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Gopsons prints Booker winner, yet again

21 November 2016

American author, Paul Beatty won The Sellout, a satire of US racial politics, making him the first American writer to win the award for the 290 page publication by One World Book and printed by Gopsons Papers in Sivakasi.

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Gopsons is a book printer that claims it can cope with award winning books which are in the shortlist. Last year, it was involved with three of the six shortlisted titles. Vasant Goel of Gopsons says, "The probability of Gopsons printing a Booker winner was one out of two." Perhaps that is the reason, book prizes are a prime source of the last-minute print that comes through the Gopsons door.

When asked to explain the buzz with the last minute print deadline for a Booker prize winner, Goel explains, "We had a pre-order for ten thousand copies. In case it wins, we go ahead with print. On 25 October at 21.30 GMT, the winner was announced. We started print on 26 October in the morning. By evening another ten thousand copies were added."

By 28 October, all copies of The Sellout were dispatched. Goel adds, "After that was no scope due to the Diwali holidays."

The key thing in all this is, to handle the last-minute rush order for an award winning title. Since in these situations, the book print firm has to reprint a title "very, very quickly to take advantage of reader interest that gets generated from a win" says Goel.

In the Booker prize scenario, Gopsons try and do as much work in advance as we can. In some instances this can mean sending over to the publisher a proof of the cover or jacket artwork with the winner’s splash across the front before the event, so we have the approval in place when the announcement is made.

Last year was easier for Gopsons. Goel explains, "We printed three of six shortlisted titles. The planning and scheduling starts from the time, the titles are long-listed. Once the shortlist is announced, the publisher gives a PO with quantity and possible re-prints. This goes 'live' only if the title wins."

On the evening of the prize ceremony, the team at Gopsons is touch with the publisher plus tracking the results on social media - and is ready for the result. If the shortlisted title wins, Gopsons goes straight to the printing.

Goel says, "There is a lot of work behind the scene. We create a schedule and keep everything ready. If the title wins, we have to go ahead, as per the plan. Also, we keep additional capacity on the press and post-press, free, in case the publisher demands a sudden increase in quantity, as it happened with One World this year with Paul Beatty's The Sellout."

Goel explains the workflow, "If the publisher has specified it, we will have the job scheduled in, the plates made and the staff ready to go. It is all about preparation – everyone has to be ready, everyone has to know what they are doing and what the end goal is. The customer, though, also has to play their part. We have to have the files in time and sign-off on proofs in time if we are to meet strict deadlines."

Rapid-fire with Vasant Goel

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Vasant Goel of Gopsons

PrintWeek India (PWI): One thing about The Sellout which only Gopsons knows.
Vasant Goel (VG): That it was going to win!

PWI: Last year too, Gopsons printed Booker prize winners. Are you lucky for authors
VG: Probability of Gopsons printing a Booker winner is 1 out of 2.

PWI: How many Booker Award titles has Gopsons printed in the past decade
VG: Last year was one. Before that I don’t think we did. There were some long-listed titles which we have printed, though.

PWI: Great opening line in The Sellout. "This may be hard to believe, coming from a black man, but I’ve never stolen anything." Any line that captivated you?
VG: I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.

PWI: Paul Beatty is compared to the greats like Tolstoy, Kafka, Salinger. Who is the one literary great that you would like to meet and why?
VG: Antoine de Saint-Exupery for writing The Little Prince.

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