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Re: Laser printer/paper question

I had a similar problem last year when I was commissioned to make a
one-off leather bound copy of an autobiography (with photos). The
text was supplied on computer disc and photos had to be scanned and
embedded in the text.

After spending much time looking at alternatives I concluded that
laser printing was the only economically viable method for producing
a single copy text. It also had the advantage of being able to easily
recreate one or all of the pages if necessary at a later date.

I agreed with the client that it would have to be in A5 format
(approx  8 x 6 inches) so that I could print on A4 paper which would
be folded folio, 4 at a time, to make the signatures. If you are
intending to use sewn signatures for your book you will need to bear
in mind that the paper will be at least twice the size of the
finished text block. This means that any size larger than A3 will
make it difficult (and very very expensive) to obtain a suitable

You may also need to print on both sides of each sheet (I did). This
will require either a printer with a "duplex" capability or a manual
process of printing one side then re-feeding the sheets to print
again the other side. I used the latter (manual) process which, while
successful, caused me not a little stress during the procedure.

You also need to keep in mind the grain direction of the paper so
that it runs parallel to the spine on the finished book.

After editing, correcting, spell checking etc using word processing
software, I was then faced with the problem of embedding the scanned
images and imposition (ie getting the correct pages on the correct
bit of paper so that they were in sequence after making up the
signatures). With more than 200 pages to deal with, the imposition
had to be automated. I solved this by using Adobe Pagemaker software
and a steep learning curve!

The small business I run was considering the purchase of a new
desktop laser printer so we ended up with one that could print the
book I was working on at 1200 dpi using Adobe Postscript
format. The printer is a HP Laserjet 4000 and is an excellent
machine for A4 or smaller.

I used Archival Text for the paper (guaranteed for 500 years
apparently but whose going to claim if it only lasts 400?). It is a
smooth, 85gsm paper with a cream colour and worked really well in the
laser printer. The end results were very good and the client was
happy - but I did spend all the fee on the printer!

I can't help with the watercolour issues but hope some of the above
will be of use.

Ken Dallaston

Maxlink Media Services
4/11 Kenworth Place
Brendale Q4500
Phone:  07 3889 6800
Fax:    07 3889 6800
Mobile: 019 622 167

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