Printer Credits

March 1, 2019
colophon

Colophon of the Aldine Press

Having grown up in an age of ever increasingly sophisticated advertising, I’m amazed at the poor way printers represented their work in the printers’ credits I see in the older books we work on at Distributed Proofreaders.

Printers’ credits? I’m not sure what the proper name is. I’m speaking of the two or three lines near the beginning or end of a book where the printer’s name, address, and any other information appear.

I’m not sure of the purpose of this information appearing in a book. Perhaps it helps support a publisher’s claim that the book has been published in a particular country and is therefore protected by that country’s copyright laws. It doesn’t appear to be in every book, so it can’t have been a legal requirement to include it. Printing companies presumably had established reputations. Some may have been known for quick typesetting and turnaround, some for low prices, some for accurate technical work or quality binding. Publishers must have needed to know these reputations to select an appropriate printer for a particular job. I hope publishers weren’t depending on the two or three lines of printed identification to identify the quality of a potential printer’s work.

No, I don’t think this would have been the way printers were presenting themselves to publishing houses for future business. I expect printing companies advertised to publishers in some other way to establish business relationships. However, the printer’s credit in a book is the only way the printers are known to the reading public. In any case, I’d think they’d want to put their best foot, er, font and printing quality forward! I’d think they’d want to at least meet the quality of the rest of the book they printed.

In the early days of European printing, printers were often also the publisher, editor, bookseller, and even author or translator. The famous Aldine Press of Venice was one such printing firm, engaging giants of humanism such as Erasmus to produce translations of ancient classics imprinted with its distinctive dolphin colophon.

By the 19th Century, with specialization, the printer’s role had become separate, and the colophons belonged to the publishers. In some cases, printers may have wanted to omit a printer credit to avoid potential prosecution for printing banned or pirated books. But books containing printers’ credits that are poorly printed neither protect the printer from prosecution nor present the printer’s capabilities in a favorable light.

The printed book itself demonstrates the printer’s quality of work, but I’d expect the information naming the printing firm in the book to represent their best work. Printers’ credits first caught my eye as representing the worst example of printing in a book! I often questioned whether this blob of text had been originally printed in a book or just rubber-stamped crookedly after the fact onto the page.

As I found myself looking to see how poorly the printers’ credit looked in each book, my impression was that they typically use the worst font and have the blurriest impression of anything in the book. It’s as if they were trying to make the credit look as bad as they could. Besides the rubber-stamp look, the printing impression often looks incomplete, part of letters missing or blurred. Blobs of ink fill in the open spots of letters. But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some examples.

Let’s start with a few that have the rubber-stamp look:

printer credit

printer credit

printer credit

Here’s one with an unusual layout:

printer credit

Here’s one squeezed at the bottom of the last index page of a book, unevenly printed on a single line:

printer credit

 

Finally, here are a couple of quality printer’s credits to be the exception:

printercredit7

printercredit8

Perhaps now you’ll find yourself looking to see just how poor an impression these printers make! Or maybe you’ll find the high-quality entry that proves the exception.

This post was contributed by WebRover, a DP volunteer.


Crossword: Uncle Wiggily

December 1, 2018

Enjoy the holiday season with a crossword puzzle based on Uncle Wiggily’s Squirt Gun, a humorous illustrated children’s book of the early 20th Century, provided to Project Gutenberg by the volunteers at Distributed Proofreaders.

wiggily_crossword_grid image

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book — it’s easy and amusing — then decide how you want to proceed:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on.
  • Download the printable PDF version and print out the puzzle to solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.

Previous Crosswords

Marjorie Dean: Marvelous Manager

The Last of the Bushrangers

 


A DP Crossword: The Last of the Bushrangers

June 30, 2018

Our popular crossword feature returns with a puzzle based on The Last of the Bushrangers, a lively 19th-Century account of the capture of a gang of Australian robbers, written by a former police superintendent who was there.

bushrangers_crossword_image

In order to solve the puzzle, first read the book — it’s entertaining — then decide how you want to proceed:

  • Use the interactive version. Just click on a blank square and the corresponding clue pops up. Type in the answer and click OK (or, if you’re stumped, click the Solve button). Clicking the Check Puzzle button at the bottom gives the number of errors and incomplete words, if you want to see how you’re getting on.
  • Use the printable PDF version to print out the puzzle and solve it the old-fashioned way, with your favorite writing implement. Check your solution with the PDF answer key. No peeking! (But who’s to know?)

Happy Puzzling!

This crossword was created by FallenArchangel, a Distributed Proofreaders volunteer, using the free EclipseCrossword app.


%d bloggers like this: