Re: "Print on demand" and "Docutech"

Subject: Re: "Print on demand" and "Docutech"
From: Sigrid Schoepel <sschoepe -at- adacgeo -dot- com>
To: Gilda_Spitz -at- markham -dot- longview -dot- ca
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 07:08:25 -0500

> <snip>

> People always get upset about that. I've always had to explain that, due
> to economies of scale, it's not that much more expensive to print, say, 300
> instead of 200, so you might as well go with the larger quantity. However,
> our chairman of the board has asked me to research the concept of "print on
> demand".

We use a print house with a Docutech machine and the
powers-that-choose-the-quantities still guess incorrectly.

> <snip>
> 1. I always thought that small runs would be prohibitively expensive. Does
> the Docutech make it reasonable to print 10 or 20 books at a time?


> 2. We use FrameMaker, not Word. I assume that Docutech works with Frame as
> well - is that correct?

We use FrameMaker and Word. We have had a few glitches, but smoothed them out
with the print house.

> 3. Instead of providing the printing house with the printed pages, I would
> instead generate a ps file from Frame, and send them that ps file - is that
> correct?

I was providing a PS file and recently our print house changed to PDF files
(they won't even accept PS files anymore--go figure). This caused no end of
problems with the first run we did from PDF.

(My print house is not current with their software or on the cutting edge of
printing, so take the next comments as just my experience.) I DO NOT use the
save as PDF feature in FrameMaker to create the PDF file. Our print house
suggested it, we did it. The proofs were horrible. We have some graphics that
use a Unix file format and they were so fuzzy you couldn't read the text or
distinguish the entry fields from the rest of the screen text.

This is how I worked out a decent PDF file: Make sure you get the printer driver
for the exact model of Docutech that your printer is using. Print from Frame to
a PS file using that driver. Then distill as normal to PDF using Acrobat

> 4. We use the Acrobat Distiller printer driver to produce a ps file for
> Acrobat. Can we use the same printer driver, or do we need a different one?
> (I saw some references in the archives to a special Docutech driver.)

See comments under question 3.

> 5. Are there any major pros or cons that I should know about?

You might have to go through a few proofs the first time until you get your
process worked out and a feel for what the printer can/will do.

For example, our print house has Acrobat Exchange but they refused to edit a PDF
file I sent to them that required a change to four characters on a single page.
I had to make the change, send them a new PDF file, and go through the proof
approval process again.

I have noticed, like someone else mentioned, that sometimes you get page breaks
in your proof that you did not have in your original.

If your print house is looking into it, perhaps you should, too. You might have
to educate them, and they might have to educate you.


Sigrid Schoepel
ADAC Laboratories, Geometrics
6400 Enterprise Lane, Suite 201
Madison, WI 53719
phone: 608-298-2100, x8118
fax: 608-298-2101
email: sschoepe -at- adacgeo -dot- com

I feel much better now that I've given up all hope...again.

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