Macmillan Sustainability

Printing (Books, Covers, Jackets, Collateral Materials)

Since printing books represents our greatest production activity, we started here and made fundamental changes that impact all aspects of production. We work with our partners to better understand their practices and tighten control over the production process.


At the outset, we halved the number of allowable “overs” that our primary cover and jacket printers can deliver to us. This curbed the number of allowable “overs” from our print and bind vendors.  That sounds like a lot of jargon, but it simply means we print fewer books while still maintaining our contractual commitments and inventory requirements.


In publishing, it is very difficult to estimate the demand for a newly released book. Too often, more books are printed than are eventually needed. We analyzed the print runs of books compared to the demand cycle, and through this analysis, reduced the number of books printed upfront with marginal risk to our interests and those of our authors. We also availed ourselves of quicker turn-around time on reprints.


Whether through better control of our “overs” or better inventory analysis, we are working to reduce the number of books printed upfront. Better informed judgment on print quantities means fewer trees cut, which mean less paper, which means less ink, less transportation, and, ultimately, fewer emissions.


Book production will continue to represent an area of prime focus in our sustainability effort.