Book Printing in China - FAQs

Great wall of China - Book printing in China

You may be wondering about what is involved in book printing in China. What is the quality like? Can I get my book printing questions answered correctly and in a timely manner? Are the cost savings worth the risk of printing in a foreign country?

Our FAQs about overseas book printing overseas will dispel the myths you may have about using a Chinese printing service for your book. Callawind also prints books in North America and handles print on demand (POD) books.

For many years, we have been successfully partnering with superior printing companies in China to deliver beautiful books for our clients.

Let us put your mind at ease about China book printing. Below we address typical questions so you can focus on preparing your book, and leave all the overseas book printing details to us.

Why should I consider printing in China?

There are several reasons why our clients print a book in China. The main reason is price. Offset book printing in North America is expensive. This is especially true if you are printing a full-color, hardcover book with coated paper. China printing is usually 40% less expensive than book printing in Canada or the US. Even if you add shipping, duties, and sales tax (where applicable), you still save considerably.

Overseas book printers can do a variety of special binding and printing effects at very little extra cost compared to North American printers.

What level of book printing quality can I expect?

This is the biggest concern that clients have when book printing overseas. You assume that since you are getting a great price on book printing, the quality will be low. In fact, you receive as good or often even better quality by printing overseas. The machinery used by overseas book printers is virtually the same as what is used in North America. Not only have overseas book printers invested in state-or-the-art equipment, they put a lot of time and effort making sure that employees are carefully trained on the equipment being used. Finally, employees are encouraged to take pride in their work and quality control is of the utmost importance.

Will I need to communicate directly with the overseas book printer? How is their customer service?

You do not need to communicate directly with the overseas book printer. Callawind does that for you. We have dealt with production and sales support at our chosen overseas book printers for many years. We know them and they know us. We want to provide the best customer service to our clients. That’s what we look for in an overseas book printing partner. When we need information from our overseas book printers, we get answers most often within 24 hours. The staff we deal with is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, and will go above and beyond to make us and our clients happy. The work ethic is truly impressive.

Do I need to arrange for customs brokerage myself to ship books to North America or Europe?

No, our overseas book printer will prepare all the paperwork and coordinate the book shipment with their export department. In addition, the export department will work in conjunction with their customs broker representative in each country.

Book shipments are typically quoted as “DDP” (delivery and duty paid), and included in our book production quotes.

For book shipments to the US, you will need to provide your EIN number.

For book shipments to Canada, you will need to obtain a GST/HST business number and register as a Canadian importer. Visit your province’s government website to easily obtain these numbers. 

If I have already have a customs broker, can I arrange for brokerage and book delivery myself?

Ye, you could if you wanted to.

How long does book printing in China take?

On average, figure about 8 to 10 weeks. Usually, a book can be printed and bound in about 4 to 5 weeks from the time printing files are submitted. This includes generating and reviewing the printer proofs, through to printing and binding the finished books.

Depending on where you are located, shipping on average is another 4 to 5 weeks.

How does payment work? Who do I pay? In what currency?

We take care of paying the overseas printer (in US dollars). A 50% deposit on the total production cost will be payable at the time of signing the production agreement and starting the work. The remaining balance (including any additional chargeable costs and supplies) will be payable upon the client’s approval of advance printed and bound books. Please note that overseas book printers will not ship the bulk of books until they are paid in full.

Payment options include: bank wire transfer, check, or credit card (through PayPal, where a 2.9% surcharge will apply).

Isn’t shipping books from overseas expensive?

Relatively speaking, no. Book shipments are loaded onto container ships, and the cost per square foot is inexpensive.

What is book overrun and underrun?

It is standard practice for the book printing industry to deliver either more books (overrun) or less books (underrun) than you have ordered. Depending on the printer, the overrun or underrun will be 5 to 10% of the order quantity.

Usually, there is a small overrun of books. Printers tend to print more copies than ordered in case some books are damaged during production. For example, if you order 3,000 books,with a 5% overrun, you may receive and be invoiced for up to 150 extra books. These overrun books are typically priced at a lower cost per book. Underruns occur less often—when there are more damaged books than the printer planned for.

Working on a cookbook or children's book? We have a separate resources section for each: cookbook publishing and children's book publishing

Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions about book printing in China. 

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