Getting a book printed in 2015 is such a simple task that it is easy to forget that the printing process used to require a staff of dozens, if not hundreds. The New York Times, for example used to employ more than one hundred typesetters solely for the purpose of laying out each edition of the daily paper.
Open Culture posted a video yesterday that details just how much work used to go into printing that daily paper. Originally shot in 1978, the video is a documentary which focuses on the NYTimes’ printing operation as it switched from the obsolete hot-metal typesetting process to the phototypesetting.
As you can read in Wikipedia, hot-metal typesetting was nearly a century old by the time this film was recorded, but phototypesetting was still new. The latter process was still cutting edge when the film was recorded, but it too has fallen by the wayside. Thanks to modern computer tech, both printing methods are now equally redundant.
You can in fact design and lay out a newspaper today and have it printed, all without leaving the comfort of your own office. There are several vendors who offer this service, including HP and The Newspaper Club.
Isn’t it a shock just how much work used to be required to print a newspaper, and is now all done by computers?
image by stiefkind