Book Typesetting Services – What makes a book great? From cover to cover, many things go into publishing a book that captures the attention of readers. One of the major components of any book is the typesetting, which is the process of laying out the text and illustrations to prepare the book for printing. Although new technology has changed the way that book typesetting services are rendered, the basic principles are still the same.
Typesetting in History
For much of the printed word’s history, typesetting has been a painstaking process done by hand. The first known books were typeset using wooden blocks with the text carved into them. Imagine, if you will, a person creating each letter, each word by hand and then arranging them in a way that was not only readable, but that looked good as well. You can see how difficult and time-consuming the process must have been.
Typesetting Through The Ages:
Typesetting is considered more of an art form than a timely formula by Publishing companies all around the world. Where most of the printing press moved from metal castings to mechanical drum cartridges to futuristic high capacity bulk printers, typesetting remained something of a classical form of writing. It slowly arrived at a methodology which the future products could adhere to. Did publishing in the digital age change the relevance of Typesetting? Not. If not more, Typesetting procedures became all the more needed for every kind of publishing. Some would say, it was a result of striving consensus of publishers to preserve the ethos of publishing over the ages. Naturally, there was another group of publishers which gave the idea that Typesetting was after all more required than ever, as the changing reading habits of readers became a possibility.
Digital typesetting came about as a diversification from the original typesetting process, more accurate towards lapping up the new age requirements. With publishers turning to digital publishing of Documents, eBooks, and Journals, Typesetting held prominence more than ever. When we arrived at the 2000’s, DTP (Desktop Publishing) came to the fore. IBM and Apple systems where the initial players in the market with Scripts and XML which defined publishing specifics going forward. These ensured that the content could be set according to the whims and wishes of the users. Hence, it made life easy for the users of eBooks, who hailed the technology to present numerous possibilities.
Modern Typesetting Techniques:
Today, typesetting is not a manual profession; it’s typically done with laser printers and computers. Rather than creating blocks of text by hand, now we use word processing software to enter the text into the computer. With the click of a mouse, the typesetter can send the book to a laser printer where the finished product can be printed. It’s a faster, more efficient process than any other form of typesetting to date.
The techniques and Softwares involved in the making of, or rather adopting of, Typesetting techniques to modern-day publishing. Now let us have a look at what the new age software tools have in store for us in ushering Typesetting to the new era of readers, authors, and publishers.
As we saw in the earlier part of this feature, SCRIPT variants were perhaps the first set of publishing tools which focused upon the need of Typesetting. SCRIPT, and other languages which followed and bettered it was brought out by the tech giant, IBM. Initially, SCRIPT was basic editing tools, where you could define simple tasks like alignment, font sizes, and headlines insertions. Of course, with the time, the need of SCRIPT to cater to the ever expanding publishing requirement came about. Hence, with the later versions of the upgrade, SCRIPT offered an automatic generation of a table of contents and index, multi-column page layout, footnotes, boxes, automatic hyphenation and spelling verification and much more. Thus, presently SCRIPT became an all-around publishing solution which came to cater to Typesetting needs of online publication.
Later on, we have the newer derivative Softwares of SCRIPT coming out with a name of NSCRIPT and Waterloo Script. Later on, MIT came out with their SCRIPT versions and took over the project development for practical use in 1974. Eventually, you got the program out by the year 1975. With time, SCRIPT came to be used in and for many Corporate and Computing needs. With the latest versions, Publishing and the eventual content consumption became less of an effort and more of joy. The versions now offered easy handling of Footnotes, Page numbers in Arabic, Toman numerals, appearing at the top or bottom of the page. You can also, go for even-numbered pages and odd-numbered pages.
In addition to these typesetting procedures, you can implement Underscoring and oVerstriking as a function. Thus, you no longer have to worry about editing errors which may crop up. SCRIPT files can also ensure that the typesetting is compiled and brought out in the form of computer prints. One another fact about this is, you have got almost a 100 commands to assist in formatting documents, although most of the simpler tasks can be done by the use of around ten commands at the maximum. Thus, in addition to being a solid and robust Typesetting agent, you can safely say that it comes across as a worthy and effective word processor, on par with PDF, MS Office and such.
XML And Associated SGML Systems:
When we talk about SGML (standard generalized markup language), we see the era of digital publishing take a step forward into ease of functionality and result oriented making. SGML came about as an advanced feature of IBM’s Generalized Markup Language, which by that time, had already made its mark in establishing Macros for top IBM Script. One great thing that came about with the advent of XML/SGML was the way in which it ushered other Typesetting tools and engines into the market. This all meant that the publishers could finally heave a sigh of relief when it came to processing and editing their works and bringing them out in the best way possible.
