Since finalizing the interiors of our new, tripartite edition of Little, Big on February 1st, and approving the design template for the front, spine, and back of the dust jacket covers on February 4th, and knowing that a certain extra special someone was (and even now is) dreaming on copy for the dust jacket flaps, we have sought and received seven bids from seven printers in five countries. Due to the complexity of the print specifications, it took on average three weeks for each printer to give us an initial quote, and though at one point we had four bids in process at one time the whole thing took longer than expected — and that’s not including the time it has taken us to carefully analyze and compare those bids, request, receive, and compare sundry print samples, and request and receive revisions and clarifications of the bids, a process that is still on-going. (We had not originally intended to get so many bids, but in the course of our separate and joint efforts John D. Berry and I followed up on numerous promising leads and it's possible the printer we choose may be among the last asked.)
Although we are keeping our options open (all seven printers are impressive), we have narrowed our focus to three of those printers, and, since insuring superb reproductions of Peter Milton’s art is one of our primary print goals, we decided to seek art print tests from all three top contenders, to aid us in making a final choice. The first of those print tests is within days of commencing. Since the logistics of making an original print of the cover art available to each printer for calibrating the shade of grey to use in the duotone process requires that we conduct the tests one at a time, and since one printer has already emerged as the leader of the pack, we decided to have them do the first test. If we — Berry, Milton, Crowley, and I — are sufficiently impressed with the results, and all other considerations are nominal, we may exercise the option of forgoing further tests and, in the interests of saving time and money, award the printing of Little, Big to that first printer.