Toto I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore
Despite these communication differences, "Asia and Europe have a long and successful history of printing and are just as knowledgeable as your more familiar domestic contacts," noted Barnett.
"Once all parties have learned how each other works, the information flows very freely..." Barnett noted.
To ease communication difficulties, buyers might consider using a broker instead of dealing with the printer directly, Duncan-Cashman advised the audience. Brokers are "incredible buffers, they are the bridge," said Duncan-Cashman. She especially recommends this course for print buyers who have never worked with overseas suppliers.
Barnett agreed that there is a very good case for using brokers in many instances. "However," she said, "R.R. Donnelley has found that by putting together an organization that manages both the domestic and offshore production, (it is possible) to offer their clients one point of contact for all their needs."
Surprisingly, despite the distance, printing overseas can bring more flexibility into a publisher's work process, offered Duncan-Cashman. "It opens the possibility of doing books that would normally be cost-prohibitive in the States," she noted. She also cited her solid, trusting relationship with her print partner as an incentive to keep sending jobs to the company. "I walk in the door (for a press check), and they know what I want," she explained. "They understand the language that I'm speaking when I'm correcting color."
Printing overseas, Barnett and Clark agreed, also can save you a bundle if you're printing color books. Clark mentioned that C&C Offset also prints a number of duotone photography books for university and commercial presses. Barnett cited R.R. Donnelley's specialty products that require hand work, making it economically feasible to produce them in China rather than in North America.
Another advantage, Duncan-Cashman pointed out, is that sometimes there are more choices of paper stocks overseas than in the United States, since, for instance, they come from all over Asia and Europe. "This is especially true for the whiter stocks which are often preferred by designers of art books," added Barnett.