First I want to thank all of you who have continued to drop by here even though it looks like nothing is happening. Since summer, a long series of events have kept me off-balance and scrambling for time. Without going into too much tedious detail, let me say that part of it had to do with the demise of my previous printer and the difficult decision to change from dye-based ink to pigment. That, and a house remodeling project that took entirely too long and which required me to keep track of a lot more details than I thought I would have to. In spite of all that I did manage to complete three of the four Metropolitan dust jackets, even though I’ve decided to hold one back so I can make it even better. More on that later
LONGER LASTING PRINTS
The printer issue is certainly worth writing about, since it involves a definite upgrade to the quality of output I can offer. My previous inkjet, an Epson 1280, offered very high resolution printing and the kind of brilliance and saturation of color that only dye inks, up to now, have been able to give. I was thrown into a quandary when it died because I was finding it harder to get paper of the size (17×22) and weight (7 mil) I’ve used for years that would work with dye-based ink. I was being forced to move to roll paper instead of sheets and my fear was that the curled paper would be difficult to flatten for shipping. Paper weight is an issue because more and more inkjet paper is only being offered in “photographic” and “art print” weights of 10 mil. and more. Those papers are too heavy, in my opinion, to work well as book jackets. Papers suitable for commercial digital printing are hard to come by in small quantities and are not rated for use with Epson printers.
After much research and back-and-forth, I decided to get an Epson R2880 which, though it used pigment inks and rolled paper, had the addition of a “Vivid Magenta” to liven up the reds occurring in many the jacket titles, and it purported to handle purples much better than previous pigment printers. i have to say that I’m very happy with the new printer and the new Epson UltraChrome K3 inks. The colors are richer and the ink is less prone to drying in the nozzles between print sessions. Resolution is higher than the 1280, but you probably won’t be able to tell that with the naked eye. I still prefer to print on sheets rather than use the roller attachment, so I’m hand-cutting whatever I need from the roll. I can still get two regular jackets from one 16.5×22 inch sheet.
The most important aspect of this is that now my jackets are all rated for even longer life, up to 108 years! This counts as archival in my book since most of the original McClurg dust jackets are showing color casts and shifts now that they’re in the 90- to 75-year range. You still have to protect your jackets from direct sunlight and scuffing, but that’s what Brodarts are for.
Of course I’ve never had a problem with the older jackets fading over the last 10 years, and I’ve never gotten complaints from any of my customers about it either. I’ve got them on my collection, in the front room which gets plenty of light, and they still look as good as the day I put them there. If anyone ever has a problem with fading or color shift on Recoverings dust jackets, he should contact me immediately and arrange an upgrade.