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If the results of previous printings (ok, copyings) have been disappointing
to you, take a copy of the old book with you and ask the printer for their
advice on how to improve the finished product. They'll probably have
something to say.
There are various ways to get your originals to the printer. Although many
people still deliver paper, some vendors are set up to receive files via
modem or even Internet. If this is appealing to you, speak with the
printer about it. If you use the Internet, consider any security issues
(esp. if the book contains proprietary and confidential information).
Also, when you screen vendors, find out exactly who you will be working
with and try to meet him/her/them. These folks essentially become part of
your team and setting up a good working relationship is important.
Find out if any of the vendors subcontract the work and how this might
change your working relationship with them. If there are problems, how are
Once you select a vendor, let the contact person there know that you are
new at this part of the game and that you'd welcome suggestions. These
people are professionals; ask them to share their experience.