Bookbinders' Guild of NY Examines Offshoring
Rick Willett stepped up to the podium next, addressing Sterling's children's, novelty, trade, bargain and custom publishing books. "We do most four-color work offshore, and almost all one-color work domestically," he said. "Our goal is to bring in the best book at the most aggressive price."
Willett pinpointed the key factors he uses to determine where a book gets manufactured:
• The retail price.
• Is it on the right press?
• Is it being printed on the right paper?
• Is it a kit? Does it require sourcing to produce disparate elements?
Willett also addressed what is on the minds of many production executives faced with the same challenges he has of managing cost and quality: "Offshoring is a dirty word today, but it is necessary in terms of the constraints we have to deal with."
Members of the audience, from both publishers and printers alike, questioned other aspects of offshoring, such as human rights concerns and environmental standards. Cole addressed the issue of human rights first, explaining that Disney Publishing addresses this concern by sending auditors to overseas facilities: "We have a program of social compliance. If The Walt Disney Co. finds some issue with how they treat employees, they pull their business."
While the auditing practice ensures that Disney isn't supporting a company engaged in substandard human rights practices, Cole adds, "I would love to see an organization or committee of publishing organizations [be formed] to solve any [human rights] issues that are found and fix them."
The Master of All Production Decisions
Questions from the audience led the discussion through many different areas of offshoring and book production. One audience member asked whether the speakers would sacrifice quality for price "Quality is the master of the day. It's irresponsible to manufacture a book that doesn't look good as a sacrifice to low manufacturing price," Willett explained.