Printing often involves work with two independent contractors – the printers and the binders. Binders tend to be large operations that run round the clock and have very full order books, printers are more flexible. This means that the crucial stage when promising the delivery of a book is making sure that the binders slot is booked well in advance. If you do this then the publication date tends to be fairly predictable.
Everything was on schedule for a publication date of around 18 February when we sent the finished book to the printers on 21 January. Then there was a delay in the paper delivery from Spain but this only slowed down the printing process, we were still on schedule for the binding slot. Then, on Monday 4 February, the binders we were booked into went bust (this seems to happen with binders more frequently than other businesses).
The upshot of this is that we have had to find another binders which has delayed the publication of the book for a week or two since they are all booked up at this stage. Apologies to those who pre-ordered the book – you will still get your copies before anyone else.
The lucky break was the fact that the paper didn’t arrive on time since, if it had, then our printed unbound copy would have been in the binders when they went bust. This would probably have meant that it would have been impounded until the receivers had finished doing their thing which could have delayed the book for a lot longer than a couple of weeks.