As mentioned, Typesetting was now characterized by not a few but many players who offered wonderful features which further eased the concept of Typesetting. The tools which stood out in making a change included RenderX’s XEP, Datalogics Pager, Penta, Miles 33’s OASYS, Xyvision’s XML Professional Publisher (XPP), FrameMaker, Arbortext, YesLogic’s Prince, QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. Eventually, these products allow users to program their SGML/XML, typesetting process with the help of scripting languages. Some of them, such as Arbortext Editor and XMetaL Author, provide attractive WYSIWYG-ish interfaces with support for XML standards and Unicode to attract a wider spectrum of users.
The Collection Of Typesetting Tools In Troff:
One of the lesser known tools which came about in the mid -1970’s, which showed immense promise regarding Typesetting features was Troff. A brainchild of Joseph Ossanna, working at Bell Labs, this typesetting program came out with intent to drive a Wang/C/A/T Typesetter which was owned and used by the Labs. Though this was a very particular need, eventually it came out to be a worthy toolset for general use as well. Brian Kernighan later enhanced it into different equipment, more importantly to laser printers which were the norm at that time. Presently, Troff is hardly being used in typesetting engines.
However, most of the Unix and Unix-like systems still use the toolset in their programs to go for the typesetting requirements for technical and computer books. If you are a publisher, you can still use the Troff, differently, when you use its derivatives called Groff, which has now been made an open source for platforms and general use.
Tex And Latex Programme Tools:
Typesetting procedures got a huge boost regarding ease of general use and effective outputs when TeX systems came out to the light. It was in the later part of 1970’s, Donald.E.Kurth came out with a simple and elegant solution for the complex Typesetting needs which were only growing over the ages. He took to developing TeX program tools which set high standards especially for typesetting mathematical research papers and research journals. In one single invention, he made sure that the scientific data accumulated over the years in an unstructured manner, became highly consumable and workable data which you can use for ages to come. However, the main disadvantage came for TeX programs, when they got to the crowd testing phase of the tool. It was concluded in a couple of years that TeX was perhaps a great tool but greatly difficult to learn and execute.
LaTeX programming tool followed it right behind it. At after a decade of coming up with TeX, the world had a new way of typesetting. And this time Typesetting was going to simpler and more effective than any. Hence, came about LaTex. The LaTex macro package was initiated by the IBM alum in the form of Leslie Lamport, at the start of the 80’s. This resolved the major issue that people had with TeX files which were the lack of the use. Now, as a user, you can go forward and find the tool to be incredibly easy to use. LaTex markup is more prominently used in academic circles towards the preparation for research papers and even publishing them. It brings an intuitive and satisfying way of typesetting procedures.
The interface is something that you’ll see as a major up gradation from the previous TeX formats. Now in that regard, LaTeX has come out to give interface options which are going at a greater pace. The interface came out with associated programs such as Scientific Workplace, TeXmacs, and LynX, which are going for usual for graphical/interactive editors.
The Typesetter’s Job
Even though the technology has changed, it is still the typesetter’s job to choose the correct fonts, styles, justification, paragraph, line, word and letter spacing for the text. Additionally, they are charged with making sure that any illustrations or photographs are appropriate for printing. The job doesn’t end there; they also have to be sure that the text is readable and that it is presented well. These are just the physical aspects of typesetting.
Perhaps more importantly, the typesetter has to proofread and check the entire document for consistency. If there are typos in the text or the style is inconsistent, no amount of formatting is going to make it enjoyable for anyone to read. A good typesetter has many of the same skills as his historical counterparts had, with a few additions. A thorough knowledge of word processing programs, page layout software, and an artistic eye are also required.
Why Go Professional:
Some authors may think that since the work is done on a computer, that they can do the typesetting themselves. However, that may not always be the case. It’s not as easy as it sounds to make sure that every word, sentence, and paragraph is printed correctly. Professional book typesetting services can make a huge difference in the appearance and readability of a book or any other publication. Even though computers do make the work much easier than in the past, it still takes a skilled, experienced typesetter to accomplish the task correctly.
Contact us to find out more about book typesetting services and the benefits that it offers authors and publishers. We will be more than happy to explain the process and answer any questions that you may have.