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Author Topic: 4:3 Aspect Ratio (or "Have You Already Done My Research For Me?")  (Read 2397 times)
David Artman
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« on: March 24, 2008, 09:29:56 AM »

I want to release ASCII @HACK in a print format which most-closely resembles the 4:3 aspect ratio of (pre-widescreen) monitors, for reason which are obvious if one even glances at the preamble for the game concept.

I want to do POD, not small press; and I do not intend to release a PDF version at all. My question is simple:

Who does perfect-bound, single-laminated-cover POD books in landscape with dimension that work out to a 4:3 ratio?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008, 06:38:45 AM »

Hi there,

As I understand it, there exists an easy way and a hard way.

1. The easy way is only a problem if you want exactly 4:3. As long as you specify a standard page size and then, as well, "half that size," then the printer can do it without any extra effort. This is the origin of the 5.5" by 8.5" size, bound on the long side, which gives you the size of Elfs, Dogs in the Vineyard, The Shab al-Hiri Roach, Polaris, carry, and others - it's just the standard 11" by 8.5" folded in half.

Since the printer can bind on any edge without altering its techniques, that allows for altering the book considerably as well, as with my It Was a Mutual Decision, which is 5.5" (bound edge) by 8.5", i.e., landscape.

For a book like you're describing, with a more squared format, all you need is to use the same idea with different starting page size. My Life With Master does this (in fact, did it before any of the games mentioned above), as well as equivalents:

(in all cases, the first number is the left-hand, bound edge, to make it longer than tall, like a computer screen)

7" by 8.5" (ratio = about 1.21), starting with 14" by 8.5"
8.5" by 14" (ratio = about 1.65), starting with 17" by 14"
8.5" by 11" (ratio = about 1.29) starting with 17" by 11"

Since your desired ratio is 1.33, that last seems like the best fit. (a little more simply, you could specify the standard 6" by 9" size, then bind on the short end, but that yields a ratio of 1.5, pretty far from what you want.)

2. The hard way isn't really all the bad: print at the margins you desire, then the printer uses a larger paper size, and trims off the blank edges to your specs. That way you get exactly the shape and size you want.

You can probably see the downside: (a) printers rightly consider this extra work, as they have to trim every damn copy, and charge accordingly, as well as necessarily take longer; (b) modern POD, or rather, digital printers may constrain client options to standard sizes out of sheer logistic and labor constraints.

So if you want to go with the hard way, you'll have to find companies that are willing to do it, and you'll probably have to pay more. Neither is a deal-breaker, actually, and the only way to find out the details is to contact individual companies. These sorts of questions are not answerable using typical on-line bid forms, so I recommend email, or better, the telephone.

Best, Ron
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David Artman
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 08:03:58 AM »

Thanks for the response, Ron.

8.5x11 is closet out of the box, but I doubt that the book content will be enough to support that page size (i.e. it could end up, like, fifteen pages, unless I use HUGE fonts and too much whitespace). This is a little, tight game akin to Mechaton (but *ahem* hopefully more complete--I still get irked every time I see the "placeholder text" for Campaign Rules).

I was hoping to do full bleed as well (for colored section tabs) so perhaps an edge-trimmed 6x9 (landscape) would be the way for me to go? Chop an inch to 6x8, and I'm at 1.33 ratio again.

I'd be prepared for additional costs (or, rather, I intend to set my profit margin so low that passing up-charges on to the customer shouldn't be too abusive); but I am fairly certain that I want to stick with POD. I'll hit the phones, now, I guess....
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iago
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008, 06:27:28 PM »

Lulu definitely supports bleeds, and the format of AGON may come close to what you're after.
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JustinB
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2008, 06:31:43 AM »

Thanks for the response, Ron.

8.5x11 is closet out of the box, but I doubt that the book content will be enough to support that page size (i.e. it could end up, like, fifteen pages, unless I use HUGE fonts and too much whitespace). This is a little, tight game akin to Mechaton (but *ahem* hopefully more complete--I still get irked every time I see the "placeholder text" for Campaign Rules).

I was hoping to do full bleed as well (for colored section tabs) so perhaps an edge-trimmed 6x9 (landscape) would be the way for me to go? Chop an inch to 6x8, and I'm at 1.33 ratio again.

I'd be prepared for additional costs (or, rather, I intend to set my profit margin so low that passing up-charges on to the customer shouldn't be too abusive); but I am fairly certain that I want to stick with POD. I'll hit the phones, now, I guess....

Full bleed is pretty expensive and most of the POD printers would consider dispersed color pages in a book to be "full-color," also known as 10X the basic print costs for black and white. Just something to keep in mind based on the prices I've been quoted.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2008, 06:42:04 AM »

Hi there,

That's all true, Justin, but we're hitting a slight grey area - if one prints at non-full-bleed (i.e. normal), then trims in such a way that full bleed results, it might not be an extra cost above the trim. 'Cause that's the way one gets full bleed anyway, is by trimming. That's a big maybe and has everything to do with that particular company, that particular representative, their interest in retaining you as a customer, and other intangibles. So the upshot is, one has to make a lot of calls to find out.

That point about the color is a good one. David, you might want to brace for the color-printing costs. I hope you can find a printer who charges color prices only for the indicated pages. I think Tim Kleinert was able to print color plates in The Mountain Witch without paying "full color" for the whole book, but that company is no longer reliable, and who knows, policies about that might change around at any given company too.

The book's physical design sounds very cool and well-conceived, so I hope you find a good deal and share the information here.

Best, Ron
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guildofblades
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2008, 08:06:51 AM »

I'm pretty sure our new Xerox can print B&W and color together like that. Or at least, its suppose to be able to auto detect B&W and Color pages and charge for the appropriate one in our service contract. Of course, that is assuming that your B&W would truly register as B&W. I remember hearing some other presses would charge up the color rates on certain grayscale images. So that would certainly be something I would have to check with.

But also, we won't be doing true POD and instead have minimum runs of 10 units. Plus all books we do print will be printed "2 up" then trimmed down and bound. Its the only way it makes economical sense. On the plus side, it means we won't charge extra for full bleed so long as we are able to still run (and trim) the job using 11" x 17" paper, but its not true POD so not exactly what you were looking for.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com
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Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing Group
http://www.guildofblades.com
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