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Laser Printing

I am extremely interested in this subject because I am engaged right now in
printing and binding the first book I have ever written and edited myself.
Last Spring, I took a course in Desktop Publishing taught by a person who
has an established national reputation as a letterpress printer. She and I
collaborated several years ago on a small edition of miniatures which she
set up and printed by letterpress and I bound. We both know and can tell
the difference between letterpress, offset lithography and laser printing.

In the class we learned to use the Pagemaker program to design our books
and we printed them on laser printers, one a $5000 color laser printer. The
instructor pointed out that the digital fonts were never as nice as the
type used in letterpress printing. She uses her printer to print layouts
for work before setting it up manually, thereby saving a lot of make-ready

Most of us who want to do a small edition can't afford to have it done
either by letterpress or lithography. We have to rely on our home printers.
I suspect some people are mixing laser printers with inkjet, as is probably
the case with the writer who has a problem with the print smearing and
color rubbing off. A laser print will never smear ... and almost surely no
one has a color laser printer at home because their cost is prohibitive. If
you have a color printer at home, it is in all probability inkjet, not
laser. HP makes the Deskjet (inkjet) series; it also makes laser printers
(black) which have a good reputation. I have a HP2100 1200dpi Laser printer
which I am using to print my book. At first I had feeding problems because
I'm using legal size, short grain, 70 lb text paper. The heat, when running
it at 1200dpi, tends to curl the paper so that the second side  jams.
Letting the paper stack cool off, even letting it absorb some moisture,
helped, but I couldn't afford the time to let it sit overnight. Then I
discovered that I could use the custom setting on the printer, which prints
at 600dpi and uses Resolution Enhancement Technology that produces print
and images hard to distinguish from 1200dpi quality. The fuser doesn't get
so hot and there's no more paper jam problem.

The color work in my book was done on a color laser printer at the local
printshop because I do not trust the permanency of inkjet printing.

Laser printing works best with smooth, uncoated papers. Since the toner is
fused to the surface of the paper, it will wear off on folds. But used on
book pages it is permanent.

I have stated in the colophon that printing was done on a HP2100se Laser
printer. The edition of 25 (if I get that many orders) will be sold as a
fundraiser for my church, so I don't have the ethical problem that Yehuda
Miklaf has in binding laser printed books which might be sold at the higher
cost of letterpress printed ones.

Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org
Mendocino, CA

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