Timeline for printing processes
You have chosen a print broker or printer and have signed a Sales Agreement and paid a down payment. Youhave received pdf instructions and possibly cover or dust jacket templates and have prepared your files per the printer's instructions for providing a print-ready pdf.
NOW YOU ARE READY TO START THE PRINTING PROCESS:
Once you have uploaded your pdf files to the printer or print broker's server and have received word that they are OK for printing, they will produce some type of proof and you will receive some high rez proofs and a set of lo-rez proofs of all the pages of your book, which act as a blueline for approval of pagination and position of art. The 4-C pages and how it is proofed is determined by the contract you agreed to. You may receive some sort of sampling of the color pages, usually 8 or 16 pages of high rez proofs, or some printers offer high rez color proofs of all the pages. Often we see first proof, and then either see second proofs or we can approve second proofs on-line. Each physical set of proofs take about 6-10 days to arrive from the printer. We send the set on to you with comments from us and talk over the phone about corrections. We basically continue proofing until everything is approved. We generally allow about three to four weeks for that process for a first-time publisher, although it can be accomplished in about 10 days if you have done it before.
FINAL PROOF APPROVAL:
When we have approved all elements of the book, then we generally see a final pdf of all the changes, and with that approval we are ready to print. Any high resolution color poofs need to be returned to the printer, so you need to return them to us at your expense, and we return them to the printer at our expense. They should be returned overnight. Those approved proofs are used by the pressmen for matching color on press.
Printing takes a few weeks generally. As soon as all the signatures have been printed and the pages stacked and placed on pallets ready for the next stage, you should see F & Gs. F & Gs are the folded and gathered signatures. We request them to be cut to size and stapledand two sets are sent to us. You receive one set from us to approve before binding. If there is anything wrong it can be caught at this time. If it is a printer mistake, he will reprint for free, if it is something you missed at proofing then you will have to pay to have the signature reprinted. When the F & Gs are approved then the book goes forward into folding and sewing or binding.
Binding is the final part of book manufacturing and differs depending on what type of binding you have ordered. Once binding is completed, you should receive an advance copy before the books are packed and ready to be shipped. Binding takes one to three days depending on the quantity and complication of the book. For example, some books require special binding or they have various elements such as multiple foil stampings that take longer than a standard book.
Once the advance copy is approved, the printer will pack the books and complete the documentation for customs. This normally takes one or two days. Included in the quote is a door-to-door service, so the books will go to either your residence or to a storage facility. At this point any further advance copies are sent to the client.If you have an event that is less than 5 or 6 weeks away from the shipping ETD you should request a few cartons for that event. They will be sent the most economical way by air, so that will be rather expensive; you may also want some advance copies for reviews or for marketing. You should notify the print broker or printer at the start of printing what your advance copy needs are going to be and if you have a specific date you need books by you should talk about ths at the beginning of the entire printing process.
SHIPPING AND INLAND DELIVERY:
Once you books are packed, they may then be containerized at the plant or go to a freight forwarder for consolidation. Your shipment will most likely be LCL which is loose freight rather than a full container of your books. That means either other books will be in the same container or they may be packed with non-book products by the consolidator. Either way, your books have their own set of paperwork and it is noteworthy to say that each part of the shipment must be cleared before the container can be opened and sorted for inland delivery. All books in teh container is the best way, but you have no control of this. You should get to know your printer's freight forwarder and keep in touch during the transportation part so that you are well informed as to when the ship docks, and when the books are on their way to you from the port. This is a very complicated part of the process and Bolton Associates keeps tabs on the shipments and lets you know as much information as possible right up to delivery.
Below is a comparison of times it takes for printing in the US or printing overseas.
The above timeline builds in quality guarantees so that you know what your book will look like and that you are satisfied before binding and before shipping. These approval stages are now built into our schedules because it makes sense.
For a realistic schedule with plenty of time, please increase the above schedule by 1-2 weeks. Schedule any book signings or launches 2-4 weeks after the proposed arrival date of your book.