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Extra Corrections. The preceding pages will help to make clear to the novice the character of the printer's charge for “extra corrections,” which charge generally appears, for a greater or less amount, in almost every bill rendered for book work. The printer's estimate for a piece of work should, of course, include all the expense of making the printed page agree with the copy. It would be impossible for any estimate to go farther than this, as the number of "changes " made by authors is so much of an unknown quantity; some writers scarcely altering a word, others, because of carelessness in the preparation of their MS., so adding or cancelling material, that to make the changes not infrequently costs as much as the first setting of the type.
There is no charge connected with the printing of a book so unsatisfactory to both author and printer as this one of "extra corrections,” and none which is usually so easy to avoid by a little additional care in the proper preparation of the MS. before it is placed in the hands of the printer. It is very difficult to make an author comprehend how much time is required to effect changes in proof which to him may appear but trifling. For instance, a word or two eliminated from the proof, unless other words are substituted of the same length, will require the “ overrunning” of the entire paragraph corrected, and not infrequently necessitates the rehandling in the “ stick” of several pages. This of course applies equally to the addition of words not in the original copy.
Again, authors sometimes conclude in reading proof that certain material will look better in smaller type than that used for the body of their work. It is, of course, evident that this change requires not only the double setting of the particular matter in question, but in addition (if the proof be in pages) the “overrunning” of all the pages “ made up,” to permit of the desired alteration in the size of type.
These changes require time, although to the author their execution may appear a very trifling matter.
When proof is returned from the author, an assistant proof-reader examines it and notes the " changes "—if
that are marked. These “changes”—i. e., alterations from copy—are then made by what is known as a timehand,” who reports to the foreman each day the time spent in making such corrections, this time being duly checked by the foreman by each day's proof.
Locking Up.-If the work is to be electrotyped, the pages are now placed in iron frames called “ chases,” and “ locked up,” that is, made perfectly true and secure preparatory to casting, and another proof taken. This is again compared with the author's last proof to see that all the corrections marked have been properly made, another final reading is given it, and the forms are then sent to the foundry to be
In works requiring great precision, or in those to contain an index, an additional proof is usually taken from the plates themselves and submitted to the author. Corrections can be made in these by cutting out words or letters and inserting others in their place. This, however, is necessarily expensive and should be avoided as far as possible.
Electrotyping and Stereotyping.–As this is not a treatise on book-making, it is not necessary to enter into the details of the different methods of making book-plates, but a few words as to the relative advantages of printing from type and plates will not, we think, be out of place.
If a work is issued for private circulation only, or is of such a nature that the demand for it can be estimated in advance with any degree of accuracy, then it is undesirable, and indeed useless, to incur the expense of making plates. In this case, after the author has passed upon the last proof, the type is put upon the press, the desired number
of copies printed, after which the forms are broken up, and
"distributed” into the compositors' cases ready for the next work.
Letter-press Printing.—By this method which is designated “ letter-press printing," it is customary to print three or four forms at a time (a form comprising the number of pages on one side of a sheet), and not to wait until the whole book is set, for in this way the same type can be utilized again and again until the work is completed. The cost of electrotyping or stereotyping is thus avoided; but it must be remembered that it is not possible to print another edition of the work without the entire resetting of
If, on the other hand, no safe estimate can be formed of the number of copies required to meet the probable demand for a new work, then plates had better be made. While by this plan the first cost is greater, it must be borne in mind that the first edition of a work may be much reduced in size if electrotype-plates are used, and then, if the demand requires it, subsequent editions may be printed from the plates with great promptness. Should the work be of such a nature that, after the issue of the first edition, important changes in the text may be needed, then it is advisable to print from type, as the cost of correcting the plates may often be more than the resetting of the whole material.
In a recent popular novel the author, through inadvertence, used for her characters the names of real persons, and libel suits having on this account been instituted, it became necessary to change almost every proper name in the volume. As these names appeared many times in almost every page the cost of correcting the plates was no trifling matter, while the substituted names, being in some cases shorter than the originals, caused the pages of the corrected edition to present a by no means workman-like appearance. Authors' Estimates.--It may be said that when authors themselves assume the risk of their work it is very unusual for them to understand the probable demand for their ventures, and they will rarely accept the publishers' suggestions and confine themselves to a limited letter-press edition. They are very apt to prefer to have their books stereotyped, so that there may be no failure to meet the great demand that the public is sure to make. They therefore incur the expense of making plates when it is often the case, as the publisher endeavors to make clear, that the work is not of a nature likely to interest more than a limited number of buyers.
Stereotyping.—There are several methods of stereotyping :
1. The papier-maché process, now generally used in this country only for newspaper work.
2. The clay process.
These processes merely designate the material used to make the moulds, or clichés, from the type. Upon these clichés type-metal in liquid state is poured. The plaster method is the one usually employed in the United States for the better grade of book work.
Electrotyping is more expensive than stereotyping, but the plates made in this way possess certain advantages over stereotypes, and the process is now much more generally used in America for book work than heretofore. The electrotype-plate is more effective for the better grade of printing, for two reasons :
1. The face of the type is sharper and cleaner.
2. The surface of the plate being of copper, instead of type-metal, it is much more durable. For books of which large editions are expected to be printed this latter is of great advantage. Wood-cuts are almost always electrotyped, because the delicate lines of the engraving can in this way be much more effectively reproduced than by the rougher methods of stereotyping.
The process of electrotyping may be briefly described as follows:
When the pages of type are properly “locked up” and “ planed,” i. e., made perfectly level, they are carefully washed and then covered with a layer of soft wax, and subjected to a heavy pressure. This produces a perfect impression of the type or cut in the wax. The
wax, having become hard, is now covered with finely pulverized graphite and placed in an electric bath, and in a few hours a coating of copper is deposited upon it. The wax is now separated from this shell of copper, and molten type-metal poured upon the back of the latter until it has reached the proper thickness. The plates, now in their rough state, are then shaved to a uniform thickness, the edges bevelled to facilitate the work of holding them securely on the press, , and they are then ready for “ working” or printing.
It may be said, in passing, that while in some departments of book-making English manufacturers still excel their American cousins, the work of plate-making is now done much more effectively in the United States than in England; the improved machinery used here enabling the stereotyper or electrotyper to turn out plates which are uniform and true, and from them the pressman can produce much better work at a less expenditure of labor than from those made by English printers. Indeed, so much extra time is required to “make ready” a form of English plates, that it is generally found more economical in printing from them in this country to run them through the shaving machine, that they may be reduced to some degree of uniformity, before they are put upon the press.
When not in use, the plates, which are each a trifle larger