Barbara Scheuer, Overall Production Manager & Environmental Officer
In production, we work as an interface between the editors, product management, commercial staff, and sales. We turn the final manuscript into the finished book—physically and as an e-book. This job requires organizational talent, structured work, a high level of technical know-how, and creativity in equal measure.
The producers pour the content into the form. They are responsible for the choice of typeface, layout, format, materials, and finishes. We advise marketing and editorial staff on the appropriate layout and cover design for the respective target groups.
Each manufacturer oversees many different books in parallel, for which it organizes production, i.e. ensures that the schedule is adhered to, and coordinates every detail with the various service providers. The production department is responsible, for example, for commissioning typesetters, litho companies, and printers. Paper purchasing and basic printing negotiations take place centrally for all publishers in our publishing group. We have standards and framework agreements for many book formats, so that the majority of our books can be produced quickly and efficiently.
However, there are also special projects that are planned and designed completely individually. This is where the manufacturer can get creative: our consulting expertise is in demand when it comes to format, material selection, and finishing. A very special example is the magnificent volume of “It” on the occasion of Stephen King’s 75th birthday. For this lavish new edition, we engaged a well-known illustrator, and developed the design and finishing concept together with a designer. On the basis of various material samples, production, and editing jointly selected which material, colors, and components would best suit the book and target group—we are always working within the conflicting priorities of cost, time, sustainability, and effect.
Many production steps also take place almost invisibly in the background, but are just as important. In particular, the optimization of digital processes as well as the maintenance and editing of data and metadata have become indispensable in order to produce efficiently and on time and also to create accessible digital products.
Additionally, sustainability has long played a major role in the production of our books, and is therefore traditionally located in manufacturing. The use of environmentally friendly papers and low-pollutant, recyclable materials are core components of our daily work. We are constantly testing new materials for use in our books and advising our colleagues in the editorial and sales departments, as well as our authors. I’m very pleased to see how much this topic has become part of our colleagues’ minds.
Furthermore, we are always educating ourselves so that we can continue to give our authors’ stories the most beautiful packaging.