Who Does Paizo's Printing?


Paizo General Discussion


I'm most curious about who prints the 'Pawns' series if they use multiple people, but either way I wanted to know who handles their print needs.

Grand Lodge

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It’s unlikely they will reveal their specific business partners. Why do you ask? Do you own a printing company and want their business?


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I don't know the company, but the Dead Suns pawn sets say made in China (if that's of any interest). I believe that's usual for Paizo products.


I don't know why Paizo would need/want to keep this "secret",
they are very open about other partnerships e.g. miniatures lines,
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?
They seem to hilight and take pride in own direct staff, why not also recognize printers of books?
Why ignore or erase this key part of their product production like it doesn't exist?

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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I've pinged our COO about this thread to see if its something we can provide an answer to. However, Jeff is currently at GAMA Trade Show, so I am unsure when he might catch my email.


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Quandary wrote:
I don't know why Paizo would need/want to keep this "secret"

I don't either, but it's fairly normal. Businesses don't tend to document their supply-chain. I'm sure there are reasons for it.

Quote:
they are very open about other partnerships e.g. miniatures lines

Not exactly. Paizo is open about their creative partnerships, not their manufacturing partnerships. What I mean is that while you do know WizKids is in charge of the miniatures, you don't know how WizKids actually produces them. They themselves could be outsourcing fabrication. Same thing goes for comic books; you know who's writing and drawing them, but you don't know who actually prints them. Rest assured that if Pathfinder material came on CD, you'd know who recorded the audio, but not who pressed the platters.

Quote:
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?

Maybe.

Quote:
They seem to hilight and take pride in own direct staff, why not also recognize printers of books?

Maybe... to avoid the competition learning of the number one most important manufacturing partner they've got and influencing that relationship? I don't know. But again, it's usually not done to reveal the full manufacturing chain. Sure, you know about Apple relying on Foxconn to do assemblies, and you know about Qualcom's fabrication lines, but Apple is mega-huge and information leaks.

Quote:
Why ignore or erase this key part of their product production like it doesn't exist?

I hear you. I really do. But on the other hand, what legitimate and productive use does the public have with this information? Visiting a print shop is at least as unlikely as WotC penning an exclusive deal with Paizo's print shop, forcing them to use their next choice at increased cost.

You generally can't walk into McDonald's and find out who supplies their pickles. At best you'll get "Heinz", and they won't answer further.

So maybe Sara Marie can get an answer, and maybe not. I don't think there was an answer to the recent "is the paper responsibly sourced" question, quite possibly because there's no way for Paizo to actually confirm anything a print shop on the opposite side of the planet says they do. Also possibly because every time things like that come up (not just here with Paizo), the asker rarely accepts "no, because doing in the USA / using better trees / offering other colours / changing the packaging / shipping it differently... will cost triple." Nobody ever seems to want to accept that Paizo (or whatever company is involved) has done their homework.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

As a Canadian, I hope the printer for the second edition would be the same for the Playtest. Of course, it is conditional that the printer can manage the number of books to print and the quality of the spine is there.


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dragonvan wrote:
As a Canadian, I hope the printer for the second edition would be the same for the Playtest. Of course, it is conditional that the printer can manage the number of books to print and the quality of the spine is there.

Unlikely. They got the playtest printed in Canada as that meant they could continue working on the books much closer to the print deadline, given the speed and ease of shipping from Canada to Seattle vs China to Seattle.

It cost them more though and given 'getting core books printed' is going to be a significant ongoing cost to their business going forward and won't have the same deadline pressures, it really wouldn't make sense to do that.

Even if they were politically motivated in a kind of "buy local" sense, they'd probably be more likely to get them printed in the US.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

At least, it would be better to get a Washington State or an Oregon printer for Paizo.

Shadow Lodge

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It's unlikely there is a printer in either state that can be competitive enough for Paizo's purposes.

Silver Crusade

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Quandary wrote:

I don't know why Paizo would need/want to keep this "secret",

they are very open about other partnerships e.g. miniatures lines,
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?
They seem to hilight and take pride in own direct staff, why not also recognize printers of books?
Why ignore or erase this key part of their product production like it doesn't exist?

When you fly an airplane or drive a car, do you call the manufacturer to ensure that you're aware of place of origin of every part in the vehicle? Asking for a friend.


