Publishers' Blog

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Friday  13 November  unlucky for some....

Thursday should have been perfect with the bulk delivery of the books to our warehouse in Birmingham a day ahead of schedule. However it was not to be. Early copies were delivered to Birmingham on Wednesday 11th November. The binding looks amazing and the overall book has a great feel. It was all very exciting but now reviewing where we are on Friday 13th even a totally non-superstitious scientist has to wonder...

However... scrap heap!

On closer inspection some pages of the book had issues in the spot colour. To cut a long story short, incompatibility between a constituent of the spot colour ink mix and the sealant has caused a reaction, probably enhanced by the heat in the binding process. We saw this in the four sample copies and hoped against hope it was not in the whole run. Upon taking delivery in Birmingham the next day and opening a dozen boxes it was clear that this effect was in every copy and the books are unsuitable for sale.

Pulping a book....

It is a sad thing in the print industry that books are pulped. Indeed when titles reach the end of their  'natural' sales period they tend to be pulped rather than remaindered these days. That is one thing, but to look at 14 pallets of books that are newly delivered and lock the door on them an hour after delivery is something else. However.... you soon get over it and especially when you have a book launch in two weeks with potentially no book! This is the first major blow in an 8 month amazing journey and we need to move on and sort the situation out.

Positive Ways Forward

My print management team are great. Once we had assessed things we started work on possible ways of getting back in control. Clearly we are not going to be able to supply shops much in advance of the official publication date. We have exactly three weeks until the launch and realistically we need books on Friday 27th November. This is possible but logistically very tricky.

We had already placed around 2,000 books in shops for Christmas sales and that without really doing much selling. So, I have to decide how to redefine the delivery dates and still retain these orders, but clearly some are at risk as two weeks of the Christmas market has gone forever.

So, an interesting situation and of course I need to be careful what I say on a blog. This is certainly a tester of ones inner self and also relationships with people around - commercial and personal. So far I can report being very positive but the next few hours are going to be critical to how this story ends.

This is an amazing book but looking at the scrap book I have beside me as I lie in bed writing this is really quite strange.