Printing factory 1.

10. Spilling the ink
The printer's job

China, workshop of the modern world ...

Books are printed in countries all over the world. Journey of a Book was printed in China.

Years ago it would have been printed in Britain, but today it's cheaper to print some types of books on the other side of the world. It makes them less expensive for bookshops, libraries, schools and you to buy.

Printing factory 2.

Printed on big sheets of paper

At the factory in China, printing machines printed Journey of a Book onto big sheets of paper. The sheets were printed on both sides with all the pages for the book. The pages were side by side, scattered across the printing sheets.

The printing sheets were much bigger than the actual pages of the book. The book has 32 pages in it – but it was printed onto just two big sheets of printing paper:

  • Sheet 1 – makes 16 pages (8 on each side)
  • Sheet 2 – makes 16 pages (8 on each side)

Folding the sheets

Printing factory 3. Printing factory 4.

When the ink was dry, folding machines folded the big sheets in half. Then they folded them in half again ... and once again.

With each fold the big sheets became smaller until they were almost the actual size of the book.

Folded sheets are known as sections. Each section is a group of pages from the book in the correct order:

  • Section 1 = pages 1 to 16
  • Section 2 = pages 17 to 32

The two folded sections were put together. They started to look like the finished book.

Cutting the sections

The sections were moved to a guillotine (say: gill-o-teen). This sharp knife cut away the edges of the sections. Cutting the sections did two things:

  • It made the pages the correct size.
  • It cut the pages from the big sheets – they     were now loose pages.

Binding the pages to the cover

Somewhere else in the factory the book cover was printed. The cover and the inside pages were all sent to the bindery. This was where the cover was bound, or joined, to the pages. Strong glue was used to stick the pages to the book spine.

After printing and binding, the finished copies of Journey of a Book were packed into strong cardboard boxes. Information labels were stuck onto the boxes to say what book was inside them, who they were for, and where they were going to. The boxes were stacked inside a warehouse.

The book is finished, but its journey isn't over yet. It's got to travel from China to Britain. How do you think it did that? You'll find out about the last step of its journey on page 11.

Images © Leo Paper Products Ltd