. If they are large size (as large as the page?) they might be
$150 to $200 each, including some "proofing".

Printing would be hard to estimate without having a better idea of what you
have in mind. The size of the sheets to be printed will determine to some
extent who could print it. You have a number of options for printing both
the text and the images, and your needs with regard to whether the images
have to appear with certain textual references or whether they could be
grouped separately will help to determine the best printing method.
Depending on the method chosen, the printing costs get amortized over the
number printed (unlike the binding which is hand work). On the other hand,
the paper is a fairly large expense so the more you print, the more it will

Given the rather sketchy nature of your description, and the limited number
of copies involved, I'd hazard a guess that you will have to be your own
publisher, which means footing the bills and trying to sell the finished
product (make sure you factor in advertising costs, cost of borrowed money,
if any, mailing charges, and profit). It's also unlikely -- though possible
-- that you will find one person to handle all the production. If you do,
you will also have to factor in that person's salary (consulting fee)
unless he or she actually does the work, in which case the salary will be
built in to the costs quoted for each part of the work.

I hope these few notes give you a better idea of what's involved in your
dream project. Too bad you can't just make it appear by "black magic".

Good luck,

Richard Miller <rmiller@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild website:

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