<< Blog Home

Archive for the ‘Writing Tips & Advice’ Category

Pantone Before Pantone



The Pantone Matching System didn’t come about until the early 1960s, but it turns out there was a similar guide created some 270 years before that.

An artist only known as “A. Boogert” wrote a book in Dutch back in 1692 that sought to explain how to mix watercolors. While that may sound like a simple task, Mister or Misses Boogert was incredibly thorough.

After spending the beginning of the book writing about mixing watercolors, the majority of the nearly 800 page book is painstakingly painted with different tints of nearly every color you can imagine. Also as you can imagine, the results look remarkably similar to today’s Pantone Color Guide.

The process to paint each color by hand would be extremely tedious and time consuming, and it’s hard to believe this was produced at the time it was. The book was discovered by Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel, who notes the irony inherent in the book on his blog.

“It makes sense, then, that the author explains in the introduction that he wrote the book for educational purposes,” he writes. “Remarkably, because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the ‘reach’ among painters – or attention among modern art historians – it deserves.”

You can see scans of the entire book here.

Pantone Matching System

Pantone has become known for its color matching system, which provides a standardization of color for a variety of industries. We use the Pantone matching system extensively in the printing industry, and through the years the company has expanded its systems to be adaptable for other materials like fabric and plastic.

Today, there also is a Pantone standardization series for digital RGB color as well, which is often used by graphic designers.


How Old Were Your Favorite Authors When They Published Their Breakout Book? [INFOGRAPHIC]



Ever feel like it’s too late to start writing your first book? Unfortunately, this type of thinking is all-too-common and causes too many would-be authors to never start the books they want to write.

This infographic put together by blinkbox books shows the ages of a slew of famous authors when they published their breakthrough books. The graphic can serve as something of an inspiration for those who may think too much time has already passed them by.



Book Design Guide: Front Matter



When designing your book, it is easy to get so focused on the design of the main body of the book that you neglect the front matter – the information and pages that precede that main portion. However, since this section will be a second impression of sorts for your book (after the cover), you want to make sure it looks professional to avoid putting off any readers before they even get to the primary material of your book.

There is quite a bit of front matter material that may be included depending on your specific book. Here we’ll explore the most common elements of front matter, though please note that not every element here is included in every book.

One more note: all of these elements will be on right-hand page of the book (also known as a recto page) unless otherwise noted.

Elements of Front Matter for Books



300,000 new self-published books printed last year; up nearly 30 percent


by David Rogers

Many self-published books

More than 300,000 new self-published book titles were printed last year, up 28.8 percent from the year before.

This increase produced an overall 16.5 percent uptick in the overall number of new titles introduced to the self-publishing market, even though the number of new self-published ebooks declined 1.6 percent year over year to 155,942. The total number of new self-published titles last year was 458,564.

These stats come from the new Bowker report, “Self-Publishing in the United States, 2008-2013.” The report breaks down 2013 self-publishing numbers not only by print vs. ebook, but also by the companies that produce the self-published books.



Choosing the Perfect Paper Weight [Infographic]



Choosing the best paper weight for your project is not always as straightforward as it seems. Paper measurement is a complex topic that gets very technical very quickly.

Fortunately, the Paper Mill Store Blog has put together a great infographic that helps explain the differences in paper weight with examples of common uses of each weight. Click here or the photo above to see the entire graphic.

Let us know if you have any paper questions related to your specific project. We’ll also be glad to send samples of different paper weights.


The Difference Between Book Printing & Book Publishing


by David Rogers


Here at Advanced Print & Finishing Book Printing, we often hear some form of the following question: what is the difference between book publishing and book printing?

A couple of decades ago, that question would have been fairly easy to answer. But the book publishing world is changing quickly, and the answer takes a little more explaining these days.

Since book printing is the more straightforward of the two, we’ll start there.

Book Printing



Book Printing Review – Jason Sobol



Your company has proven great…

Your company has proven great to work with. I will advertise your greatness on my project and forcefully persuade my art studio mates to use you as well. 

– Jason Sobol


Front cover of The Art of Jason Sobol


From APF: We got to work with the great artist Jason Sobol on his book, “The Art of Sobol.”

Visit Jason’s website to learn more, and while you’re there you also can purchase a signed copy of Jason’s book!


The Reasons We Choose Print Books [Infographic]


by David Rogers

The feel. The smell. Owning something concrete.

There are plenty of reasons we love print books, and the folks over at Fat Brain have created an infographic showing the top reasons readers choose a printed book over an ebook. The results come from a poll of 1,000 readers, and we found it pretty interesting why people say they prefer hard copies.

Click on the preview below to see the full results.



Kickstarter Unveils New Journalism Category


by David Rogers

Kickstarter Journalism category

We’ve been fairly vocal about our support of Kickstarter projects, particularly since we get to print some of them. It’s pretty awesome to see someone’s book or magazine go from the idea stage to a finished printed product. And the times we get to be part of that process by printing the book is even more awesome!

Until now, most of the printing projects on Kickstarter were in the Publishing category of the site, but a new category – Journalism – will now also be a place to find the best new upcoming print magazines and books.

Here’s what Kickstarter says prompted the creation of the new category:



Is it in the Public Domain? How to Check the Copyright Status of a Book


by David Rogers

Almost any book published before 1923 is currently in the public domain. But for books published in 1923 and after, copyright status is determined by a number of factors.

A book’s copyright status can get confusing very quickly, but fortunately the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Center at Berkeley Law has created a handbook to help determine whether a specific work is in the public domain. Posted below is the master flowchart from the handbook, and if you need more information check out the “Is It in the Public Domain?” [PDF] handbook at the Berkeley Law website. In addition to additional flowcharts, the handbook also includes just about anything you’d ever need to know about copyright status.

Click the flowchart for a full-size version of the image!

Flowchart: Public Domain Books, Explained