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12,995 Views 17 Replies Last post: Jul 20, 2010 11:24 AM by CrushTheTest RSS
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Level 0 67 posts since
Apr 12, 2010
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Jun 12, 2010 8:03 AM

Serious quality problems with book printing

Not sure if this is the right forum, but I want to know what others are experiencing.


Out of a batch of 27 books printed, 2 are defective. A 7% defect rate is too high for publishing.


One of these had torn/unprinted pages

Another book had the pages bound in the wrong order.


Most of the books were sent directly to customers, so I don't know if there are additional defective copies.


Has anyone else had this experience? I'd like to know, hopefully this is a fluke, because if CS is producing 7 defects per 100 books, this needs to be corrected.



Level 1 302 posts since
Mar 24, 2009
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1. Jun 12, 2010 8:31 AM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

Hi, Aaron.

I sympathize with you. While I haven't found that problem with the createspace books, I have had major problems with Amazon ordered books -- once a month I order a copy of my books because they have been trimmed wrong -- very wrong -- and I have to stay on top of it.  Recently I had a big rush of orders because of the seasonality of one of my books and my own copy was an inch off and crooked.  I was horrified (this has happened 1 time with 1 book and twice with another 1 in the past 6 months).


If they had been createspace, it's pretty easy to contact them and get the problem fixed and replacements (although that doesn't help if they went straight to customers).  Unfortunately, the only way to tell Amazon that it is wrong is to return it and  tell them it was trimmed wrong/crooked, etc. Then they are supposed to immediately recognize they are printing it wrong and fix it.  Now, I have asked for a replacement (both return and replacement are free) but I suspect that others might just return it and not know they could replace it for a perfect copy, which ultimately afffects my sales and royalties.  This is frustrating and embarrassing because it looks like I, the self-published author, am selling a defective product.  I never know when the bad ones happen as it is hit and miss.


But, again, so far I have been just fine with createspace's books -- I've gone through over 125 of my 3 books and so far they have been beautiful.



Level 5 13,024 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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3. Jun 12, 2010 9:01 AM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

The only three issues I've had (and seen consistently mentioned here) that might suggest a legitimate "quality problem" are cover delamination, severe cover curl, and irregular trim.


The defects you're describing sound like an isolated occurence resulting from an equipment malfunction (so rather than 2 in 27, the defect rate may have been more like 2 in perhaps thousands of other books that were printed between the previous failure and that one).  A high speed digital printer with in-line finishing equipment has to be calibrated, adjusted, and maintained about every 40 minutes.  Assuming that CS has multiple presses in operation, some of which can produce upwards of 700 book pages per minute, it's understandable how (if a failure occurred) the books produced just prior to that crash might have been substandard and slipped past the operator (who was suddenly busy getting the process back up and running).


While defects are inconvenient, they're sometimes a part of the self-publishing business (especially considering the price we receive on our books from CS), and CS is very good about promptly replacing defects like this.


Hope that helps.  Good luck.

Level 5 13,024 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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5. Jun 12, 2010 9:29 AM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

Okay, I'm a little confused.  So you're saying that the defects are actually NOT 2 out of a single batch of 27 ordered/printed all at once, where the other 25 were good?

Level 5 19,528 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
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7. Jun 12, 2010 10:10 AM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

Acting as the peace maker: I have been having things printed or printed myself, for 40 years. Regardless of whether it's books, calendars, art prints, commercial lithographic work, brochures, gelatin silver, Cibachrome, or inket  prints, I always carefully check out what I have, when I sell, give, or present work.  Stuff happens.


In the case of work directly sent to customers, we all face that one, and I have no good answer. But you would have no good answer if you had your book printed and bound by the best of the best printers and had someone else process orders: you cannot personally control all quality control unless you do everything.  


Hope it works out,




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Level 5 13,024 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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8. Jun 12, 2010 10:31 AM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

Okay, thanks for the clarification.  Missing pages and pages imposed/bound in the wrong sequence could be an isolated production glitch -- however, inconsistent yet recurring problems like that can also be caused by something in the PDF file (particularly if a non-Adobe product was used to create it).  In any case, contacting CS to request replacement books should prompt them to look into why this happened (and hopefully keep it from happening again).  Good luck.

Level 2 534 posts since
Sep 11, 2009
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9. Jun 12, 2010 10:39 AM in response to: walton
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

I, too, and like Walton here, trying to make peace.


While we ALL want products without defects, expect it. It happens. If CS does its part and fixes it, accept it and move on. As I mentioned in a past post, doing any type of QA (Quality Assurance) requires painstaking monitoring of the production process. Because of costs it sometimes is actually cheaper to print a new one than to take the time to find the root cause of the problem.


You can help CS when it comes to any defects and help THEM with the problem by being courteous to their questions about what is wrong. If everyone yelled at them for each problem, can you see how their helpfulness can be drudgery to them at some point? Sometimes things can be fixed quickly, others take longer and more detailed information to determine the right cause. Ensure you give them accurate information regarding the defects so they can pinpoint the source of the problem. Just "throwing your hands up" over it doesn't solve it any faster.



Level 5 15,645 posts since
May 4, 2008
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11. Jun 12, 2010 4:44 PM in response to: eleganteye
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

I had a proof once where CS "forgot" to print the bleed and trim the book, so I ended up with a 8.something x 10.something book with huge white edges and the pages were skewed because of the missing bleed (I think they tried to resize it them.) The replacement proof had the exact same defect. Third times lucky -- the replacement replacement proof turned out perfectly.


@Lighthouse -- all my books are produced with Adobe InDesign and Acrobat Pro -- I don't think it's a problem with the files because my process is identical with all my books (magazines) and earlier issues all printed perfectly. CS is definitely screwing up something on their end.


It annoys me to no end that a glaring error like this isn't caught by anyone before packing and shipping the book.


I haven't had cover curl or delamination issues, but I've also experienced water-stained books, red ink smeared across several pages of my first ever proof, crushed spines from poor packing, major colour shift from the original proof... that's a lot of very different problems to be encountered by a single customer, dontcha think?




Level 5 7,665 posts since
Feb 1, 2008
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12. Jun 17, 2010 9:13 AM in response to: lipmag
Re: Serious quality problems with book printing

To Eleganteye:


Did you get a chance to visit the place where the printing is done?

Do they have anyone there from CS to overlook quality control?

Did you manage to speak to someone in charge?


After watching a video of the printing process via another thread, I can see how mis-printed copies could slip through. Anything that automated is asking for trouble. Just think how often things go wrong with what we use in our own homes. Machines on that scale multiply the chances of going wrong.


Although you didn't shout at CS, some do. I agree with Walton that we should treat each other with respect. We may be self-published but we should still behave like professionals.


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