A Publishing Story Straight from Hell
We all know the publishing industry is changing. Big houses are scaling down to compete with an ever-burgeoning indie market, and authors find themselves with more opportunities by the day. Even the idea of self-publication has all but lost its stigma, bringing readers more and better books all the time.
As publishing dynamics change, more small companies are forging their own avenues outside the hallowed halls and beliefs of the old school paradigm. Little Pickle Press is one such pacesetter. One year and five books later, the small and innovative B Corporation has published five award-winning children’s book titles, each containing this badge of honor:
In a world of cheap off-shore printing and remaindered books, one tiny high-quality American publisher goes out on a limb, and what a long limb it turned out to be with this latest project.
K2 Print Media and the man charged with finding the best papers and print fulfillment for Little Pickle Press to share his side of the story in getting the most recent book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak Ph.D., into the hands of readers.
Having used various recycled papers in the earlier books, Anthony and the team were excited to try a new tree-free paper called Terraskin, made from calcium carbonate, a plentiful low-impact limestone powder – not even virgin material, but recycled from post-industrial use. Posters had already been printed from the material and were beautiful, so a book was a logical next step. Perhaps this would even become the litmus test for other publishers!
Then the nightmare began. At the Canadian print facility, the trial run resulted in dark and muddy colors that did Sarah Ackerley’s delightful and amusing artwork no justice. It was too late to go back to the drawing board, so Anthony headed for the Canadian print facility, pulled up his shirt sleeves, and started problem-solving. First the color issues were resolved. But then the ink wouldn’t dry. When printed on the reverse side, the pages curled. Much of the paper wouldn’t feed properly and was rejected. Next the binding nightmares began and more brainstorming about gluing ensued. It was a nightmare Straight From Hell.
Will there be more Terraskin books? Probably not, at least not from Little Pickle Press, and Anthony likely will discourage other publishers from trying. After much trial and hand-holding, these books might actually be viewed as limited edition works of art and perhaps a copy should go to the Smithsonian Museum as an example of changing publishing times and standards!
But other options for environmentally-conscious printing are being developed to meet consumer demand which is quickly growing. Though the costs are still 10-50% higher than conventional printing, variables like the percentage of post-consumer paper impacts the costs, and that’s where long-time professionals like Keith Anthony can help a publisher make conscientious choices. His company, K2 Print Media LLC, is a printing and mailing agency specializing in environmentally-sustainable printing practices for publications, books, and marketing collateral. Call him at 916.995.5803 or email for more information.
Now, dear readers, let’s have some fun! Leave a comment and your email address to get in the running for a copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Or order a copy right now at 25% off using coupon code BBTHEL at check-out.
Then click over to the Little Pickle Press blog and enter a second drawing for the Grand Prize of all five 2010 releases in a special eco-bag!
Thank you Dani!
Before you click away to enter the drawing, leave a comment or question for Dani Greer or JoAnn Deak.