Printing and Publishing

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Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning: originators and developers of content also provide media to deliver and display the content.

Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works such as books (the "book trade") and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as micropublishing, websites, blogs, video games and the like.

Publishing includes the stages of the development, acquisition, copyediting, graphic design, production – printing (and its electronic equivalents), and marketing and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary works, musical works, software and other works dealing with information, including the electronic media.

Publication is also important as a legal concept:

  • As the process of giving formal notice to the world of a significant intention, for example, to marry or enter bankruptcy;
  • As the essential precondition of being able to claim defamation; that is, the alleged libel must have been published, and
  • For copyright purposes, where there is a difference in the protection of published and unpublished works

Advantages and Disadvantages of Print Publishing:
Although technology has crept into our businesses and our homes, it has yet to take over our entire being. In the Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Sven Birkerts suggests, "A word on the page at some level partakes of--participates in--the whole history of words on pages, plays in that arena. Reading it, we accept certain implicit notions…The word on the screen is not opaque, does not dead-end; it is emergent, manifests itself physically from a somewhere inaccessible to the reader."

Reaching your Audience:
One of the significant advantages to print publishing exists in distribution. While printing costs are significantly higher than those involved in publishing on-line because of actual paper and printing costs, the advantage of print publishing is actually placing text in the hands of your audience. In cases of on-line publications, one can only direct someone to a site. The chances of them sitting down in front of the computer, looking up the publication, and reading from it can only be motivated by the individual to find the publication or stumble across it while searching the Web. However the time it takes to get print into the hands of your audience is also an important consideration. With the accessibility of information on the Web, something like a newspaper's current events can easily be updated and made readily available to the public at a moments notice.

In the case of publishing works in print, writers have the advantage of targeting an audience as well as making a profit. In magazines, advertisers supply added income bookstores bring in a great deal of money as well.

Reader Capabilities:
Printed publications also have the advantage of creating a design based on whatever capabilities the publisher has with regard to fonts, layout, photos and overall size of the publication. Once a printed publication is in the hands of the reader, the only requirements remain are for readers to be able to see and to read. This is not necessarily so easy with on-line publications. Since they are limited by the technological limitations of the users screen and memory capacity.

However, being printed also indicates a problem in itself. With a text that must be finalized by the printing press on paper, the final product is relatively unchangeable. Deadlines are created, met and taken to press. Once the proof is approved, the machines do all the work without comprehending any possible major or minor errors in the text. When the press and bindery are done, there's no turning back. If you have overlooked any details, it is up to your readers to notice. But with on-line publishing, there is a much greater amount of ease in editing. If a date is wrong, a word misspelled or tense out of place, a simple correction can be made to the file and updated on the Web.

Along the same line as editing, another disadvantage to print publishing is the time that it takes. Not only does the writing and editing take time, but time must also be allotted for the printer. And remember, it's a one shot deal. Though online publications take quite a bit of time to edit and keep-up, they hold that option for change.

Though Online publishing is growing in importance, publishing in print continues to maintain prestige as an authority and a viable source of because the idea remains that anyone can put anything on the Web, and print editors and publishers are held to a tighter standard and will only print what is worthwhile or valuable.

For print publishers, receiving submissions varies depending on writers' knowledge of the publication. For many book publishers, they have too many submissions coming in.

Reflection on the Freestone:
On a personal note, Dawna is involved in the production of a 24-page alumni magazine produced by the English department at CSU. While we also put the Freestone on-line, our primary audience exists in view of the printed page. Distributing approximately 3750 copies to English department alumni, present and prospective students, and faculty, nearly every copy gets glanced at by at least one reader. We mail 2500 to alumni and the remainder are distributed within the English dept. The only major stress involved is that once it is printed, the final product goes out-typos and all!

Printing and Publishing