24/32

fountain923

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Do all picture books have to be either 24 or32 pp.? Are any traditional publishers freer with this?

Also, some presses state that it must be 24/32 --"story". What does that mean? Does it mean those page numbers apply to the "meat" (sorry vegetarians) of the book. I had read somewhere that these page amounts INCLUDE all the filler pages as well. Does it mean only "stories" as opposed to poem picture books?
 

ChaseJxyz

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How a book (or newspaper, or magazine) is made is:
  1. A giant roll of paper (like you see in a receipt printer) gets printed on both sides
  2. The giant roll is cut into giant sheets
  3. The giant sheets are folded over into a stack of, like, 8 or 16 "pages" thick (you fold it in "half" 3 or 4 times)
  4. These folded-over things are attached to each other (with thread, glue, staples etc)
  5. This big thick thing has the edges cut
  6. Whatever the hell for the cover/outer binding happens. So this is the "end papers" (the colored paper connected to the hard part of the hard cover), the cover, maybe a little ribbon to keep your place, and/or the dust jacket
Please pay attention to steps 3 and 5. Now...how would you make a book with 15 pages? or 9? Or 33? Keep in mind that ALL* books are made, at-scale, in factories, on presses and equipment that are standard sizes. Making a book that is longer is easy, just have more stacks of things. Having a book that is shorter than 8 or 16 pages is tricky, cause, like, how do you do that.... You CAN do it but it's a giant pain in the ass. And no factory is going to do that unless they have a really, really good reason to do it. Asking nicely is not a good enough reason.

So the page numbers you're referring to is probably everything in-between the cover/end papers. So the title page, the "this is the legalese" page, and the story itself. Open up some kids picture books and count ALL the pages between the end papers and you'll find it's one of these nice even numbers divisible by 8 or something. You can do it with larger books/magazines/newspapers, too, but those tend to be way more pages and that would suck more to do lol

*"But Chase!" you say, "what about print-on-demand books? Those aren't made at scale!" Well, if we want to be extremely literal, yes! That is true! Because they are not making printing plates for your one book, because that shit is so expensive. HOWEVER, they are STILL using presses and equipment that are fixed sizes. They have a process set up to make these things as fast as possible, so there might be multiple books being processed at once. But the folded-over thing (I feel really dumb forgetting what it's called you can tell all of my press knowledge is from working the presses and not actually learning how to manage them) is ONLY going to be the pages for your book. Doing anything Weird is going to take extra time and slow down this process, and why would they do that, for you? So you're not gonna get a french-fry scented** book cover no matter how much you want it.

**You know CMYK? Sometimes there is a fifth, secret ink a press might use. Like the scratch off stuff on lottery tickets. Or scratch-n-sniff. Some companies go through the effort of getting an ink made for their brand color, so instead of mixing CMYK to get coca-cola red they make some poor college student making a little over minimum wage to mix up coca-cola red using a formula so that you KNOW it will always be coca cola red, or caterpillar yellow, or vera wang silver, or whatever colors are in the Scientology branding. This is good for marketing stuff but I doubt they're doing this for books. Well maybe they are for the bibles that are all black and white text except JESUS is in red, then it would just be (blac)K and red.
The french fry smell was okay when it was just the one magazine but dealing with it in bulk sucked so much, dude, don't make people deal with that.
 

frimble3

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How a book (or newspaper, or magazine) is made is:
  1. A giant roll of paper (like you see in a receipt printer) gets printed on both sides
  2. The giant roll is cut into giant sheets
  3. The giant sheets are folded over into a stack of, like, 8 or 16 "pages" thick (you fold it in "half" 3 or 4 times)
  4. These folded-over things are attached to each other (with thread, glue, staples etc)
  5. This big thick thing has the edges cut
  6. Whatever the hell for the cover/outer binding happens. So this is the "end papers" (the colored paper connected to the hard part of the hard cover), the cover, maybe a little ribbon to keep your place, and/or the dust jacket
Please pay attention to steps 3 and 5. Now...how would you make a book with 15 pages? or 9? Or 33? Keep in mind that ALL* books are made, at-scale, in factories, on presses and equipment that are standard sizes. Making a book that is longer is easy, just have more stacks of things. Having a book that is shorter than 8 or 16 pages is tricky, cause, like, how do you do that.... You CAN do it but it's a giant pain in the ass. And no factory is going to do that unless they have a really, really good reason to do it. Asking nicely is not a good enough reason.

So the page numbers you're referring to is probably everything in-between the cover/end papers. So the title page, the "this is the legalese" page, and the story itself. Open up some kids picture books and count ALL the pages between the end papers and you'll find it's one of these nice even numbers divisible by 8 or something. You can do it with larger books/magazines/newspapers, too, but those tend to be way more pages and that would suck more to do lol

*"But Chase!" you say, "what about print-on-demand books? Those aren't made at scale!" Well, if we want to be extremely literal, yes! That is true! Because they are not making printing plates for your one book, because that shit is so expensive. HOWEVER, they are STILL using presses and equipment that are fixed sizes. They have a process set up to make these things as fast as possible, so there might be multiple books being processed at once. But the folded-over thing (I feel really dumb forgetting what it's called you can tell all of my press knowledge is from working the presses and not actually learning how to manage them)
That is a through and complete explanation that everyone interested in books should read. Especially those interested in children's books, where the counting is easier.

You worked the presses?
My father worked at the start of the process - in a paper mill.
He spoke sometimes of the processes.
One time we were watching 'The Paper' the Michael Keaton movie, and at the end when Keaton's character is fighting his way to the button to stop the presses. My dad is yelling "Just drop something onto the roll, it'll be all night to remove the mass of paper and re-thread it all!"
Apparently if you interfere with the web of paper, it'll fold back on itself, flap loose and generally wreak havoc inside the rollers.
I do not know how accurate this description is, but Dad was quite animated about it.
Everyone should know how folding and signatures work, especially with children's books and graphic books.
 
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