One of the best things about this job is watching an author see their book come to life in actual edited, typeset and bound form, so the afternoon we spent with debut author Hayley Barker at the printing press was truly brilliant.


CPI in Chatham is the place where that new book smell we bookish people love is born, and where machinery meets art. There, they typeset, print and bind 100 million books a year, almost 2 million a week, and we were lucky enough to be able to visit to watch Hayley’s debut novel, Show Stopper, being bound. The machines are all so fast it’s impossible to get any decent photos, but we saw Show Stopper in sheet form, with the cover newly glued on, and finally, cut and ready to meet readers. It was a brilliant afternoon and we loved seeing Hayley’s face as she watched her book come off the line and into her hand. A truly magical moment!


Here’s the glue before it’s heated – this is what gives books the smell we all love.


Hayley with her “third baby” in sheet form


Hayley with one of the first finished copies!


Show Stopper will be published on 1st June by Scholastic.