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Book Design and Production Paperback – June 15, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A masterful work.... The industry has needed a book like this for years. --Dan Poynter, author The Self Publishing Manual

Have it on hand for the explanations that help the publisher make good decisions.... --Patricia J. Bell, publisher, Cat's-paw Press

...A must-have to stay competitive in this overcrowded marketplace. --Fern Reiss, author The Publishing Game

About the Author

Pete Masterson has been an independent book designer since 1997. Before that he owned a print shop, was general manager of a book oriented typesetting service in San Francisco and was manager of publications and graphics for a contractor to NASA, where he and his staff produced some 200 publications a year. He is the 2005 President of the [San Fancisco] Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aeonix Publishing Group (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966981901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966981902
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rene Ritchie on January 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been doing graphic design for over 15 years, and have previously layed out 2 books (photo/illustration intensive ones) and had 2 of my own book designed by traditional publishers. I was never perfectly happy with either result. When it came time to design my latest novel, I was determined to do it myself and also do it well. Pete Masterson's book provided a road-map towards that goal.

I hadn't done book design in almost 5 years and the software had changed considerably, but Masterson's step-by-step InDesign tutorial let me hit the ground sprinting. He showed what to do, and more importantly, what absolutely must be avoided, in order to achieve a professional level layout.

Very much recommended to anyone even considering doing their own layout (doing your own design, IMHO, requires some additional skills, which Masterson also points out during several stages of the process).
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Format: Paperback
This book focuses on how to actually create a book. How to prepare the manuscript, layout the interior of the book and create the cover. This book does a very good job of walking the user through the book creation process. Unlike many books on book design, this one gives real examples, with screen shots, of how to do everything. It does not speak at a purely abstract level, like many other design books do.

The book includes two excellent chapters on type. These two chapters alone, are worth the price of the book. They explain the font families with many clear illustrations. These two chapters also explain which fonts should be used, and at what times.

The book includes an excellent tutorial on Adobe InDesign. At the time the book was written, InDesign CS was the current version. The examples work well enough with Adobe InDesign CS2, which is the current version(as of the writing of this review).

The author also includes a chapter that shows how to layout a book with Microsoft Word. The author begins with a warning NOT to use Microsoft word, or any word processor, to layout a professional book. But if you really WANT to use Microsoft Word, the author shows you the best possible way to use it.

If you are considering laying out a book, this is a must read. Even if you are considering outsourcing book layout, this book will help you to understand what you are buying, and what the options are.

Topics covered, from the table of contents:

1. Some History

2. The Process

3. Decisions, Decisions

4. Parts of a Book

5. Let's Talk About Type

6. Design With Type

7. Professional Tools

8. Using Word for Layout

9. Page Layout with InDesign

10. Selecting a Printer

11. Book Covers

12. Children's Books

13. Color Printing

14. Scanning

15. Hiring a Designer
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Format: Paperback
If you are thinking about self-publishing or starting a small press--even if you intend to hire professionals to do all designing tasks--you must read this book! Very few books out there cover everything from the basics (ie: why 2 spaces after a sentence was fine for your high school typing class but not for a professional-looking book interior) to the more esoteric (ie: what the fine print on the back of a printing contract says). You'll learn why things are done the way they are and how that is accomplished. For those who never intend to DIY, you should read this anyway just so you know how to communicate with your designers (and what the heck they mean when they talk back).

Specific instructions are given for typesetting in InDesign, as well as succeeding at typesetting in Microsoft Word (which is sort of like telling people how to make snowshoes from tennis racquets, but that is only my opinion). Accompanying screen shots help make the process accessible to anyone.

Designing a book cover is covered thoroughly, as is how to choose a printer and designer (cover and interior), the different rules for Children's books, proper use of a scanner, and the whole history of print. Over 100 pages of glossary explanations cover terms from typography to computers and more--worth the price of admission in and of itself!

Frequently amusing, fabulously informative-you must have this on your bookshelf if you are a new (or even a slightly used) publisher!
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Format: Paperback
This book was disappointing on many levels. First, the title: It's not about book production (primarily) and production (secondarily), as the cover suggests. It's about book publishing generally, especially for small and self-publishers, with a heavy emphasis on the computer aspects of publishing. On the critical subject of cover design, for example, Masterson offers a meager two illustrations of actual book covers; mostly he suggests how much you should pay someone else to design your cover.

The author offers a good tip: Every writer needs an outside editor. But he doesn't seem to have followed his own advice. The book rambles through whatever subject strikes his fancy: Six pages about the history of books; thirteen dreary pages about typefaces, which would be fascinating in the right hands.

A book about design should be full of illustrations. Masterson tries to do it all with words, usually far too many of them: He requires nine long lines to say essentially, "the title on the spine should run from top to bottom."

A glossary fills a third of the book, stuffed with such words as "applet" (a small computer application) and "boolean algebra" (the use of... oh, never mind). It seems like merely an easy way to add enough pages to justify the book's price.

If you are about to self-publish a book and have no experience, you'll find some helpful information buried in the verbiage. You'll also find pure blather: "Don't request a quotation for a book with a 10x14 trim size to printers who specify nothing over 9x12." Whatever your interest, other books are vastly better: Dan Poynter's "Self-Publishing Manual," Uri Shulevitz's superb "Writing with Pictures," Adobe's "Classroom in a Book" for InDesign, "The Non-Designer's Design Book" for typography. There really no reason to buy "Book Design and Production."
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