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Another stage in the making of an illustrated book (Playbook Farm)

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I’ve written about physical books, and the importance of the choice of format in this blog post and I have written about the importance of building a co-edition run in this blog post.

What you can see in this picture is Giselle, the designer of the book; Imogen, who’s managing the physical production of the book; and Tom, who was just interested (and fair enough), looking at the huge “Epson proofs” for Playbook Farm by Corina Fletcher and Britta Teckentrup, a big novelty book project for us which comes out in October of this year.

Here’s a picture of what we expect the whole thing to look like when it’s folded out (it’s a book that folds out into a playmat):

We have so far sold rights in this project to the US, France, Italy, Spain (in Catalan and Spanish), Holland, Greece and Sweden, and we have an initial print run of many, many tens of thousands of copies. As I described in the second blog post mentioned in the first paragraph, the Spanish publisher, for example, wants 12,000 copies in Spanish and 3,500 copies in Catalan. So we will print the pictures on all of their copies book together with all the other copies, and then take 12,000 of them and print the publisher’s Spanish text onto them and 3,500 of them and print the Spanish publisher’s Catalan text onto them.

There’s another print run already planned for 2013.

We use the Epson proofs to check on the colour. Because the illustrator, Britta Teckentrup, creates her artwork on screen, it’s important to check how the colours are working, and, in the case of this project, the colours have already gone through some changes, as this comparison of a spread from the first (on the left) and the second (on the right) proofs of the book indicates.

You can see the windmill’s sails in the far right-hand corner of the Epson proofs.

So the two previous sets of proofs were used (a) to check that the paper engineering worked and (b) to sell the project to co-edition partners. They were, as you see from the pictures, made up into something that looked like the finished books. We won’t do that with the Epson proofs. Instead, the printers will use the Epson proofs to check that the finished sheets are true to the illustrator’s and our intentions in terms of colour.

You can cut corners on colour printing,and even leave whole stages out of the proofing and checking process, but we don’t. Besides, this is a huge print run, and it matters hugely to us and to our co-edition publishers that this book is as good as it can be.

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