Bad News for ‘Hot Guys Reading Books’

I am a lover a books with a capital “L”. I sit on the board of trustees of my library. I read about two books a week, even with 21-month-old twins. I have a few friends who are librarians and, thus far, I have been resistant to an e-reader. I like to hold the book in my hands. I like to browse library and bookstore shelves. OK…point taken.

On Facebook, I recently saw a post about a blog called “Hot Guys Reading Books” (HGRB), and as part of their promotional efforts, the writers had created some stickers that read “Print Lives.”

“What a great tool for me to communicate with my clients,” I thought. “I’ll buy some of these stickers and give them out to clients and prospects.” Let’s all pass on the word that we love print, and believe that print will live forever, right?

So I followed the link, which took me to, and placed an order. Five days later, the stickers showed up, and they were WAY out of register. I contacted Zazzle, sent them some digital pictures of the product, and they informed me that they are processing a full refund, but that the piece is designed that way, so there is nothing they can do to correct the situation.

Zazzle stickers

So what are the lessons here, you ask? There are so many; where to begin?

—If you are receiving files that are problematic, I HOPE that you are using the opportunity for a teaching moment: not only will you be saving the customers’ bacon from potentially expensive reprints, but you can show how you add value by being invested in your customer’s knowledge. An informed customer is a valued and loyal customer.

LIGHTS OUT OPERATIONS CAN BE SCARY.—I was SO disappointed that I will never have the product that I want; there is no solution short of the bloggers fixing the file. But how will I know that they did?

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • Shirley A Burns

    Yikes! I understand that ‘perfect’ can be the enemy of ‘good enough’ but seriously, how does something like this get to production? And how does it *stay* in production (surely you were not the first to order the stickers?).

    Bad on HGRB for sending out faulty design work but double-bad on Zazzle for 1) not providing service – common courtesy – to their customer (HGRB) to get a usable product and 2) telling you (HGRB’s customer) that it was not their fault/problem and leaving any potential solution on your shoulders. Don’t they realize that if they had corrected the problem up front, their customer (HGRB) would have had more sales, and hence THEY would also be having more sales??

  • Kyle Johnson

    Great post Kelly. I agree that light’s out printing has it’s place. But IMO it’s real place is only for exact reprints or template based projects and perhaps your twins club.

  • Craftsmen Press

    Great point and even better comment on roboprinting. If people like social media so much, why are they not reading Vistaprints Facebook, 60% of customers are mad and and get nowhere with email or phone yet they survive, if we did that I would be afraid of the phone. "Because we answer it with a real human person".

  • Business Acumen Training

    What a sad story. They can’t even get this small thing sorted out.

  • Barbara Walter

    I am so with you on this, however I find that some of my publications people lack customer service skills. I will often have them discuss a quality issue in a conference call so that I am assured that they treat my customer in a respectful manner. The thing is…techie people don’t realize that not everyone who is submitting files has access to all the latest and greatest design tools.

  • Alli

    Hi, I’m Alli of HGRB. I found this article by googling my blog as I do occasionally. I never received any mention of this from Kelly (or anyone else). It’s possible the note became lost in the submissions, but I always read everything that comes to the email address. I’ve since fixed the problem with the design and sent myself some stickers to confirm they were printing correctly. They are. I also offered to refund anyone who bought the misprinted stickers and could not get a refund from Zazzle.