overly ambitious

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time; why I chose yesterday afternoon to start it, God only knows. But, as a part of my ongoing project to include business advice on my website, I have finally thrown together the beginnings of a glossary of terms.

Now I need your help.

See, there are undoubtedly many important words I have forgotten. There are definitely important words I have defined inadequately. Heck, some of them don’t have definitions at all, yet. I’m pretty sure pitch and point are two different things, but I have no idea what. Reserves and out of print, I know what they are, but not well enough to provide a coherent definition of when and how those things happen. And then there are the definitions that are just kind of weak, like offset printing. I may even have some things entirely wrong.

So please, if you know the publishing industry, poke around in that glossary and provide me with expansions and corrections. This is going to be a work in progress for a while, I’m sure, like my two lists.

0 Responses to “overly ambitious”

  1. d_c_m

    Hello! This is too fun as just last night Hubby said to me that perhaps we could ask for your advice in publishing. 🙂 Now I’ll send him the link. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous

    Your definitions of copyright, fair use (etc) are US-centric, and don’t necessarily reflect the law in other countries. But as you say, that’s another essay…

    “galley”: in the days of letterpress, a proof made from the blocks of type before these had been divided up and laid out as pages, and hence took the form of long single-column strips of paper.

    “Kerning”. Kerning is the adjustment of spacing between a particular pair of letters, to improve appearance and legibility – for example, reducing the space between “T” and “o”, or “V” and “A”. In digital type each character has a preset width, and in a well-designed font these will be set so that most character combinations will work without needing individual adjustment, but some combinations usually merit special treatment by kerning, especially in display (rather than text) setting.
    Letterspacing (or tracking) adds (or reduces) space between every pair of characters; positive letterspacing may be used as a form of emphasis.

    “matte” and “gloss” on book covers are more usually achieved by the use of a coat of varnish applied in the printing process, rather than by the surface of the paper (or card) itself.

    “Offset” traditionally refers to offset lithography, the most common printing technology (letterpress being a thing of the past).

    “Perfect bound”. Except perhaps with some “print on demand” systems, books are generally printed on paper very much larger than the page size, with each sheet of paper providing 16, 32 or 64 pages. The printed sheets are folded to form sections (also called “signatures”), which are then gathered in sequence and bound – traditionally by sewing, a method still used for quality book production. In ‘perfect binding’, the folded edges of the sections are trimmed off, and the pages held together by a layer of flexible glue – which in paperbacks will also hold the pages into the spine of the paper cover. Most paperbacks are perfect bound, and a substantial number of hardbacks now use a similar ‘unsewn’ binding. Originally “trade” paperbacks were produced using the same sewn bodies of the book as the hard-back edition, but gluing these into a paper cover, instead of a hard-back case; this is still done for some quality paperback books. There are also modern binding techniques which only partly cut into the folds at the spine, to expose enough of each page for all the pages to be held together by a layer of glue: this produces the appearance of a sewn book at a substantially lower cost.
    Incidentally the term “quarto” originally meant a printed sheet which was folded twice, thus producing 4 leaves (or 8 pages) of the book; “octavo” was a sheet folded three times, producing 8 leaves (or 16 pages). Hence the use of these terms to describe the sizes of books.

    “signature”: a block of, usually, 16 pages printed on a single sheet and then folded to form a section of the book.

    • Anonymous

      and by way of additions:

      “point”: the size of type is usually measured in points. In traditional British and US usage, 72 points are approximately equal to one inch, and digital typography has made this an exact figure. A “pica” is 12 points. (In continental Europe, “Didot points” were used, which are about 7% larger, and a “cicero” equals 12 Didot points.) Line lengths are traditionally measured in picas; vertical height of type, and line spacing, is measured in points. The quoted “body size” of type is not the height of the capital letters, but the height of an imaginary rectangle defining the space owned by each letter – including space for descenders (the tail of a “p” etc) and ascenders. Different typefaces of the same nominal size will appear substantially different (12pt Times Roman appears smaller on the page than 12pt Arial). Type used for books is typically 9pt to 12pt in size, depending on the typeface and the page design. If type is “set solid”, there is no added vertical space between lines; added space is called “leading”, as it was originally done by inserting thin strips of lead between each row of metal type. Word processing software will often automatically insert 2pt of leading, so that 10pt type will be printed with a distance of 12pt between the baselines of each line, or 6 lines to the vertical inch: a printer or typographer would refer to this as “10 on 12 point” or “10/12”.

      “em”: a square with the same height and width as the body size of the type. In typography, indents at the beginning of paragraphs are commonly defined as a number of em. A long dash, used as punctuation, is an “em dash”: one half that length is an “en dash”.

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