This post was written by our intern, Alice, who recently joined Sarah and Flo on a trip to one of our printers, CPI, to learn more about the publishing industry as a whole.
Last week Sarah, Flo and I met at the train station, ready for a day trip to one of our printers, CPI. We got the train to Chippenham, so the journey wasn’t too long, and were kindly collected from the station by James, who Channel View has been working with for about 10 years. James drove us over to CPI’s Melksham factory, which is one of 17 factories spread over 7 different countries.
Firstly, we sat down for a brief overview of the printing process and how their printers work. It was great to get a detailed description of the difference between printers and James showed us examples of what they can do, as well as giving us a mini presentation. After tea and a chat, we left the office to see first-hand what goes on in the factory. We began our tour with the plain paper rolls, ready to go – these are huge and fill a large portion of the first factory room, so we were very surprised when James told us how quickly they get through them! The rolls are then set up on the printer, which they go through at an overwhelming speed. The inkjet machine prints an entire book at a time, one after the other, on the roll. Once the paper has the text printed on it, it is then folded into its book form. It was amazing seeing how precise and fast the machines were – little need for human hands! The books are then glued and bound, before being trimmed to size. If it is a hardback book, it then carries on to a final stage where the cover is added and, if necessary, a jacket is added as well. It was all very exciting – thanks to everyone in the factory for letting us be nosy!
After the grand tour, we collected our account manager, Katie, from the office. We then all drove to Lacock, an amazing village owned by the National Trust, where we had a wonderful lunch and more of a catch up. There was just time for an ice cream (it was a very hot day!) before heading back to Bristol. It was overall a great trip and so interesting to get an insight into the journey our books go on before they arrive at the office.
One of our printers, Exeter-based Short Run Press, explains here how the printing industry has changed to meet the demands of customers.
How has the industry changed since we began producing books for Channel View Publications? The first things that spring to mind are technology and the environment.
The printing industry has undergone a revolution in technological advances over the past years. Rather than being a threat to book printing we have been perfectly suited to take advantage of technology. The internet and mobile communications have allowed for speed of communication and document delivery. Digital printing technology enables us to offer the option to print a book which may traditionally have been rejected as uneconomic and we now can keep a book in print through a minimal reprint. The whole process from manuscript to bound book has now been condensed in both time and procedures involved to allow a far more reactive and fluid publishing industry.
We at Short Run Press want to ensure that alongside technology, skills and craft are kept within our industry. For example we combine the latest workflow processes with the skill of sewing a book block prior to binding. We firmly believe that books reflect on both the printer and the publisher and should be considered a valuable and quality product by the reader.
Environmental issues have been at the forefront of our agenda and over the years Short Run Press have been implementing many changes. From recycling our waste to sourcing goods from local suppliers we try to make as little environmental impact as possible. We use J&G Environmental, the industry specialist, to process waste we produce, our digital press is Carbon Neutral, our printing plates are made without using chemicals and the inks we print with are vegetable based. As an FSC and PEFC accredited business we ensure that all paper purchased has direct traceability back to the forest it was harvested. All the paper used to produce Channel View Publications books has been from sustainable sources, of which for every tree logged for the paper industry three are planted.
Taking a step back to consider what has changed since we began working with Channel View Publications we realise an awful lot has changed, though the one constant is that we have been continually evolving to meet their needs.