Over-Spending on Your Imposition?
Publishers and ad salespeople usually don’t enjoy these manufacturing nuances, so make them a handy cheat-sheet of the cost per thousand (M) per page. It will pack more of a punch as a bar graph, like this example using a 500M quantity on the sample prices, with makereadies included.
A chart like this will probably be enough to get 4-page signatures banned from the book-makeup process, or at least instill proper reverence for the economic shoals you must navigate. At a larger press run, of course, 4s become more feasible in cost, but they are always a last-ditch manufacturing solution to pagination. In the larger context of ad/edit ratio, 4s and 8s have their place, and it’s never smarter to print more pages than ad revenue supports just to buy each page at the best price.
Signature Breaks and Imposition
Even when per-page costs are identical, the 6x2 press can provide binding-pocket savings if you can deliver 24s instead of the 16s a 4x2 press would produce. On a 96-page issue, the wide web requires two press makereadies and four pockets, while a 4x2 consumes three makereadies and six pockets. That is, until inserts come into the picture.
Suppose you have five inserts in those 96 pages. Under our sample prices, the cost for 500,000 copies would be:
makeready run/M total
6x2, 1 48 as two 24s + 1 48 as four 12s
$6,200 $33 $22,700
4x2, 3 32s as two 16s
$5,400 $34.50 $22,650
OK, your annual bonus isn’t given a big boost by saving $50, but the gap we just revealed tilts further toward the 32s at shorter run lengths, and veers toward the 48s as counts climb. Your job is to know such a differential exists.
Simply providing enough signature breaks for inserts isn’t enough—now you have to paginate the book to locate them. If you’re unable to nudge the ad and edit page planners, you’ll need multiple deliveries on every signature, or even be forced to print 4s or 8s to create the breaks. So long, efficiency.