I used to believe that Italy, or Japan were home to great printers, but I have come to realize that there are great printers and producers of high-quality printed books everywhere. For the past 10 to 15 years many of the high-quality art books have been produced in China. Where a high- quality book gets printed depends on two factors: quality and cost. High quality books can be produced everywhere but China, for instance, can do it far cheaper than almost any other place in the world. So the next time you venture into a retail book shop’s art book section, pick up a few lovely books and see where they have been printed.
I mentioned Italy. Up until the latter part of the twentieth century, Italian publishers printed their books locally. When the cost factor came into play, I have noticed that many Italian publishers have switched print production to Romania. Same great quality but produced at a lower cost.
The beautiful book I want to share with you today, has a very interesting publication/printing story. The book is Japan Unveiled: Understanding Japanese Body Culture by Dominique Buisson, published by Hachette Illustrated, 2003.
This book was first published in French by Hazan, an imprint of Hachette-Livre, Paris France, with the title of Le Corps Japonais, in 2001.
The language translation was done by Translate-A-Book. Oxford and the typesetting by Organ Graphic, Abingdon. This English translation was published by Hachette Illustrated UK, Octopus Publishing Group, London. It was printed by Tien Wah, Singapore! A truly global effort – with an outstanding outcome. I personally believe that this book is one of the most beautifully illustrated books that I have held in my hands. And I must admit that I was shocked to discover that it was not produced and printed in Japan. This is today’s world, and the process absolutely works.
Look at the following illustrations and you will see what I mean.