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Beware of Cross-Grain Printing

Dan Poynter, Guest Author

More and more printers are cheating; they are mis-manufacturing books.

Paper has a grainjust like wood. The paper in a book should have its grain oriented vertically or top to bottom. If the paper's grain is positioned horizontally, the book will have a strange feel to it. The book will not "roll" open and will want to snap shut. Your customers and book store browsers will not know what the "problem" is but they will subconsciously feel that something is odd about your book. It will make them uncomfortable. And - you may lose the sale.

What's the problem? Printing presses are designed to print certain sizes of books. 5.5 x 8.5 is just half of 8.5 x 11 but one press should not be used to print both trim sizes. If the same press is used for both, the grain in one book will be 90 degrees off.

Some book printers have just one press for text and try to make do by printing both sizes of books. They are not competing fairly with other printers. They are not producing acceptable books for their publisher-customers.

Pick up a sheet of paper. Tear it. Now turn it 90 degrees and tear it again. The tear will be cleaner with the grain. Pick up a book. Roll a page in each direction with your fingers. You can usually tell which way the grain is.

When you send the request for quotations (RFQs) to printers, specify "right grain" printing. Printers know the difference. Let them know that you know the difference. Get all you are paying for.


Copyright © - Dan Poynter. "Publishing Poynters" is by far one of the very best resources for up-to-date information about the book publishing business and it's FREE. My good friend, Dan Poynter, is the "Guru of Book Publishing." You can subscribe to and receive "Publishing Poynters" by e-mail twice monthly by clicking here. You will also find an abundance of book publishing information on Dan's incredible website:


  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details and fees.

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