The Digital Proof — No More

Effective with orders received today (March 28, 2011) Ka-Blam will no longer provide a low resolution digital proof with your invoice.

I still think the digital proof was a good idea, but — especially of late — it’s largely not being used for the purpose we had intended. Since we build the printable document from the files users supply, then we created the digital proof primarily as a means to double check for proper pagination. But pagination errors are rare and more and more of late the digital proof has become a de facto proofing system. The problem with that is that proofing is slow and expensive to do. We do not offer an actual proofing service. We’re not equipped for it, we’re not billing it, and we simply cannot keep doing it. Time and energy that could be spent in printing, packing, and shipping orders — our core functions — is diverted into rebuilding printable documents over and over again and waiting for proof approval before we can proceed. That’s unsustainable, unfortunately. We’ve got to get back to doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

We’ve always required users to submit print-ready files. Our pricing and turnaround times have always been conditioned on the receipt of print ready files so this is not so much a change as a return to the way we “used to do it”.

If you have concerns about pagination — or if you’d just like to have a printed proof before placing a larger order — then we recommend (and have always recommended) that you order a printed proof first. To do this simply reduce your order quantity to “1″ copy when placing your order. We’ll ship that single proof copy out as quickly as possible.

As always we appreciate your business and thank you in advance for your support and understanding on this.

19 Comments

  1. Hey Guys!

    I can understand this turnaround with the digital proof but although pagination problems have never occured in any of my orders over the last 2 years quite often a proof has been *off center* leaving different width borders on the left and right of the panels..a quick message and a rework and its fixed before printing..Now if i have to order a hard copy proof and this happens will a second proof be sent out without any more charge to myself?

    Thanks
    Jason

  2. Ka-Blam,

    Duly noted and understood. On a related note, please see my two most recent posts in the message forum.

    Many thanks,

    MG

  3. Aww, crap. I liked getting the digital proof. Ah well. If it helps you guys work more efficiently, I guess removing it is a must.
    Also, are we going to hear about the t-shirt contest winners?

  4. Can’t say I’m entirely surprised. As a fan of the digital proof, I’m sorry to see it go, but I’d rather it go than see you guys continue to needlessly lose more hours in the day by keeping it around.

    Whatever you need to do, I say! :)

  5. Hi,

    What about orders placed before March 28th, that had pagination errors in their digital proofs? I’m wondering because I contacted you guys on March 22, about a blank/missing page in the digital proof which you had sent me earlier on that day but I never heard back from anyone. Now it’s almost a week later and I still haven’t heard back. I even tried sending a message to check in, at the end of last week.

    Thanks ahead of time, I’m just getting nervous because even with the expedited shipping, MoCCA is drawing closer and closer.

    Thanks,
    Trent Thompson

  6. that makes total sense to me.
    i just automatically figured, buy a single copy of the book to check it out and make sure everything is good.

    wait… were the digital proofs, the pdf’s we would get in our emails?

  7. All orders placed before today will still get their digital proofs.

  8. Thanks, Barry–

    So does that mean you’ve corrected our file? Just wondering since the invoice said not to pay it if there was an issue with the proof.

    Should we go ahead and pay the invoice, or should we wait to receive a new proof?

    Thanks again,
    Trent Thompson

  9. Jason,
    The issue you address is actually a case of where the proof was sort of getting in the way. The “off center” thing you mentioned wasn’t a problem with the printable document at all. It was a problem ONLY with the proof. You see, because the proof simulates trims we have to run a script on the proof that digitally removes the area outside the trim lines — even though in the actual print those areas MUST be present and printed in order for us to have the bleed space we need to trim your book. If the person creating the proof fails to run that “trim” script on the proof before it is posted then what you get is a low rez version of the actual untrimmed printable document, which is — by design — slightly “off center” because it has yet to be trimmed on the open side. I hope that made sense to you.

  10. We’re running a bit behind on Wondercon orders — see the note on the front page — but as soon as we put those to bed we’ll be announcing the t-shirt winners.

  11. Trent,
    NEVER pay an invoice until change has been completed–which this will be happening less and less as this new system gets implemented.
    We see an order marked as paid and as we state on the invoice payment of that invoice means you are giving us your blessing to print the book.
    So never pay an invoice until your changes are done :O)
    Jen

  12. Hi Barry
    Thanks for answering my post..I understand completely what you are saying and this will stop me having to send messages and wait for a response as this was the only problem i ever experienced with the proofs..I presumed as they were *off* it was something that needed to be addressed before printing.

    Thanks
    Jason

  13. Sorry to see the end of this.

    As we’ve discussed elsewhere, for creators outside the US the cost of ordering a single copy of a graphic novel is disproportionately expensive and this effectively means we will therefore have to proceed with orders without having seen ANY kind of proof.

    I understand your reasoning but, while the impact on US creators may be small, it’s a huge step backwards for the rest of us.

  14. DAJB,
    No, it doesn’t really.
    What this means is that you have to proof your files.

    Make sure the pages are to spec and what you want them to be. If you follow the tech specs and use one of the many templates you don’t need a proof. Most people aren’t checking it for pagination purposes for which it is intended…they are editing their books and then making further changes which is what bolloxes the whole thing.

    During our self-publishing days before digital printing was possible you sent your art boards off, and 6 weeks later 3000 comics landed on your doorstep. You weren’t given a proof. What you got was what you sent. There weren’t templates, there wasn’t step by step guides that there are now.

    Have your friends proof your book. Then give it to your Mom. Then take it back to another friend.

    Read your book and the tech specs, spell check, size the pages right and it’s all good.

    That’s all it means.

  15. It really shouldn’t be a step backwards at all. The only — and I stress the word ONLY — purpose of the digital proof is to double check that we paginated correctly. That’s really all it can tell you. The digital proof can’t tell you print quality. It can’t tell you color value or density. Pagination is all it can tell you — and if you’ve named and numbered your files properly (and intuitively) then any pagination concerns should be alleviated. If you’ve done your pre-press work — thoroughly checked for typos, etc and if your files are built to our technical specs — if you’ve sent them at the right dimensions and proper dpi, if you’ve confined your text to the live area while extending bleed images all the way to the edges of the canvas — then you’ll be fine.

  16. Thanks Jenni for the help on the invoice. I’m wondering if the page correction was made or a heads up on the matter. I ask because there hasn’t be no response on our messages. Thanks for all the help.

  17. If digital proofing makes you more inefficient, than you should go ahead. But, It is better to find out the errors during the digital proofing stage.

  18. No, respectfully … it’s NOT. It’s better that you proof the pages properly BEFORE you send them to us. We’re not your editor. We’re not your publisher. We’re a printer.

  19. I feel the need to ask for a clarification.

    When we do the first-single-copy order for a “physical proof”, and we find we need to do any corrections, is there a charge to update the order/project?

    I remember that the first (and presently only) book I printed here, had to have a page corrected after I already had one printed and mailed to me… but I don’t recall a charge to do so (I also think this was before the digital proofs, but I could be mistaken).

    So, I wanted to clarify if there was any sort of fee.

    Also, without the digital proof verification (which was a point at which we could remove our print files from our temporary online storage locations), when will be the time that we know we can free up the space we use to hold our files?

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