In this blog, CUA Press hits the road! We took a trip to visit one of our printers, Maple Press, where we explored the manufacturing processes our books undergo. While at Maple, we were able to get a close up look at the machinery, the bindery, and the warehouse where our books are stored.
The People Side of Printing
After a scenic drive to York, PA, we arrived at Maple Press for a grounds and operations tour. We kicked things off with a meet and greet of the management team. Here, we met James Wisotzkey (President and CEO), Chris Benyovszky (Vice President of Operations) and Andrew Van Sprang (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). In this initial meeting, we learned about the many different roles each department undertakes, the history of Maple Press, and the stages a book sees during its printing journey.
Jumping right into the people side of printing, we shortly made our way to customer service, where we learned how Maple processes printing jobs from various customers, including CUA Press. Here, we got to see the other side of where our Print on Demand files go before hitting print.
Just down the hall, we ventured over to where the pre-press process happens. In the pre-press process, book files are checked over for any font issues, illustration resolution quality, and other digital scanning to ensure the highest possible quality will be produced in print.
Ready, (Off)set, Go! All About Printing
Here is where the action happens: the printing rooms! We learned all about short-runs, long-runs, sheetfeeding printers, and the digitization of the printing industry. Maple Press introduced us to their new InkJet Press, which can “run at speeds of up to 800 linear feet per minute” and is “comparable to the speeds of a web offset press” (maplepress.com). While touring the printing facilities, we learned about the changes in machinery of the last century, and even the past decade, which has revolutionized the industry to be faster, smarter, and more precise.
As we walked toward the Bindery, we already had an idea of the scale in which books are made, even in traditional printing, not just digital. Thousands of copies are made, into small sections called “sigs” and are eventually bound together by industry standard glue. In fact, most books are glued rather than sewn, given the strength of the glue itself being able to match the quality. In a moment that felt quite surreal, we even saw our books in the printing process. In the bindery, we found copies of Early Modern Catholic Sources stacked neatly in preparation for cutting and binding!
Wrapping Up at The Warehouse
As we wrapped up our time with the Maple Printing Press, we paid a quick visit to the Maple Warehouse located in Lebanon, PA. Here, we watched the organization, packing, and shipment preparation of all sorts of books, but most excitingly, our very own CUA Press books (including The Lublin Lectures, as pictured to the right)
Thank You, Maple Press!
Shortly before leaving, Maple Press generously gave us each a Maple binded notebook, and a cupcake, before we departed back to the District. Thank you Maple Press, especially those who walked us through the facilities, for hosting us!