Board Book Production Options

Cover -- I Can Share Board BookA board book is a book for very small children, with the pages pasted to heavy cardboard.

In general, your options for self-publishing a board book are very limited. Traditional publishers aren’t wild about them either.

Alternative choices are hardcover or paperback. These are much easier to produce through today’s production companies.

Currently, your two options for board books are a US company (Pint Size Productions) or an Asian production company.

Pint Size Productions

Located in New York, Pint Size Productions (www.pintsizeproductions.com) is the only US company that does board books in a print-on-demand (POD) basis, as well as providing the ability to get a number of books at once.

Like CreateSpace, they do not charge for their services. They make their money when they sell a book.  The books begin at about $25 each. If you want a large quantity, you will need to contact them for a quote.

You will need a professional graphics person to produce the PDF for the book if you want a custom layout. Graphic designers’ rates range from $25 an hour to $300 an hour, depending on their skill, demand, and part of the country they inhabit.

You can also use their pre-built templates.

Note that you do not get any royalties from Pint Size Productions if someone else buys your book.

Asian Board Book Production

Cover -- Mountain Vines, Mountain WinesAsian color printing has been around for decades. In fact, many local offset* print companies and small publishers will ship their color printing to Asia because the price point is so much better. Often companies work with US brokers to get past the challenge of English.

Asian companies come and go. Some have good quality; some are problematical, and if you aren’t careful, you can lose your investment.

The current favorite for board books is PrintNinja (www.printninja.com).

PrintNinja

The company has both a Chicago office and a Chinese office. The two offices handle all the communication. The English-speaking client deals with the Chicago office.

They do a lot of printing which translates into experience, and they’ve been around since 2009.

Like Pint Size Productions, you will need to provide a PDF created by a graphic designer.

The major drawback is that, like all offset printers, there is a minimum demand–500 copies. The cost per copy is lower, but the initial outlay is substantially more. For example, for a 12-page 6×6” board book with a basic cover, the PrintNinja’s estimate is about $1,342 (subject to change) for 500 copies (two dollars and change per book). They do not print fewer than 500 copies. **

What’s Your Best Choice?

The answer is … it depends.

If you want a board book to give out to a few people or hand sell, Pint Sized Productions, seems the best way to go. Check out their website, determine the size of book you will need, and estimate your cost to compare to offset printing. Don’t forget to check their bulk printing.

If you think you will sell lots of books, you have a few options. Once you get the books back from someplace like PrintNinja, you will need to get the 500 books out of your storage. To do that, you’ll need to use a distributor such as Amazon Advantage, find a distributor to work with, or hand-sell your book through your website or in person. This can be a lot of work, and the learning curve can be steep.

You can sell the book for however much you want and keep the difference between the cost to you and what you sell it for. (Don’t forget the IRS will want its share.) The chances of recouping your investment are low. If you are running a publishing business, however, this may be the way to go.

Do your research, look at the numbers thoroughly, and go forward. After all it’s your dream!

_________________

* Offset printing is the traditional method for printing. Most of the books in your bookstore are printed this way. The process uses ink (as opposed to toner) and ultimately transfers the ink from a metal plate to the page. Books done with offset printing provide a much richer color saturation.

** In 2003 my soon-to-be husband and I self-published our first book, Mountain Vines, Mountain Wines. We sent a large check and a CD to Singapore. Three months later, we received about three pallets stacked with boxes containing 3,000 books. We sold enough through wineries, local bookstores, and Amazon to cover a chunk of our investment.

Ten years later we sold the rest to a winery owner. That last “fire sale” covered the rest of our investment.

It was an incredible learning experience.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>