Otis is at the printers

Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Otis Editor Charlie Moores sees the new magazine take another step closer to delivery…


I wonder how many of us have ever given much thought to the production of a birding magazine? I certainly hadn’t. Someone writes a few articles, someone with a computer makes it look nice, maybe someone else prints it, and somehow it all arrives at my house nicely wrapped. It’s a bit like turning the lights on at home. You flick a switch, something somewhere happens, the current flows and – bingo – I can see to read my birding magazine in the dark. Pretty cool, but – you know, hardly rocket science…

I’ve never seen a magazine through from inception to production before, but over the last month I’ve been editing up ‘Otis’, the GBG magazine and two days ago I was at ‘the printers’ watching just such a thing happen. And I may never have thought about it before, but I will look upon each magazine I see now as the result of a ton of hard work and a VERY complex chain of events.

And, so I learnt, should you want to make your own professional quality magazine the first issue will cost you 3 MILLION POUNDS!

 

Three million pounds? That’s what I was told, and after my morning at Midway Colour Print Ltd I can well believe it. And here’s why…

Skipping over the steps that involve appointing an editor, sourcing or writing articles, working with a graphic designer, finding a pukka printing outfit, then going over and over the articles until they shine and removing evry every typo, creating the pdfs and getting them to said pukka printer…what happens is this:

  • Someone sorts you out one huge pile of paper, which weighs a staggering 700kg + (so you’ll need someone who can drive a forklift truck – oh, and a forklift truck).


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  • All printing is done with just four colours – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (or CMYK as people who know these things would say). Four aluminium plates corresponding to the four colours are made up: these cost 20GBP each and have a recycling value of just 3GBP. That’s a drop in the ocean to the cost of the cost of the printing machinery itself – which for a six stage model like this comes in at 1.5 million pounds! And if you don’t want your investment to get wet when it rains you’ll need a warehouse to keep it in…




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  • Then you’ll need a highly skilled printer (in this case a gentleman called Tony Hadley) who sets the plates, calibrates the colour tones, makes sure the paper is hurtling through the machine at precisely the right angles, knows how to spot the slightest imperfections, and can handle having some complete newbie leaning over him asking questions…







 

Then you’ll need to stack up hundreds of the sheets above, get a BIG paper guillotine to cut the sheets into pages, get a machine which folds the pages down the middle, then a machine that stitches them together (puts staples in them to you and me), then another which spits them all out into a huge pile so that yet another employee can box them up…


So do I want to add to my new role of editor and be ‘Otis’s printer/publisher now as well? Oh, no – not for all the birds on Salisbury Plain…

 

Categories: Great Bustards, News

Charlie Moores

Posted by Charlie Moores

Charlie is the Great Bustard news & Otis (the official Great Bustard magazine) editor, as well as being an authority on birds worldwide & writing for several online blogs.

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