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THE BIBLIO FILE is a podcast about "the book," and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging, long-form conversations with best practitioners inside the book trade and out - from writer to reader. Why listen? The hope is that it will help you to read, write, publish, edit, design, and collect better, and improve how you communicate serious, big, necessary, new, good ideas and stories...

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Feb 6, 2023

Andy Hughes is Senior Vice President of Production and Design at Knopf Doubleday, and I really wanted to know what he had to say.

During a recent conversation with Lizzie Gottlieb about her new documentary film Turn Every Page, listen here, she mentioned that she regretted not being able to include what Andy had had to say about producing Bob Caro's books. So, I contacted Andy and asked him to give me the goods. He kindly agreed to talk.

He's superb on what goes into the making of a good book. Going back 40+ years and returning to the present, he talks to me authoritatively about everything from hot metal and linotype machines, to mainframes and desktop computers; locked pages, repros and offset printing plates, to goldenrods, long galleys, and folded signatures; Smythe sewing and cloth cases to off-shore and laser printing, print on demand, paperless offices and remote proof-reading. Basically all the stages of book manufacturing, how they've evolved over the years that Caro has been writing books, and how the standards of production have and have not been maintained or replicated since that first edition of The Power Broker was published in 1974.

Among many other things we learn that Caro has chosen not make e-book versions of his work available to the public.

I love that.