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I support "buy local" programs, so as long as Paizo doesn't send their print jobs to Mars or the OPA, I'm happy.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Anguish wrote:
So maybe Sara Marie can get an answer, and maybe not.

I've been trying to remember what's been previously said or not said about what printers we use, but I just can't remember. I'm not really involved with the printing portion of our products, except having met a few people like when they come the office for meetings. I don't want to try to answer operational questions from an uninformed position, especially when there may be reasons, like the ones that you laid out in your post, that I'm not aware of as to what kinds of questions about printing we can answer.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Gorbacz wrote:
Quandary wrote:

I don't know why Paizo would need/want to keep this "secret",

they are very open about other partnerships e.g. miniatures lines,
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?
They seem to hilight and take pride in own direct staff, why not also recognize printers of books?
Why ignore or erase this key part of their product production like it doesn't exist?
When you fly an airplane or drive a car, do you call the manufacturer to ensure that you're aware of place of origin of every part in the vehicle? Asking for a friend.

I'm not sure how many airline or car companies and their manufacturers have forums where you can directly interface with the employees to ask questions about the manufacturing process and have a reasonable chance at getting a response from an executive.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Quandary wrote:
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?

Tangent:

When I was in college I went on a semester abroad to China and we got to tour a couple different manufacturing facilities, one of which was a printing manufacturer. The whole process was really cool to watch, I really enjoy seeing the process, mechanics and innovation of factories, but the factory was very much built for production and not for tours and I'm still kind of surprised that we got to tour around active production of books in our little clump of 15 college kids. This was back before the time of phones that could take decent pictures and all my photos are on CDs somewhere. I wonder if I can find that box...

Further Tangent:
If you're interested in "how things are manufactured", there's a documentary/promotional material from 2012 called Made for Play: Board Games & Modern Industry. You can watch it on youtube (which is where that link leads to).


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Anguish wrote:
I support "buy local" programs, so as long as Paizo doesn't send their print jobs to Mars or the OPA, I'm happy.

If they outsource their printing to Mars, I just want to see an interview with the printer -- and the interviewee had better be an actual Martian who has worked out those transit time issues that still have us stumped. ;)


Sara Marie wrote:
Tangent:

Thanks, for looking into this, and sharing the good story and link.


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Sara Marie wrote:

Further Tangent:

If you're interested in "how things are manufactured", there's a documentary/promotional material from 2012 called Made for Play: Board Games & Modern Industry. You can watch it on youtube (which is where that link leads to).

That link doesn't go to YouTube.


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David knott 242 wrote:
Anguish wrote:
I support "buy local" programs, so as long as Paizo doesn't send their print jobs to Mars or the OPA, I'm happy.
If they outsource their printing to Mars, I just want to see an interview with the printer -- and the interviewee had better be an actual Martian who has worked out those transit time issues that still have us stumped. ;)

Transit time's a non-issue since the Epstein Drive, but the war is a bit of a problem.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Fixed a broken link.

Paizo Employee Chief Operations Officer

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Sorry everyone, but we don't share our specific manufacturer's with the public. I can say that our partnership with our main printer in China is over a decade old and do not have plans to make any significant changes to this. They are an amazing manufacturer and now are just like family to us!

Steve is also correct regarding why we printed the Playtest books in Canada. It was more expensive but didn't have the same shipping timeline so we made the choice to give us more time to work on the books.

We do have a printer in Seattle that we can use for 64-page and smaller books when we run late on the production side but still want to release them on time. They're great but tons more expensive than Canada or China.

Dark Archive

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Sara Marie wrote:
Quandary wrote:
maybe a Paizo fan [travelling] in China might want to visit the print shop and take a tour?

Tangent:

When I was in college I went on a semester abroad to China and we got to tour a couple different manufacturing facilities, one of which was a printing manufacturer. The whole process was really cool to watch, I really enjoy seeing the process, mechanics and innovation of factories, but the factory was very much built for production and not for tours and I'm still kind of surprised that we got to tour around active production of books in our little clump of 15 college kids. This was back before the time of phones that could take decent pictures and all my photos are on CDs somewhere. I wonder if I can find that box...

Wow. It is not everyday someone describes what I do as "really cool to watch." Thanks!

I can talk yer ears off about what I do but mostly printing is a rather boring industry to see happen; it is not nearly as much fun as learning how the sausage gets made. Granted I've been doing this long enough I may have become the villain.

Liberty's Edge

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I find the entire prepress and printing production process facinating!

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