July 2, 2010

Lulu Printing Fail - Open Game Table Vol. 2

After nearly 3 weeks (no kidding...) of trying to provide Lulu with pre-press PDFs of Open Game Table Vol. 2 that would _not_ produce a RIP Error; I finally had success on Monday (see more here how/why the RIP Error was occurring). I have been fortunate in that I've been working with the same representative from Lulu since the start when my first PDF would not print on their off set printers, so I contacted her again and she did a great job telling me that my PDF printed just fine and that it was in the mail etc. I was psyched! For a while I thought that the whole project was going to crash because (for reasons I couldn't figure out for a LONG time, see below) my prepress PDFs of the manuscript just would-not-print. I spent HOURS slaving over the document in Adobe Acrobat, trying postscript, downloading Ghostscript, using Adobe Distiller directly, paying for a few third party apps that claim to "fix PDFs" (even though I couldn't see anything wrong with my PDF on my screen or in my pre-flight analysis). The PDF was just broken; it was a mystery.. until I turned off Ligatures in my document. As soon as I removed font ligatures -- Lulu then reported that VOILA! My PDF was ready to go.

Since Studio 2 is the distributor of OGTv2; I'm up against a deadline. So I ordered my galley proofs from Lulu using their super expensive rush order (~$80). The book arrived in three days. It looks awesome. The cover that is. But once I open it up... and start flipping through it... it's a different story altogether...

Either there's an Alien at Lulu trying to communicate with the mothership; or something really weird is going on. There are 12 other pages in the book that look like this -- but none of those pages look the way they do when viewed on screen from the PDF. I'm sure I'll get this resolved... it's just insanely frustrating when these sorts of things happen.

Back to the drawing board...

I'll keep you all updated when I finally have a clean / good galley proof in my hands...


  1. Hmm. My initial thought? It's a font problem. Darn, I wish I knew more about Acrobat. Is there a way to save the pages of the PDF as images? That would skirt the font issue. Otherwise, they'll have to have all the fonts you used.

  2. Originally it was a font issue (see the link in the post; but basically Distiller was duplicatting font thousands of times while I had the font ligatures enabled; soon as I turned that off the PDF dropped by about 80% is size; and all the fonts were embedded only once.)

    the strange thing is that several fonts display that crazy type; in seemingly random spots. 12 pages out of 156 and it's only parts of the pages, or in some cases, words.

    I'm going to produce the postscript version of my file and then see if that will work for them.


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