Book Printing in China

I’m not just talking through my hat here. Just today I received an email from a self-publishing author, and she asked, “Are these [books to be] printed in China and does it take 4 months as I have heard?”

My response was, “As for using Chinese printers, there is no doubt that you will save money, but there are some problems. You’ve already identified the first problem of turn around time. Few publishers can afford the long wait time for their products. The second problem is ink. Chinese printers use inks that are banned in the US. Normally that wouldn’t concern me, but because your book is a children’s book, I would urge caution. What if a baby got it in its mouth? It is also well known that much of the work will be done by Chinese children working in onerous conditions. It’s possible that hiring printers in China encourages the propagation of employment practices and human rights violations that are not permitted here.  That being said, I will get prices for you on both US printing and China and let you decide which way you want to go.”

You need to understand that with every decision there are consequences. When I talk to Chinese or Indian printers they tell me that there are printers using child labor, but their particular shop does not. They also tell me that they are forced to employ people at starvation wages because American companies wouldn’t otherwise send them work. That unless their prices are half their people would starve.

If we are really interested in protecting children do we accomplish it by insisting that they not be employed? Would they starve? What do you think?

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