Woe is Printing

A little earlier, there would be no question on if we were going to have a hard copy version of the book or not, especially for children.

But now is different.

Now there are all sorts of fun devices (iPad, Kindle, Nook, iPhone, etc) that allow you to experience a book and reading without flipping pages in the traditional sense, at least!  The digital experience can often offer more in terms of its interactivity and allows one to delve deeper, beyond the content of the book alone.  Plus, we are saving some trees. 🙂 

Kyra and I also recognize and are very romantic about the intangible experience of a child physically holding a book in their hands.  It’s not obsolete yet and there are many who still prefer this experience.  

Hopefully, you can understand our dilemma – do we run head on into the digital future without respecting the wonders that occur when you join little hands with little books?

In an effort to attain the best of both, we have decided to attempt to do a limited print run, try and secure a print-on-demand option, and create the e-book.   That decision wasn’t too hard except for how we are going to do it in a way that is financially viable!

We are still figuring it out but thought we would share our struggles and insights thus far:

  • Board Books (the smaller kids books you see made of a thicker material) are HARD to get printed in a cost effective way especially in an amount under 1000 books. 
  • All roads are pointing to printing in China.   Now we know why everything is made in China.  It is significantly cheaper in cost.  We are exhausting all of our options but it a pretty stark contrast in price.  And then if we do choose to print in China, identifying the right printer is a topic that deserves its own post…
  • Print-on-demand is a great option in the digital world these days but the choices become much more limited when you want to do a hardcover children’s book. Board book?  Uh yeah, even fewer.  And then you also have to think about fulfillment (fulfilling the orders) and storage of these books when someone orders online.  Maybe it’s okay if only one car fits in the garage?
  • But don’t little hands need little books?  Well if my toddler is anything like most toddlers, it would be a matter of minutes before the book had enough “boo-boos” to render it unreadable. 
  • Are there any paper stocks that are more robust, a cheaper but still acceptable option?  We are starting to look into this.

This has been one of our toughest challenges so far.  But it is almost equally exciting and educational in trying to figure out.

We welcome your ideas and suggestions in figuring it out.  

And we will definitely keep you posted! Even if you really don’t care. 🙂 

Malini Sekhar

2 Comments

  1. Ladies – I am sorry this is my first comment. I feel so honored to be included in the updates about your project! I wanted to interject my two cents about print vs. digital books.

    I do have my own sentimentality about books upon which I can lay my hands. But I also noticed yesterday, the fine motor skills that it took for my own 2 y/o toddler to turn the pages of his board book, skills he is still working on developing/honing. In addition, I have a first grader and have debated with my husband the importance of handwriting in developing fine motor skills. How are your fingers going to develop the dexterity to open your iPad case or your laptop cover without exercise/practice in fine motor skills?

    My first grader loves to read, whether it’s on the iPad mini or a paperback book; however, she chooses to read her paperback books over and over again and does not request use of the iPad mini much. Of course, this is my “n” of one, and maybe I am biased because I do not allow my children unfettered access to electronics; I’m still getting used to the digital world myself!

    I don’t know what the right answer is. I only know that, if your target audience is less than 5-6 years, the favorite books in my house in toddlerhood have been books in which you can touch, feel, open tabs to reveal hidden pictures (peek-a-boo!), books which have different textures and fabrics, “tag” books…

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful observations Roslyn! We very much agree with your thoughts and many other parents (including us:) felt the same. Though more expensive, we are going to do a print run. We are moving towards a crowdfunding campaign in November that would help us raise the additional capital we need to make this happen. So stay tuned and please spread the word. In the meantime, thank you for joining us on this journey!

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