cartoon cow writing at a desk

99% of Board Books Printed in China (5.12.15)

Back when I started this company in 2008, I wanted our board books to be printed in the United States to support jobs in this country. I also thought that it would be more cost effective to not have to pay for customs and shipping books across the ocean. Since shipping is based on weight and volume, can you imagine how expensive it is to ship 10,000 board books?

Over time, I learned that 99% of board books are printed in China. As one print broker told me, “Board books haven’t been printed in the U.S. in over 10 years. It’s like televisions. They just aren’t made here anymore.” Wow. Thanks for the reality check.

Another standard I established in the beginning of this business was that I wanted our board books to be printed on FSC Certified paper, which means that all of the paper supplied for these board books comes from well managed forests (i.e., no illegal logging, supporting family farmers, replenishing forests where trees are cut down, etc.). In order to have an authentic FSC logo on our product, the books have to be printed by an FSC Certified printer which narrowed down the choices of printers significantly.

One day during my research I stumbled upon a board book printer in the United States. I couldn’t believe it! I was ecstatic! A dream come true! I sent the printer an inquiry to request a bid, and their estimate was higher than all of the other ones that I had received to date. I had to weigh out the importance of supporting jobs in the United States versus me and my customers paying more for a product made in the U.S. This company also did not have FSC Certification, which was huge deal breaker for me, but I was still considering the pros and cons.

Before I had a chance to make a final decision, the printer contacted me and withdrew their bid. They claimed that my book “did not fit their production line.” It was 2009, the economy had tanked, and a U.S. printer did not want to do business with a new publisher that was specializing in board books for the long haul. Seriously?

Board books used to be printed in the United States, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and other countries, but all roads currently lead to China. Paper was created in ancient China (approximately 95 B.C.), so in a way, it makes sense that our books are currently being printed there. According to Chinese culture, 2015 is the year of the goat. May we (Mommy Moo Moo Board Books) climb to the top and keep our footing! Amen.