Wednesday, May 31, 2017

BOOK BIZ | Outsourcing Design

Sendil Mourougane,
Lumina Datamatics.
On the first day of the 2016 BookExpo at the Javits Center, I shared the shuttle bus with Sendil Mourougane, who works for Lumina Datamatics, an outsourcing firm for book publication.

We talked about what his company does in the book publication supply chain that stretches from the author to the bookstore.

Typically a book is prepared by the author in Microsoft Word, or is translated into Microsoft Word after being edited in another format. From Word the nascent book is translated by the publisher into a book-design program, the most popular of which seems to be InDesign.

Lumina Datamatics has a team of designers in Edison, N.J. and also a larger team in India. They can have people working on a book around the clock. They do work for large publishers like Houghton Mifflin, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan and Wiley. It is up to the publisher to pick the printer, although Courier Printing is a popular one (several printing plants go by that name; the biggest seems to be in Smyrna, Tennessee).

Most recently, as the advantages of print-on-demand publishing are becoming clearer,  some Lumina customers have been taking the design output and sending it to Ingram to generate and distribute print-on-demand books.

I asked about cost and Sendil said that it is usually quoted on a per-page basis, somewhere between $3 and $10 a page. Of course it depends greatly on how much work is required, and special services have their own fees. The following kinds of services are provided:
  • Translation to InDesign.
  • Design of pages, with photographs if required.
  • Composition — changes in type faces.
  • Text layout.
  • Copy editing against one of several style manuals (Chicago, MLA etc.)
  • Permissions for photos etc.
  • Curriculum-resource-package design. (As in McGraw-Hill Education packages.)
Bottom Line

I hadn't considered the benefits of turning a book over to a full-service design company and now I see them. That's the kind of thing BookExpo is for. Sendil can be reached at

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