The specification is sent to one or more suppliers for the certain Book Printing projects, so that they submit an estimate or quotation. Although there are printers that carry out all the processes, they may not do all economically or well. The typesetting and printing specifications may be sent to different specialist firms, known as trade suppliers. A publisher deals with a core of regular and trusted suppliers whose technology, machinery, staff, strengths and weaknesses are known; but new ones are tried. Sometimes price schedules are negotiated with major print suppliers for standard types of work, which reduces the need for quotations and simplifies estimating. Suppliers may offer discounts on titles processed in batches or during slack periods. Moreover, the long time (for example six to 18 months) books take to produce gives publishers and packagers the option of using overseas suppliers (for example in Europe, the Far East or the USA). Most colour book printing now goes abroad. The competitiveness of overseas suppliers is affected greatly by exchange rates, but other factors such as freight and communication costs, longer timescales, and the books final destination are considered.
While monochrome paperback novels remain, almost without fail, the exclusive domain of UK book printers, an increasing number of high-end print jobs end up on the continent, in places including Italy, Spain and France. And as membership of the European Union blossoms, this is presenting even more opportunities for publishers to place their work overseas.