For the past six months or so I’ve been trying to learn everything I can about the publishing industry. A lot of that knowledge is political: it’s about business decisions that people are making in order to protect their interests, and how they’re leveraging others to achieve those goals.
There’s another kind of knowledge to the book business, however, and that’s the practical knowledge of how things are made. On the traditional side there’s book binding and printing; on the electronic cutting-edge there are document formats and presentation issues to confront. Because I know nothing about any of that, and because I need to know at least a minimal amount in order to make my work presentable in the literal sense, I’ve kept my eye out for useful sources of information.
Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer is one such site. Not only does Joel know a lot about how books are made, he makes that information available in language that anyone can understand. Straddling the transitional divide between print and online document preparation, Joel’s blog posts and site documents have already filled in a lot of blanks. And as I get ready to put together a collection of short stories for online publication and distribution, I find myself going to his site, and following his links, more and more.
— Mark Barrett