By the time the interior of the book is finalised, the cover design will be finished and ready to go, with all the files exported to be suitable to send to the printer and prepared for what is, for no clear reason, ominously named ‘the rip’. This is the digital conversion of design files from PDFs into files that printworks machinery will understand – it often involves breaking files up into separate components before they get stuck back together again at the end.
Text-only books are printed on huge sheets of paper which are folded up into 16-page sections and then bound together, either by sewing them or gluing them, before the edges get trimmed down. The inside of the book then gets attached to the jacket or case, which has been prepared on a separate production line.
The books come off the production line, get packed into boxes by hand, and shipped off to wherever they go next – usually the majority to the warehouse, with a box of advance copies to HQ to check all is well. And voila – your book is finished and ready to go!