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  • Dennis DeRobertis

Don't Count Those Chickens...

The Little Brown Spider character is counting imaginary chickens.

I thought I was done.

I thought it was just a formality getting the printed proofs.

I thought there couldn't possibly be a show-stopper issue.

I thought wrong.

An Unexpected Problem

I guess it was bound to happen. And I should have known better. I assumed the printed proofs of "The Little Brown Spider in A Mouse in the House" would not surface any issues. I mean, really, I spend a ton of time crafting proof-of-a-proof versions before even thinking about purchasing the printer's proof. What could possibly go wrong after all my many proofs and checks? Alas, you know what they say when one assumes.

I was surprised when the proofs arrived at my doorstep over the last couple of weeks. The paperback arrived first and then the hardcover, about a week later. Everything was looking good as I took stock of the front cover and started thumbing through the pages. No issues, as expected. Then, as I reached the last page, I turned it over, and, to my surprise, I saw it.

Did I Pick the Wrong Color?

The first three books in the Little Brown Spider series use solid colors on the back and follow the same format, layout, and cover quality (gloss). The back covers of the first two books printed fine and look great. Not so with this one. The back cover of both the hardcover and paperback showed print banding. Banding occurs when a solid color prints and then a lighter version of the color prints horizontally or vertically, creating a banding effect.

You can see the covers below. Interestingly, the banding on the paperback is more prevalent than on the hardcover (hardcover left, paperback right).

The third book in the Little Brown Spider series showing print banding on its back cover.
Hey, are you going for some 1970's wallpaper theme here?

Here's a shot of the first three books, in paperback form. When taking this shot, I also noticed the face of LBS is lighter on the third book than on the first two. Hmmm.

The backs of the first three Little Brown Spider books showing print quality
One of these is not like the others.

Side note: When banding happens on your home or office printer, usually a quick cleaning of the print heads fixes the issue.

I Don't Want that Zebra Look

I fired off a support email to my printer yesterday but haven't received a response yet. Too impatient to wait, I changed the back color of the book. It's still a grey, to match the front colors, but it's now a darker grey. Will this fix the issue? I don't know. The book revision is still being processed. After approval, I'll send away for new proofs.

Maybe it's a printer issue that will be resolved once the company becomes aware of the problem. Maybe the darker color will do the trick. I don't know. But one thing I do know.

Never assume.

- DennisD.


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