“Hot off the press,” as they say. (No, I don’t know who “they” are, and I don’t know why “they” say things off the press are hot. If the book were printed on a laser printer, I’d understand…)
I’m so used to shipping bits (e.g. software) that shipping atoms (e.g. books) seems so… foreign. The publisher sends the files for the book to the printer. The printer ships the books to the distributor (Ingram Books, in my case), who is a completely separate company from the publisher. Brick-and-mortar and online bookstores order copies from the distributor; once they get them, they turn around and ship a copy to you. From start to finish, the process takes upwards of a month.
The books in these photos are from a box that was shipped directly from printer to the local office of my publisher (O’Reilly)—skipping the warehouse step. Places like Amazon.com will continue to say “pre-order” for another week or so, and it won’t be until September that the book fully makes its way into bookstores. (They, after all, have their own warehouses.)
I suddenly get why on-demand printing is poised to take off: it’s not just the availability of titles, but the amount of money spent on shipping and storage for traditional books is huge. (The per-copy cost for printing on a large press run is insanely cheap, though, compared to on-demand printing, so don’t expect traditional presses to go away completely.)
I stopped by the Cambridge office of O’Reilly yesterday to sign a few copies and pick up a few more for PR uses. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, go click that big yellow button to the left that says “Buy The Book Now.” Or, if you’re in the media or a blogger who wants a review copy, hit the Press / Media Info section of my site to request a review copy.