This weekend, book fans working at Eddison Books and sister company Editions Leduc gathered in Barcelona to visit two of our printers!
The weekend started on Thursday night with a mad dash from the airport to the hotel for a 5 second shower before running out to a restaurant. At the airport, 5 Eddison Books employees were met with a ‘mini bus’ to take us into the city…. We were greeted by a whole empty coach!
Dinner for almost 30 people was eaten in a beautiful setting, an old warehouse now converted into an amazing El Nacional restaurant. We ate delicious Spanish tapas, lots of seafood and the classic patatas bravas. This was the first dinner bringing together the London based Eddison Books and the Paris based Editions Leduc since these two publishing companies merged under the same ownership.
After breakfast – and a rousing speech from owner Stephane Leduc – we walked to a huge bookshop in Barcelona. 4 teams of publishers were given the challenge of running around the shop and finding
- The ugliest book,
- The most beautiful book,
- A book printed by Eddison Books,
- A book printed by Editions Leduc.
The teams had varied strategies, from running off in pairs; picking as many books as possible; to wandering around aimlessly.
We had fun looking around, having big (almost heated) debates within teams on the merits and ugliness of each book. This was my personal opinion of the ugliest book (it got voted off) but as I’m writing the blog post I can proclaim it the winner.
The winner was declared to be an amazing silk covered Chinese art book, drawing gasps of admiration from the book lovers gathered around.
Next activity was visiting a printing factory! I love watching How its Made and watching factory machines, so I was so excited to see a printers in action. On arrival we were served mini chocolate croissants (very important detail of my day) before being shown to the factory floor.
Printing a book from A-Z
- First thing you see are huge rolls of paper being fed into a machine, out from the other side, reams of printed paper is streaming out, and being fed into another machine. I learnt that the books are printed in sections, and each section is printed multiple times in one go.
2. We watched them regularly inspect the quality of the printing, throwing away huge sections that weren’t right. Painful to watch! The bright colourful covers are printed on a specialist machine, flaps are folded and a laminate coating is applied.
3. Next all the sections are assembled in the right order. The books are double printed, so there are two books printed at a time. The sections are glued together and then the cover is glued on. It was very satisfying watching the cover get folded around the pages of the book.
4. Up next is the guillotine! Very satisfying to watch the blade slam through the book, leaving a beautiful clean line. The machine is cleverly designed to move the flaps out of the way so that the pages of the book can be shorter than the flaps (annoyingly they didn’t design this machine with viewing in mind… something about safety and a big blade)
5. The 20 or so publishers and I were in book heaven watching the brand new books exit the production line, completely clean and untouched. They definitely had that new book smell!
We were shown the paper towers room, reams of paper just waiting to be turned into books! The paper obsessed production managers were having a great time. Here is Marie hugging a stack of particularly good quality paper.
After all that excitement we were now quite hungry. Lunch was served on the amazing Barcelona seafront. Delicious fresh Tagliatelle and mussels, risotto and generous amounts of wine. A couple of people had to rush off to catch a flight before dessert was served – don’t worry, no blackberry yogurt ice-cream was left uneaten (confession: I had 3 bowls).
Lunch left us feeling happy and proud to be working for Eddison Books with such a nice team of people!