Monthly Archives: June 2013

An Alphabet of Celebrities by Oliver Herford

An Alphabet of Celebrities cover

An Alphabet of Celebrities cover. First published 1899.

Something slightly different this week…  An Alphabet of Celebrities by Oliver Herford. I wonder what today’s ‘celebrities’ would be…?

I have been working on some out-of-copyright works to create samples in various ebook/digital formats. I laid this one out in iBooks Author, and then exported it as a PDF and used that  to convert to a mobi file.  The iBooks Author version has selectable text and you can turn the ‘speak’ feature on. The mobi version is flat artwork only, but you can zoom into the illustrations. I looked at making a KF8 panel-view version, but I think it’s only worthwhile if you have text that really is too small to be read comfortably.

This is by Oliver Herford, apparently called by some, the American Oscar Wilde. See here on Wikipedia

Here are the imprint details.


Some sample pages (jpegs) below:

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A 1960s Prague Guidebook

Prague guidebook cover


I like to collect old guidebooks of places I’ve been…
I’m not sure where I picked this up. Love the illustration and the maps and the blue and orange spot colours on the insides.

The title page reads


an intimate guide to Czechoslovakia’s thousand-year-old capital,
its beauties, its art-historical monuments, its sights, ancient and modern, its romantic nooks and corners, with their historical and literary associations

It’s by Alois Svoboda and published in 1968 by Olympia.

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A small exercise in deciphering printing terms

shelves with books on

This week I spoke to a colleague about getting a quote for printing. When you ask for a quote the printer will, of course, ask you for the book spec – or what type of book it will be. This is what we got the quote on:

TPS: 198 x 129mm (B format)
Extent: 144 pages
Print + paper:
Insides – 1c/1c, for digital print copies 60gsm paper /for press copies 50gsm paper
Cover – 4c/0c, for digital print 240gsm cover board with gloss laminated finish / for press copies 220gsm cover board with gloss UV varnish finish
Binding: PB, perfect bound

Er – OK – so what have we asked for?

TPS: 198 x 129mm (B format)

TPS means Trimmed Page Size. So this is the dimensions of a page in millimetres height x width (therefore the dimensions of the inside pages). If you look at a paperback, you’ll see this is will be the overall dimensions of the book too. If you have a hardback TPS will be slightly smaller than the overall dimensions because hardback covers are usually slightly bigger than the pages inside.

B format refers a common book size.
B Format  198mm x 129mm

You might also see:
A Format 178mm x 110mm
C format ( or Demy or ‘trade’ paperback)  216mm x 135mm

Most of the books in the picture above are A or B format.

Extent: 144 pages

The extent is simply how many pages it will be. Incidentally – a page is one side of a sheet or leaf or piece of paper. So each piece of paper is two pages.

Many printers print books on large sheets of paper divided into eight page sections (this is called a signature). So each signature produces sixteen pages. If your printer uses this method they will prefer you to have a final extent (or page count) that is a multiple of sixteen. Have you noticed some books have lots of blank pages or an inordinate amount of adverts at the back? This is likely to be because the printer needed a multiple of sixteen pages, but there wasn’t enough text to fill a sixteen-page section. Typesetters and layout designers will employ all sorts of tactics to make the book fit a multiple of sixteen as closely as possible.

Insides – 1c/1c, for digital print copies 60gsm paper /for press copies 50gsm paper

This means that the insides will be printed with one colour on both sides (in most cases this will be black, but it is possible to use other colours). You say this as one back one, four back four, etc and you might see it written as 1/1 or 1 back 1. If it were a colour book it would be indicated by 4c/4c.

If the book is printed digitally it will be on 60 gsm paper (this is how heavy and therefore how thick the paper is) and if it’s printed on a press it will be on 50gsm paper. This is probably the printers’ ‘standard’ paper weight – there are other weights available, but weight affects the price.

Cover – 4c/0c, for digital print 240gsm cover board with gloss laminated finish / for press copies 220gsm cover board with gloss UV varnish finish

This is the cover – it will be colour on one side and not printed on the other. You might notice some books have printing on the inside of the cover – sometimes this will be in one colour so 4c/1c and sometimes full colour 4c/4c. Again the weight of the cover board (usually a thin card) is specified. Gloss UV varnish is the protective finish the printer (or print finisher) will give the cover. This is a very common finish that gives a shiny look.

Binding: PB, perfect bound

This is a paperback (PB) and it is perfect bound. This means that the pages are trimmed to size all the way around, the cover is wrapped around the book block and it’s all glued into place. This is the usual way of binding paperbacks these days.

Hardbacks are usually section-sewn and casebound. The book is formed of folded sections (usually of 32 pages) which are sewn together through the fold.

The pictures below show a perfect bound paperback (note you can see the glue), an old section-sewn paperback, a casebound hardback and a photo showing the stitching through the fold.

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Books and illustrators from my childhood number 7: Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain

Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain – Reader’s Digest 1973. Not at children’s book, but my parents bought this in the 70s and I pored over it for hours and days. I knew every page.

It was divided into geographic areas with a map at the beginning of each section. The map showed symbols according to the topic of the entry – from fabulous beasts to witches and wizards. (I love a map anyway, but that’s another story.)

Map spread from Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain

Map spread

I found it again in a second-hand shop in Hastings a few years ago.

The book was cornucopia of treasures – perfect to dip into. But, as a child, some of it was deliciously scary – tales of screaming skulls, ghosts and witches.

There were several artists – this one had a sort of cross-hatch style, that feels very intricate and time consuming.

To add a note to this: I did a little investigating and it turns out this artist is Robin Jacques. See here He is the brother of the famous British actor Hattie Jacques.

St Dunstan and the Devil from Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain

St Dunstan and the Devil

Spread from Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain


And here’s our Hertfordshire story – Catherine Ferrers – the Wicked Lady.

Spread from Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain

The Wicked Lady

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I’ve been a bit quiet lately… (or the week I built my website)

…This is because I’ve just gone freelance. Yes – it’s now up to me to find people to do edit-y things for, for money, on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis.

When I went freelance people the first thing most people said was: ‟Have you got a website?” and ‟Well I’ve got my blogs…” didn’t seem to cut it.


I noticed that my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription included Muse – a program that allows you to create websites without coding, so I thought I might as well give that a go.

So I rolled my sleeves up and got stuck in with the help of the amazing training website. I’m really pleased with what I ended up with, by myself and with no coding. It’s great for my needs (so that people can see what I do and contact me). I’ve even made tablet and mobile sites and my own little icon in the browser address bar.

screenshot of

Website screen shot

And what’s with the hares?

Well hares are usually pretty shy, elusive and solitary, but I have found a place where they gather – albeit a long way off. On the day I went officially freelance I was walking in the woods with my husband and two hares came out on to the track and came up close to me. I’m not superstitious, but as hares are meant to represent independence, swiftness, growth and new beginnings, it seemed like a good omen to me – so I’ve adopted the hare as my symbol so to speak. And they are simply beautiful animals too.

Hare sitting

Ready for my close-up

Two hares

Hares approach

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