(maybe our most trivial blog post topic yet!)

We print most of our four-color (and most of our two-color) books in China.

The vast majority of them get shipped here on container ships, but some extremely limited quantity of them we do air-freight so we (and our authors, and some key media and booksellers and librarians, and the internet, etc.) can see copies as soon as they come off the press.

Here’s a look at how intensely the printers package the books they’re sending internationally by air freight to make sure that they’re safe.  (Please note: we don’t package the books we send within the US like this because that would be crazy.)

So here is a box!  It looks like an ordinary box . . . but inside: lots and lots of packaging!


When the box is opened, we find several thicknesses of cardboard between the book packaging and the sides of the box.  On all sides, even the top and bottom!!


When the cardboard is taken off, the book package is revealed — and it’s wrapped — and cornered — in plastic and taped shut!


When the plastic is opened, something is revealed . . . it’s the brown paper packaging for the books themselves!


These are wrapped and taped together — so well that it’s frequently difficult to get them out of the packaging intact, as you can see from this picture.  (Mostly we just open them up inside the box.)


Then finally: the books themselves, once the brown paper is opened!  They’re all packaged with a sheet between them, so that the covers don’t smudge or scuff each other.


You guys: so much packaging!  There are honestly days when I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, box from China that needs to be unpacked and put away on the bookshelves, I just can’t deal with you right now.  You’ll have to wait until tomorrow because unpacking you is just too complicated.’

And then we recycle it all!  (Except the books, obviously.)