Receiving Your Printed and Bound Books

Normally I wouldn’t begin a blog about publishing your photography book by discussing the delivery of your books. However, as I was finishing this website, my own books arrived and I really must share the story of the entertaining event.

Before your books are completely printed and bound, your printer will need to know if you have a loading dock to accept delivery of your books. The books are boxed, stacked, and shrink wrapped on palettes. If you don’t have a loading dock then it’s important to tell your printer early on in the process so that they can arrange for a palette jack and lift gate—two very important pieces of equipment to get your books off the truck. I’ve ordered these items many times over the past twenty years for my clients. Since I decided to have my books delivered to my garage, I let my contact at the printer know that I needed a residential delivery that included the palette jack and lift gate. I also asked for dimensions of the boxes, how many boxes were coming, and how many boxes fit on a palette. With this information, I could plan ahead of time where I was going to put the boxes.

The day arrives for my books to deliver—one week ahead of schedule! I had not planned for that, so I quickly had to make space for the 30+ boxes that were arriving shortly. The trucking company, Old Dominion, called to provide an estimated “window” of delivery. The truck was supposed to arrive between 8am and noon. When 12:30 arrived and there was no sign of the truck, I called Old Dominion and asked for an update. They told me it would be another hour or two. Two hours went by, I called again, and this time I asked for Dispatch. I spoke with Dispatch and then had the driver of the truck call me. He was way behind schedule and said it would be closer to 5 when he would arrive. Now I had his phone number and could continue to check in with him. He called when he was within several blocks of the house and I told him I would walk out to the street to guide him to our garage. As I walked out to the street I could see a large tractor-trailer at the end of the road, sitting there. We live on a narrow street and I could see the driver was questioning whether to attempt to turn onto the street. Down the road I ran, waving my hands to instruct the driver to pull in and follow me. He hesitated, then began to pull onto the road, moving slow as a turtle, until he finally came to a stop and shut the engine. I walked over and he told me there was no way he could make it down the road, let alone turn into the alley to get to my garage. It was then I learned a very important piece of information that no printer rep has ever told me in 20+ years of producing books: ASK FOR A STRAIGHT TRUCK, along with the palette jack and lift gate. The truck driver told me that it’s smaller than a tractor trailer and can maneuver down the smaller streets and alleys.

I asked the driver what came next. He told me that we could push the palette jack down the street, up the alley, and into my garage. So I, along with the driver and my husband, pushed a 1300 pound palette of books down our street, up an incline into an alley, over a curb and into our garage. Let me just say, we were quite a sight and I wish I have video evidence of this escapade! However, I do have photographic evidence of the palette of books! This is what 960 books looks like.




•  Record the size and number of boxes being shipped

•  Ask how many books are in each box and how many boxes fit on a palette

•  If you don’t have a loading dock, as for a straight truck with a palette jack and a lift gate

•  Be prepared to unwrap the boxes and dispose of the palettes yourself

•  Don’t forget to take a picture of the books and the delivery!



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