Not only have we completely re-designed and re-launched the
site itself, but we’ve also taken a bold step into uncharted territories… we
are doing what many members always thought we should – we are making the publication
of WEbook books a reality.
We are now proud to be able to say that we are a publisher. We
publish and we print real WEbooks, by real WEbook members, for the world to buy
through our WEbook store!
‘“On the way?” haven’t
they been saying that for ages?’
Well yes we have, but there’s a good reason for that – we’ve
been trying to find the best way that we can supply WEbook titles to the store,
to our customers and to our authors. We went through a lot of different
options, but because the last thing that we wanted to do was compromise on
quality we decided that the best way to print our titles was to find a POD
printer that outshone all the others.
We searched high and low before deciding upon CPI’s Antony
Rowe. Not only is Antony Rowe perhaps the happiest factory we have ever come
across - think Santa’s elves but without the silly hats and operating much heavier machinery - but it’s also a
place where we know that the quality of our WEbooks is assured.
“But what’s POD?”
We’re glad you asked – POD is short for ‘Print on Demand’ – this
means that we are able to print our titles only when someone wants to have one.
Not only is this great for the environment, but it’s also nice on everyone’s
pockets - including the customers’. When someone makes a purchase from the
wonderful new WEbook store, a very complicated piece of code sends a message to
Their machines whirr into action; the book is printed,
bound, packaged, and sent out directly to the customer!
Easy as ABC… or is it?
This week, we took a trip down to Eastbourne where Antony Rowe
is based to see our very first WEbook title come hot off the press!
The Factory Floor at Antony Rowe
The Making of the Very First WEbook Book
To make any book, there are a number of important stages
that the book-to-be (or paper) has to go through before it’s ready to be
shipped off and delivered to its eagerly
awaiting reader. Each book is made
specifically for each individual order, so when you order a WEbook think about
it going through this process - especially for you!
To begin with, the inside of the book is printed onto individual
A3 sheets of paper, prepared as blocks. The blocks of paper you can see in the
picture were fed into the machine, and all of the wonderful words written by
our WEbook authors printed onto the paper - which then became the pages of our very
Cleverly, and thanks to some seriously snazzy technology, every
sheet of paper is given its own individual barcode, which is scanned at each
stage of production – so there is never a chance of anything getting lost...
So, now that all the pages were printed, it's on to the
To make the cover, Anthony Rowe use a really special piece
of kit called an iGen 3 – this printer is so special that it’s kept locked away
in a sealed room - and only a select few are allowed inside… (The WEbook team
were lucky enough to be some of those people for the day!)
The iGen 3 then printed out the cover for our book, which was
then laminated as we’d requested – clever!
(If you look closely at the picture below you can see some
of those barcodes we mentioned before!)
Now that we had the two most crucial elements of the book –
the pages and the cover – we were ready to bind…
Binding is a different process for paperback and hardback
books, at Antony Rowe, the hardback binding is done by hand (more on this
later!), but as we were creating paperbacks to begin with we took a closer look
at how this happened first.
The pages are fed by hand into the machine by the nice gentleman in the picture on the right (we cannot guarantee that this exact gentleman will make your book, but we can guarantee that someone else equally as nice will be the one to do it).
Then the binding machine did its magic and out popped… the
uncut bound book!
Now that we were almost there, the excitement was getting to
us a little and the only thing left to do was to trim the book down to size.
So, we took the book into the cutting room where lots of
people sit with giant pairs of scissors and cut the books to size by hand… um,
no, not really. Actually there’s another fantastic machine that did this
automatically for us back out on the factory floor…
The cutting machine was operated by another lovely gentleman,
who kindly explained to us that it was best to keep our fingers clear while it
was doing its cutting…
The machine knows exactly how small (or big) to cut each
individual book because those clever barcodes keep all of the information
that’s needed for this on them. There’s no opportunity for error here!
Once the book has been cut down to size… well, that’s it!
We’ve got a finished book:
there you have it, the first ever WEbook, printed by Antony Rowe!
Once we’d jumped around for joy
for a while, we were directed over to the hardback binding area to see how this
process is done…
As we mentioned before, each
hardback book is made by hand - in the image below you’ll be able to see one of
the Antony Rowe workers measuring up the hardback cover for another client’s
When we start to make hardback WEbooks available to buy,
which we will be doing very soon, this is exactly how your copies will be made
Once the process of sizing up the cover was complete, the
book was fed into the casebound cover machine and the hardback binding was
done, ready to be fed through the binder and then into the cutting machine - simple
So, that’s how WEbooks are made! Every time you order a
WEbook title from the store, you can envisage your individual order being
created especially for you by the wonderful team at Antony Rowe…
We’d also like to take this moment to thank the team at
Antony Rowe for helping us to make this possible and for completely bowling us
over with the fantastic operation that they run.
WE are a reading, writing and thinking community. We work together to help each other become better writers through supportive and critical community conversation.
WE bring together tens of thousands of writers, published authors, avid readers and almost 100 established literary agents, to create an energetic hub of activity where talented writing is celebrated and undiscovered gems can be rooted out and polished into literary diamonds.
WEareWEbook and we believe that a collaborative community input is the key to creating the perfect book. So come and become part of the WE and show us why you should be the next big thing!