Despite the ongoing international turmoil, a spot check by PW of a number of publishers found none who were planning to shift their book manufacturing functions from offshore printers to domestic printers, although all said they will continue to monitor the situation.
"The most tangible consequence of the September 11 attacks and the subsequent U.S. strikes has been a delay in getting book shipments through customs. "We're acutely aware that it may take longer to clear books through customs, so we're building some extra lead time into our schedule," John Vitale, v-p of production at HarperCollins, told PW. Vitale, along with representatives from eight other houses, said that, to date, disruptions have been minimal, but most were concerned that delays could lengthen if security is tightened even more at harbors and airports.
To guard against running into an out-of-stock situation, publishers now routinely keep duplicate film in the U.S. so they can go back to press with a domestic printer in the event of a surprise bestseller. But all publishers said it still remains more economical to print books overseas, especially picture and novelty books.
"It's very expensive to do [picture books] domestically, so we are watching the situation, but have not pulled any work from offshore printers," said Sandra Grebenar, v-p and director of design and production at Harcourt. "There are good financial reasons for printing overseas, and that hasn't changed," Vitale noted.