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Better Gray in Print on Demand: How to improve grayscale appearance in toner based, 600 dots per inch printing Paperback – August 29, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Koch Verlag (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 390131413X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3901314131
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,696,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan Barber on June 23, 2010
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At this writing there are four other reviews of this book, one giving one star, the others awarding five. Nothing in between. I can see the points of both extremes, but I don't agree with either. I give three stars because....well just because.

This book is an excellent example of the problem many see with "self published" books. The design is often poor, the editing nonexistent, and the English cringe inducing. Some of this is esthetic. Some--like the poor grammar--can be overlooked if you have patience and value the message. But some just obscures the message. I have read and re-read one paragraph at least a dozen times and I still can't figure out what the author is trying to say. Even so, there is good information in here that I was eager to learn, so I have to give it more than one star. But I had to work at extracting that information.

I can't agree with "Stunning results" and five stars, either. The author attempts to explain "How to improve grayscale appearance in toner based, 600 dots per inch printing," by doing two things. The first is to use Photoshop to prep the image with Lightning Source POD printing in mind. This is pretty much routine stuff, valuable but covered elsewhere in much less painful forms. I like Masterson's "Book Design and Production," which includes a section on grayscale image preparation plus a whole lot more. The second part of the author's process was all new to me and was fascinating to the geek within me. That is to perform the screening of the image yourself and to present the result to the printer as a bitmapped image instead of relying on the printer's raster image processor to do the job. The idea, of course, is to better optimize the screening for a particular image and to your own taste.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Shepard on April 2, 2007
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I thought I knew everything I should about getting the best results from photos in print on demand. I was wrong. Martin Koch's stunning results made my jaw drop. Frankly, I'm a Photoshop Elements kind of guy myself, so some of this meaty little booklet was over my head. But if you have access to the full Photoshop and a little skill in working with it, I'm sure you'll find this booklet even more rewarding than I did.

By the way, Martin's from Germany, and English is not his native language, so you'll need to forgive the occasional error in language. This book is not about polish, it's about practical information. And believe me, it delivers.
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The focus of this book is preparing illustrations, screen shots, and photographs for print-on-demand services offered by Lightning Source in the US, and Books on Demand in Germany. The author provides many side-by-side comparisons of different line screen resolutions, different sharpening effects, comparisons of lineart versus halftones, etc. The book is printed by Lightning Source in the US, so you see exactly what you'll get in your own publications if you plan to print with them. The author is German and yes there is the occasional English grammatical slip, but so what! If you are preparing a book for self-publishing with Lightning Source you owe it to yourself to get this book and see the end result of different adjustments.

Yes at one point the author mentioned he thinks current Lightning Source printing does a hard-to-beat job with producing halftones out of grayscale images--they are the largest printer in the US, but certainly not the only one, and most printers can't afford their high-end 600 dpi printers.

It sounds like Lightning Source is using better printers today than they were when the book was first published, and so the treatment of pre-screened halftone images might not make as big a difference with Lightning Source printings as it did in the past. Still, you can perform your own A/B comparisons and decide for yourself. A photographer is going to be a lot more particular about how images appear than an average consumer. Even if you decide you'll be happy with sending the publisher a grayscale image without doing your own prescreening, you'd be short-changing yourself not to perform any image sharpening before sending pictures off to print. This book also discusses image sharpening.
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Better Gray in Print on Demand: How to improve grayscale appearance in toner based, 600 dots per inch printing
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