Re: Printed Manual Format / Size / Cover Materials

Subject: Re: Printed Manual Format / Size / Cover Materials
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: Megan Golding <megan -dot- golding -at- dvtsensors -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 14:31:08 -0500

Megan Golding wrote:

> What suggestions do you have for presentation of my manual?
> Here are my constrants:
> 1) We also distribute this manual in *.pdf format. I want the same manual
> that goes to the printers to be what I Distill into *.pdf (no reformatting,
> please).

Megan, this is an _oportunity_, not a constraint. consider a layout with
an aspect ratio of 4:3, the same as a monitor (8" wide by 6" deep, for
example, or 10" x 7.5"). Printing this on stiff paper and spiral binding
on the long edge can make an attractive and easy-to-handle manual,
especially in the usage scenario you describe. The newer plastic spirals
are quite attractive and come in several colors.

> 2) The price to print cannot be exponentially higher than the current method
> of spiral binding. I may be able to go to something that is 2x higher in
> cost, but that's about it.

Cost is highly sensitive to quantity. Are you printing hundreds,
thousands, tens of thousands, ...?

If you design a page that is smaller than 10.5 x 8, you can continue to
print on 8.5 x 11 paper, incorporate bleeds into your design (to provide
thumb indexes, for example, or to dress up chapter pages), provide
something that will be legible on screen, and cost virtually the same as
what you are doing now. The only extra expense will be to have the
bindery trim the finished books.

For long runs, though, you can save a fair amount of money (compared to
in-house laser printing on letter paper) by designing a page that is
efficient for offset printing on a large press. A printer can work with
any page size you propose, but some sizes fit into a press sheet with
less waste than other sizes. So, if you will be printing thousands of
copies, talk to your printer (the person, not the desktop one) before
selecting a page size. You can also go to a "lay-flat" binding, which
looks a lot like a perfect binding but, as the name suggest, allows the
book to lay flat. Not all binderies have the machinery, though, so
you'll have to shop around.

> 3) The manual should be able to lay flat when open. Book binding, like on
> paperbacks, isn't really good for my manual as people need to lay the book
> flat on a bench while working with electrical wiring.
> Regards,
> Megan Golding, Applications Engineer
> DVT Corporation, mailto:megan -dot- golding -at- dvtsensors -dot- com
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