But finding a vendor that can handle the different safety challenges posed by just one book can also be taxing. A vinyl book is one such product that presents several manufacturing hurdles. She warns, "You have to know what types and levels of chemicals are acceptable and have product tested with various safety regulations and recommendations. We avoid using PVCs, so an alternate to the material had to be found. We have been using PEVA, which is non-toxic and passes safety tests, but it wasn't previously used because the vendor equipment couldn't effectively heat-seal PEVA around the foam it must enclose in a bath book. If a seal was to open and expose the foam, the foam then has the potential of becoming a choking hazard. You can't print on the heat-sealed area because it needs to be free from ink in order to seal to proper strength. So, it was hard to find a vendor."
In such instances, vendors will often modify their equipment to accommodate publisher needs. As a result, Britt was able to eventually find such a vendor that was able to print and keep the heat-seal strong in order to prevent dangers to consumers.
In dealing with vendors around the world, Britt also has to overcome international communication challenges. "I think that the greatest asset to us has been e-mail," she enthuses. "Prior to that, phone lines were difficult because of the different time zones. Faxing was tough because of the time delay and the fear that the pages didn't send. Now with e-mail, someone will take a digital picture, send a JPEG and ask, 'What do you of this?' With the digital pictures, you can respond immediately, instead of having to mail, which loses one week of production. It's great for anything you don't have to physically touch. I think people in different countries have made a tremendous effort to work with us. Their technology has improved greatly, as well."