What Authors Have to Know About Book Delivery

Depending on how you have your acimprinted, you need to figure out what kind of inventory you need to have on hand. If you think your book is going to sell really well, you may want to print a large number like 500 or 1,000 or more. If you’re unsure, you may want to print a smaller number. Offset printing (using a regular printer) will be to your advantage if you are printing a large number because the price will be lower per book and the more you print, the lower that price goes. Printing a smaller number, however, may be more convenient, or if your budget is small, perhaps using print-on-demand and digital technology to print the book will be more cost-effective because even if your unit cost is higher, you can order a smaller number, which may be all you can afford.

However you decide to have your books printed, and however many you print, you need to figure out how they will be delivered and where you will put them. Make sure you always ask the printer about delivery options. You need to figure out what is most convenient and most cost-effective for you, and one may not always coincide with the other, so you may have to choose convenience over price or vice-versa.

Here’s a case in point. One author I know has always had his books delivered to his door. If he ordered a small second printing of 100 copies, UPS or FedEX would deliver the books to his home. He has also ordered large first printings before and had them delivered to his door, but the printer he had worked with had always been out-of-state. He never inquired into the details of the delivery costs but simply paid whatever the printer said it would cost for delivery.

Then this author decided to print his next book locally. He chose a printer about twenty miles away. He thought using a local printer would be more cost-effective by lowering his delivery costs. He had seen other books this company had printed, and he saw the quality was equal or superseded the quality of other printers he had used out-of-state, and he thought he was helping to support the local economy.

What the author didn’t know was that this printer sent its large orders-anything over 100 books-out-of-state to one of the printers the author had already been using. Had he only ordered 100 books, they would have been printed 20 miles from his house, and he could have driven to the printer and picked up the books in his car. But this time, he ordered 1,000 copies, and the print overrun resulted in an additional 60 copies.

he author asked to have the books delivered since obviously he couldn’t fit 1,000 books in his car and did not want to make ten trips. However, what he meant by “delivered” and what the printer thought “delivered” meant were not the same thing-largely because the author didn’t realize the books were not being printed by the local printer.

What happened? The local printer called to say the books were ready for pick-up. The author said he thought they were being delivered. The printer then had to explain that the author had been charged $500 for delivery of the books from the out-of-state printer to the local print shop. Fortunately, once the confusion was understood by both parties, the author agreed to come pick up a car full of books and the printer agreed that, whenever he went in the direction of the author’s house to make deliveries, he would drop a few boxes of books off for him. The author also learned that the out-of-state printer charged extra to deliver to residences, and had he requested delivery to his door, he would have paid $200-300 more for delivery of the books. Even so, he probably would have paid extra for the convenience of not having to spend his time and gas to pick them up.

However, the author had also not realized that the printer included storage of the books in its services and would even ship the books to stores for the author if he wished, which was an extra bonus in some cases for him. Had the author thought to ask about the delivery and storage services, he would have saved himself some energy and time in the end. But he did end up very happy with the printer for both the excellent look of his book and the excellent service and willingness to work with him to get the books where he wanted them to be. The relationship built would result in repeat business.

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