When I need top quality printing for Ngaio Press at an affordable price, I usually head for Asia. When it’s full colour and hardback, there’s no sensible alternative. While I like to support local printers, they cost twice as much.
Once again they did a top quality job – except for one tiny thing. Or rather four tiny things: red dots I’d carefully placed on photos to pinpoint particular people and buildings.
When Everbest sent me an advance copy of the book just before shipping, I looked through it and was delighted by the quality. It wasn’t until the third time through that I noticed a red dot was missing from page 30. Then I discovered it was absent in three other places.
I checked the proofs they’d sent out. Thank heavens, the dots were all present. Back to Everbest for an explanation…
The problem was a sharp-eyed person in their production team who had thought the dots were mistakes. Helpfully, he deleted them. A most unusual error, committed with the very best of intentions by a worker who couldn’t speak English and so couldn’t read the photo captions. Here’s an example, with the original caption:
The Everbest people admitted liability and were very apologetic. Their preferred solution was to manually stick little red paper dots on each of the photos in question. Understandably they weren’t keen on pulping the print run and starting again, and even suggested it would be a bad thing from an environmental point of view. They sent us a copy of the book with dots stuck in. It was well done – few readers would have noticed the dots were stick-ons.
We weren’t keen. They might do their best to get it right but human nature being what it is, we didn’t believe that each of thousands of dots would be placed ‘just so’. And there was no practical way to check. The author felt that her book would always seem second-best and as for the environment – well there would be an impact but at least books can be recycled.
We held out for a complete reprint. Everbest agreed to do it and the books are back on the press right now.
Read John MacGibbon's full story on his blog.