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The Making of Books

( Originally Published 1883 )



Various Sizes of Books.—There are few matters connected with bookmaking of which the novice has so hazy an impression as in regard to the amount of matter in a given MS. When questioned by the publisher or printer as to this, the usual reply is that it will "make an ordinary-sized book " ; and the probabilities are that the idea of estimating the number of words in his MS. has never entered the author's mind.

In this connection the following suggestions are offered to authors:

1. Write on small sheets of paper—commercial note or letter size is preferable to a larger sheet. Write legibly,. and on one side of sheet only. Copy is frequently brought to the printer in such an illegible condition that it becomes necessary to have it re-written in the office before it can be placed in the compositor's hands.

2. All the sheets of MS. should be of the same size, and should contain as nearly as possible the same number of lines ; this facilitates the work of estimating the amount of matter and cost of printing.

3. The MS. should be paged consecutively throughout.

If the copy" is prepared with uniformity, as noted above, it is a comparatively simple matter to count the words in it, and it is very desirable that the author should be aware of this in talking with publisher or printer, as upon the size often depends, in a large measure, the availability of the MS.

With the knowledge of the number of thousand words in a given MS., the next question to be decided, in the course of book-manufacturing, is as to the style of volume it is desirable to make. Is the material planned for popular sale ? If so, a careful selection should be made of type, page, paper, binding, etc., that the cost may be kept at a moderate figure, and thus admit of a low publication price. If on the other hand the material is addressed to a more limited class of readers, it will probably be desirable to plan the volume upon an entirely different basis, making a larger and handsomer book at a higher retail price.

The expressions " quarto," " octavo," etc., which in former times designated, with tolerable accuracy, the size of the printed book, are now, unfortunately, by no means to be depended upon. This is due to the greatly increased variety of sizes of paper now manufactured, almost every publishing house having special sizes made for its own use. The terms " quarto," " octavo," etc., refer to the number of times the flat sheet of paper is folded. If, therefore, a common size of paper were used, as was formerly the case, the dimensions of the folded sheet, and of the book, could readily be estimated.

The sizes of printing paper commonly used in England are :

Imperial, 22 X30 inches.
Superroyal, 20 1/4 X 27 1/2 "
Royal, 20X25
Medium, 19X24 "
Demy, 17 1/2 X 22 1/2 inches.
Double crown,20X30 "
Post, 15 3/4 X 19 1/2 "

Much larger paper is generally used in the United States, owing to the greater size of American book printing-presses.

For ordinary purposes the dimensions of the paper planned for the two principal sizes of books are :

24 X 38 inches, or double medium, for octavo or sixteenmo.
23 X 41 for twelve, or duodecimo.

As before mentioned, these sizes are varied greatly by the requirements of the various publishers and printers.

A sheet of paper folded once forms a folio, and gives four folio pages (counting both sides of the sheet).

The sheet folded twice forms a quarto, and gives eight quarto pages.

The sheet folded thrice forms an octavo, and gives sixteen octavo pages. As explained before, it is more customary to print an octavo from Double Medium paper, and this will, of course, give thirty-two octavo pages.

The sheet folded four times forms a 16mo, and gives thirty-two pages.

The sheet folded five times forms a 32mo, and gives sixty-four pages.

Hitherto each successive fold has bisected the superficies of the page. But there is also the size 12mo to explain.

If a sheet be trisected, and then bisected, as in the annexed diagram, it gives by the four folds twenty-four pages, and is called a 12mo or duodecimo.

As before explained, it is now customary among American publishers to use double-sized paper, and this, of course, doubles the number of pages printed upon a sheet. Thus

A sheet printed 16mo contains (both sides) 64 pages.
A twelvemo contains 48 "
An octavo 32 "

Generally speaking, the dimensions of the four principal sizes of books are as follows :

Quarto . 9 1/2 X 12 inches
Octavo . 6 X 9 "
Twelvemo 5 1/2 X 7 3/4 "
Sixteenmo 4 1/2 X 6 1/4 "

When a decision has been arrived at in regard to the general dimensions of the proposed volume, the next question is as to the size of type and character of printed page.

The amount of material to be printed will, of course, in a large measure, decide the kind of type to be used, and, as a rule, the greater the number of words the smaller the type selected.

It is not our purpose to enter into the general technicalities of book-manufacturing, but we may mention and give examples of the sizes of type most frequently used in book and pamphlet work.

Specimen Page of Pica Type :

Washington Irving was born in the city of New York, April 3, 1783. He was the eighth son of William and Sarah Irving and the youngest of eleven children, three of whom died in infancy. He had four brothers and three sisters who lived to mature age, and whom, as I shall have occasion to speak of them in the course of my narrative, I here name in the order of birth : William, Ann, Peter, Catharine, Ebenezer, John, Sarah.

The parents of Washington came from the opposite ends of Great Britain : his father from the Orkneys ; his mother from Cornwall. The father was the son of Magnus Irving and Catharine Williamson, and his ancestors bore on their seals the three holly leaves, which are the arms of the Irvines of Drum, one of the oldest and most respectable families of Scotland, which dates its origin from the days of Robert Bruce.

