Buying from “China”, reality.

Two recent experiences.

1. Printing a book

My book _Q is for Queens_ – designed in the US by me, with an illustrator from South Africa, typeset/layout by me in the US, then sent to a printer in Queens — who did a great job, but managed to miss about 6 typos that I missed, and took a TON of back and forth in person and on the phone (roughly equivalent to getting a plumber to install a new bathroom fixture). They charged $20k or about $40 per copy. They delivered it to my house. 500 copies.

When I did this in China they charge $2 per book and $1 shipping for 1,000 copies. They missed one residual typo. Quality was the same. No in-person, phone interactions. We did the proofs as PDFs and photos. Took a couple months. The most annoying part was signing some customs documents last-minute as the ship arrived and delivery was scheduled.

Interesting to note that shipping here was 1/3 of the cost!

2. Leather jackets

I just ordered a bunch from Pakistan I think. $25 each for vegetarian leather. (Let’s see how cool they are.) $7 each shipping. So $1,000 for 25 of them.

The shipping cost is notable. The relevant retail price for a no-name leather jacket is probably $125 or $150.