According to a received tradition, in his secret and precipitate flight from Scotland from the court of Edward I, Bruce sought shelter in the tower of Woodhouse, the dwelling of an Irving of Bonshaw, who was chief of the name. Here he was harbored for some time, and on leaving, he took with him the eldest son of his host, whom he made his secretary and armor-bearer. The son accompanied him through all his varying fortunes, was with him when he was surprised and routed at Methven, in June, 1306, shared all his subsequent dangers and hardships, and was one of seven who lay concealed with him in a copse of holly when his pursuers passed by. In memory of his escape in this extremity of peril, Bruce assumed the holly as a device, and afterward gave it to his faithful secretary, with the motto, Sub sole sub umbra virens. The motto and the evergreen leaves, both having relation to his unchanging fidelity to his king in prosperity and adversity, in sunshine and in shade, have been the arms of the family ever since. Sir William Irvine, as he is styled in Nisbet's " Heraldry," was subsequently Master of the Rolls, and the charter is still extant, dated 4th October, 1324, by which the king conveyed to his faithful and beloved William de Irwyn, in free barony.

The foregoing specimens of type are given as ordinarily set, without spacing or " leads " between the lines. The appearance of a page, however, is very materially changed by the use of thin pieces of metal called " leads " placed between the lines of type, and this gives to the page a more open effect. This difference will be appreciated by comparing the two styles of small pica.

Leaded.

Archives of Medicine for 1883, a bi-monthly journal, edited by Dr. E. C. SEGUIN and Dr. R. W. AMIDON, with the assistance of many prominent physicians in this country and abroad, enters upon the fifth year of its existence. The Archives of Medicine will continue to be published every two months. Each number is handsomely printed in large octavo form, on heavy paper, and contains from 104 to 112 pages. Whenever necessary, illustrations of various sorts will be freely inserted, as in the past. The Archives would make this special claim upon the medical profession, that it is made up solely of original matter, in the shape of Original Articles, Editorial Articles, Reviews, and Records of Original Cases.

Solid.

Archives of Medicine for 1883, a bi-monthly journal, edited by Dr. E. C. SEGUIN and Dr. R. W. AMIDON, with the assistance of many prominent physicians in this country and abroad, enters upon the fifth year of its existence. The Archives Medicine will continue to be published every two months. Each number is handsomely printed in large octavo form, on heavy paper, and contains from 104 to 112 pages. Whenever necessary, illustrations of various sorts will be freely inserted, as in the past. The Archives would make this special claim upon the medical profession, that it is made up solely of original matter, in the shape of Original Articles, Editorial Articles, Reviews, and Records of Original Cases.

The sizes of type generally used for book work are pica, small pica, long primer, bourgeois, and brevier.

Measuring Type.—The standard of measure in type-setting in the United States is the em, or the square of the type used. In other words, the compositor is paid for the number of ems he sets. Of course the smaller the type the greater the number of ems in a given space.

This should be carefully borne in mind, for it not infrequently occurs that after a work has been estimated to make a given number of pages in a certain type, the author decides to use smaller type; and he is then surprised that the reduction in the number of pages does not make the cost of his work correspondingly less. As a matter of fact there will be the same number of ems whether the type be large or small, and the compositor, justly, receives the same for one hundred pages of long primer as for one hundred and twenty pages of pica. When the type in a book is mixed, each size is measured for itself.

Giving Out Copy.—In setting the type the MS. is divided up by the foreman of the composing-room into small divisions called " takes," and these are handed out in rotation to the compositors engaged upon the work.

Type-Setting.—The type is set up by the compositor in what is called a " composing-stick," this being held in the left hand, while the right hand dexterously takes the type from the case, and arranges the letters in accordance with the " copy." This " stick " holds a number of lines of type, and as it becomes filled, its contents are carefully lifted into a long tray called a " galley." When the copy contained in the "take" is finished, the type is secured and placed upon the proof press, and two impressions taken from it,—the compositor having first placed at the head of the " galley " his office number, in order that he may receive proper credit for the work done.

Office Proof.—One of these proofs is now sent to the proof-reader with the copy, the other being retained by the compositor as a voucher for his work. The reader now goes carefully through the " office proof," being assisted by a subordinate who reads to him, word by word, the author's MS. This proof is then returned to the compositor, who is. compelled to make in it all the corrections needed to make the proof conform to the copy. As the compositor is not. allowed any thing extra for these corrections, it is manifestly his interest to have his proof as " clean" or correct as possible.

Author's Proof.—After these corrections are made by the compositor he then pulls " another proof, and this, marked Revise," or " Author's," is sent to an assistant reader, who compares it with the " office proof" to make sure that all the compositor's errors have been properly rectified. The proof is then stamped with the date and despatched with the MS. copy to the author.

Correcting Proof.—On the two following pages is exhibited a specimen page of proof before and after corrections are made. This contains the principal corrections needed in ordinary proof, and the method of marking the same-on the margin. If proof is properly marked, it is not, necessary that it should be accompanied by a letter to publisher or printer reiterating these corrections. Indeed, such reiteration is always confusing and troublesome.

In correcting proof use a pen in preference to a pencil, and avoid all unnecessary marks on the margin of the proof. General directions to the printer should in all cases be written upon a separate sheet, and if they are sent by mail, they should be placed in separate envelopes. If enclosed with the proof, they subject this to the payment of letter postage.

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